The Week, That Was – May 2018 Week 3

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the week, curated just for you. We present to you hand – picked news on latest industry perspectives and some general updates. Read on!!

eRevMax Certified for GDPR Under EU-US Privacy Shield Framework
Hotel distribution connectivity leader eRevMax has announced that it has been certified for GDPR from the U.S. Department of Commerce for the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework program. This certification assures that eRevMax solutions meet European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) for the transfer of personal data between the U.S. and EU.

https://goo.gl/xQu8cR

Expedia study reveals key trends in ‘booming’ bleisure travel sector
New research conducted by Expedia Group Media Solutions has found 60% of corporate travellers globally extend their trips to add some leisure activities. The study underlines the so-called ‘bleisure’ phenomenon that is seeing an increasing blending of business and leisure travel.

http://travolution.com/articles/107409/expedia-study-reveals-key-trends-in-booming-bleisure-travel-sector

How to use the Google ecosystem to get your hotel’s digital strategy on point
With over 4 billion searches happening every day, the Google ecosystem continues to be one of the best suites of products available for hotels to drive online users to their website, and then convert those users into guests. Find out how you can leverage Google solutions to optimize your digital strategy for better visibility.

https://www.hebsdigital.com/blog/google-ecosystem-article/

What Hotel Technology Decision Makers Need to Know About Cloud Solutions
For well over a decade, hospitality industry pundits predicted widespread cloud adoption by hotels and resorts. Only in recent years, however, have cloud-based models begun to disrupt the established lay of the land, migrating on a large scale basis from peripheral point solutions to the core property management system.

https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4088440.html

3 big ideas for 2018: Airbnb unstoppable, battle for TripAdvisor is over and new players start to reshape the industry
In an industry as large and significant as travel, even minor changes to the digital hierarchy can have major ramifications. Yet, far more exciting are the type of major changes that can shake the foundations of the sector. SimilarWeb recently produced the annual analysis of the travel industry – Travel Trends & Insights Report for 2018 – and here are three of the biggest trends it identifies – click the link to read further.

https://www.tnooz.com/article/similarweb-airbnb-tripadvisor-new-players/

Cvent Unveils 2018 Lists of Top Meeting Hotels in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific
Cvent, Inc. a market leader in meetings, events, and hospitality technology, today released its annual lists of Top Meeting Hotels for meetings and events worldwide. Top venues are sorted geographically, and rankings are based on each hotel’s group business performance. The list was compiled by analyzing meeting and event booking activity through the Cvent Supplier Network, which sourced more than $14.7 billion and more than 40 million room nights in 2017, helping to support more than 715,000 events worldwide.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180515005298/en/Cvent-Unveils-2018-Lists-Top-Meeting-Hotels

Connect with us for your connectivity needs to make the most of online revenue.
https://goo.gl/3gKUJZ

Thanks and have a good day!

The Week, That Was – May 2018 Week 1

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the week, curated just for you. We present to you hand – picked news on latest industry perspectives and some general updates. Read on!!


5 Signs It’s Time To Change Your Hotel Property Management System
Hotel property management system (PMS) is the beating heart of your hotel – responsible for streamlining operations, optimizing guest service and maximizing revenue. However, like most technology, it has a limited lifespan. As technology evolves, so will your property’s (and guest’s) unique needs and goals; resulting in the inevitable necessity to reevaluate your current PMS.

https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article99628.html

Hotel OTTO Berlin recommends RateTiger for channel connectivity
Hotel OTTO, an upscale property in Berlin has recommended RateTiger Channel Manager for stable and seamless connectivity with world’s leading OTAs. The hotel, which has been using eRevMax’s award winning distribution solution, has improved its online exposure resulting in positive revenue and occupancy growth.

https://goo.gl/UJ1mm9

How hoteliers can win the upsell gamble with perfect timing
Through 80 DAYS Benchmark we know that the average conversion rate of a 4/5 star hotel website tends to be in the range of 0.4 – 2.0%, dependent on a variety of factors. We also know that a hotel booking engine typically converts at around 4%. Armed with this knowledge, hoteliers should simply upsell during the booking process – while their potential guest is a captive audience?

https://www.eighty-days.com/2018/how-hoteliers-can-win-the-upsell-gamble-with-perfect-timing/

Rimor by Expedia is a Chrome Extension That Will Inspire You to Travel
With the Rimor Chrome Extension, you can turn your blank new browser tabs into astounding images of destinations around the world. You can add favorite destinations, and later look back on them when it comes time to plan a trip.

https://beebom.com/rimor-by-expedia-chrome-travel-extension/

Hotels Have a Growing Guest Loyalty Problem … and They May Not Even Know It
The ability to inspire guest loyalty is, without a doubt, a valuable predictor of long-term success within the hospitality industry. Loyal guests bring recurring revenue, and positive reviews, feedback, and recommendations, inspiring a virtuous circle of reward.

https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4088226.html

How “Google My Business” can increase your hotel’s bookings
According to Search Engine Land, local Google reviews are on the rise, with an astounding 278% exponential increase in reviews for US local based businesses (from 2015 to 2016). In this context, managing your hotel’s reviews on Google becomes an important part of successfully managing your reputation and making your hotel visible in search.

http://www.trustyou.com/blog/hotel-tips/google-business-can-increase-hotels-bookings

Connect with us for your connectivity needs to make the most of online revenue. https://goo.gl/3gKUJZ

Thanks and have a good day!

The Week, That Was – March 2018

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the week, curated just for you. We present to you hand – picked news on latest industry perspectives and some general updates. Read on!

Google’s New Look for Mobile Hotel Ads

Recently, there is a new mobile experience on Google Hotel Ads. The tested mobile interface on Google had a refreshed hotel listing page, a cleaner call out for pricing, an updated color scheme, and a clear designation when a hotel has a competitive price.

https://www.4hoteliers.com/features/article/11140

Metasearch power plays: What hoteliers need to know about staying competitive

Metasearch sites account for over 45% of global unique visitors in travel, according to PACE Dimensions’ analysis of SimilarWeb data for the top 10,000 travel websites. This is greater than the proportion of unique visitors for OTAs, both globally and in the US.

https://www.tnooz.com/article/metasearch-power-plays-what-hoteliers-need-to-know-about-staying-competitive-in-metasearch

HospitalityUnited.Club highlights key travel trends in Europe

The big four, namely Spain, Italy, France and United Kingdom occupy the largest share of the travel pie in Europe, topping the list with 4 out of 6 travellers visiting Europe. The travel optimism for the region, which has shown a record 29% growth in long-haul trips by EU residents, has led to a good increase in occupancy and revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2017. 

https://goo.gl/SxEChk

Global hotel inventory has grown an impressive 18% in 10 years

According to the data from STR, a global data benchmarking company that maintains the world’s largest global hotel performance sample, the world has 184,299 hotels comprising 16,966,280 rooms.

http://www.traveldailymedia.com/str-global-hotel-inventory/

Expedia Inc. Changes Name to Expedia Group Inc.

Expedia, Inc. is now Expedia Group: The world’s travel platform, bringing the world within reach.

https://www.hotelbusiness.com/expedia-inc-changes-name-to-expedia-group-inc/

Connect with us for your connectivity needs in this new year to make the most of online revenue. https://goo.gl/3gKUJZ

Thanks and have a good day!

More power to Ctrip as Expedia exits China

With over 1 million transactions everyday makes Ctrip the largest OTA in China and a serious player in the online travel sector.  But with the latest news of Expedia selling its stake in eLong, China’s second largest OTA, shows that even a global giant is no match for the mighty regional online player. 

Last week, Expedia announced that it is selling off its entire stake in Chinese online travel company eLong to rival Ctrip.com International Ltd and other interested parties.  With Expedia’s share in eLong being 64%, this acquisition means Ctrip will have over 37.6% stake in eLong, making it the majority shareholder in the second largest OTA in China after CTrip.



In picture Fan Man (left), Co-founder, Vice Chairman and President of Ctrip; in a discussion with Vincent Lo, Chairman, Shui On Group at Fortune Global Forum 2013
To put things in perspective, Ctrip has a market share more than 6 times the size of eLong. After the acquisition, Ctrip with eLong will control over 60% of the Chinese online travel market, which according to PhoCusWrightestimates is pegged to be over USD 30 billionin 2015 excluding call center bookings. With online travel expected to grow in double digits, and accounting for only a quarter of total travel bookings, the scope of growth, needless to say, is enormous.

With Priceline’s$500m investment into Ctrip, the focus for Ctrip now shifts to newer and fast-growing rivals such as Qunar, Tuniu, and Alitrip, the travel arm of China’s largest e-commerce company Alibaba. Meta-search engines continue to be the greatest lead generator for Chinese OTAs and this causes concern even for Ctrip. Qunar – owned by China’s largest online search engine Baidu Inc – is considered the market leader in meta-search and the fastest growing travel channel and in 2014, Ctrip ended its strategic relationship with Qunar and prompting a price war between them.



For Ctrip, a strategic partnership with both Expedia and Priceline means access to broader inventories, which will help the channel to meet its objective of having wider product coverage. Already Ctrip has seen over 200 million downloads of its mobile application so far. Ctrip’s aim at the broader market has been quite visible for a while now. Earlier this year they entered into an agreement with Amadeus, whereby the GDS will provide content to Ctrip in international markets outside of China. With Chinese outbound travel growing at 20-30% buoyed by an increase in disposable income by the Chinese traveller and more flight routes and hotel inventory in new destinations will all help Ctrip capture the majority of these outbound bookings.

Over 100 million cash rich Chinese travelers are set to travel aboard this year in 2015. As more Chinese travelers travel beyond Asia, with strong branding and being a well-established online and offline channel make Ctrip best poised to benefit from the growing travel demand in China.  For the hotel industry trying to capture a piece this high growth Chinese market makes working with Ctrip a must.

Image Courtesy: FortuneLive Media, Ctrip
John Seaton is VP Sales, EMEA & APAC at eRevMax.  He can be reached at johns@erevmax.com

Amazon’s entry to online travel – is that disruption?

As if the entries of Google and TripAdvisor were not enough disruption, we now have Amazon which is entering into hotel distribution. So while buying your books and what nots, you can now go and buy a hotel room from the retail GIANT!
Amazon Local currency has already been selling some limited and wholesaler type hotel programs for a while now. But that was more of a distressed sale kind of an approach they were taking. With the new model, Amazon is asking hotels to publish their rates and availability for a longer period. For hotels, this means hotels can push full price inventories in the peak season, and of course offer discounts when they are desperate.
Does that mean Amazon is now seriously entering into travel services a la Google?  Travel analysts apparently think so.  Expedia CEO has already ‘welcomed Amazon into the party’.
Truth is, as Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says, travel today is a trillion dollar global industry. And everyone wants to take a share of the pie. That is why we are seeing TripAdvisor making serious entry to commission based model through TripConnect Instant booking. Wait for Google to make the next move.
Are these changes going to make it more complicated for hoteliers? In my opinion, Amazon, with its marketing capabilities, can become a serious alternative for independent and small hotels. What about TripConnect and Google Direct booking, when they are launched globally?

But as always, your success depends on how well you manage your booking channels. 

OTA Consolidation – preparing ourselves for better sales procedures

In recent years there have been big changes within the travel industry, but perhaps none quite so big as the ongoing consolidation of some of the major players in the OTA sector. In the past few years we’ve seen Go Voyages merged into the AXA brand and Amadeus sold Opodo in 500 million Euros. There are remarkably few mid-sized OTAs left, so how is this affecting OTAs, customers, and other divisions of the travel industry? For hotels themselves, the outlook is good. With consolidation helping the OTA market to grow by an estimated 25 percent each year, there are more and more opportunities for increasing visibility.


In the competitive market ‘Big boys’ in the travel space offer consumers a better choice, but the way our industry has developed this fragmentation is causing consumer confusion without necessarily leading to better value. This is the reason hospitality industry moving to the positive direction that will simplify travel purchases through consolidation.

Newshound: OTAs lead in US, changing distribution strategies, traveler’s path to purchase


OTAs remain the top research source for US vacation package buyers, says Expedia

Online travel agencies continue to be American consumers’ favorite source of information prior to booking vacation packages, despite all the buzz about review sites such as TripAdvisor and metasearch sites such as Kayak.
http://www.tnooz.com/2013/08/26/news/otas-remain-the-top-research-source-for-us-vacation-package-buyers-says-expedia/


RM hits the big stage but must work harder to secure the lead role

Revenue management today is beginning to deliver strategic benefits across the business. With a bigger and broader mandate, RM specialists have an important role to play in communicating with other departments to make the most of emerging opportunities.
http://www.eyefortravel.com/revenue-and-data-management/rm-hits-big-stage-must-work-harder-secure-lead-role

Revenue managers adapt distribution strategies

While new distribution channels are emerging seemingly every day, more accurate forecasting and improved technical automation are helping hotel revenue managers stay sane. Few hotels, unless they’re large full-service properties with a significant amount of meeting space, have a dedicated manager assigned to only that property, sources said. Many hotels share a revenue manager with a small group of properties and, in most cases, a general manager also acts as the revenue manager.
http://hotelnewsnow.com/Article/11094/Revenue-managers-adapt-distribution-strategies

The Traveller’s Path to purchase

When it comes to leisure travel shopping, consumers spend a significant amount of time online researching options. Up to 45 days leading up to a booking, a consumer will conduct as many as 38 visits to travel sites. Knowing how and when to influence their decision-making process is crucial to generating mindshare and ultimately driving bookings. In this report by Expedia Media Solutions, get a snapshot of how the overall purchase path looks like from initial exploration through the booking stage.
http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/149354/file-271132325-pdf/docs/Path_to_Purchase_Expedia_Media_Solutions_MillwardBrown.pdf

Adjusting to the Demands of Connected Customers: It’s All About Speed

The distribution landscape has changed rapidly in the last five years with the emergence of mobile as an important e-commerce channel. The advent of iOS and Android has changed the consumer behavior, and shortened the travel booking window. The popularity of same-day booking channels like HotelsTonight.com along with the dominance of traditional OTAs have thrown a major challenge for today’s revenue managers – i.e. how to stay in tune with the booking dynamics of each channel.

The opportunity that comes with the divergence of online distribution channels has also led to an increasing dilemma for hoteliers – how to manage channels profitably and accurately with limited resources. Throwing manpower at the issue is no longer an option. One small mistake and a hotel can face huge revenue losses as well as a downgraded ranking and a penalty from their distributors!

Facing a search-savvy customer, who will on average search 22 travel sites before booking, hotels have to stay visible at every touch point; and this is where superior connectivity becomes essential. In today’s multi-channel environment, keeping up-to-date with the distribution mix manually is not a daunting task, it’s virtually impossible! 

Understanding the role of social search
Over time, the growing power of web interaction, social media and mobile has changed the consumer’s shopping behavior, and hoteliers need to address them by taking advantage of technology to integrate social media into the distribution architecture. According to Expedia, hotels that scored one point higher in the guest popularity rankings were able to command a 9% higher average daily rate on Expedia. Several other studies have also pointed to the impact of user-generated content in the form of guest reviews as drivers of hotel rate and revenue. 

With Google, Bing and other search engines giving importance to social search, customer profiling has become important. Google has been making suggestions based on previous search and purchases for a while now. Major OTAs like Expedia, Orbitz and Booking.com have followed suite. This is where understanding the consumer becomes crucial. The more the revenue manager knows about the price sensitivity of a particular segment, the more he or she is able to price optimally. Social media provides hotels with vital inputs to map the customer’s state of mind and hence elasticity. Rate benchmarking tools help hotels to track the market dynamics and rate movements. Revenue managers also get an overview of how rates are positioned on different OTAs compared to their competitors for different dates on different channels. Knowledge of rate behavior along with price elasticity is the key to optimal pricing.

In the last couple of years, m-commerce has grown exponentially, and has the potential to contribute up to 20% of bookings through hotel-owned channels, according to PhoCusWright. For hotels, it not only means another channel to manage, but a channel to push the last available inventory. How fast you can react to the changing situation will have a direct impact on the revenue! But that can only be done if you are selling the right product to the right person for the right price on the right channel. Hence, it is important to understand consumer behavior and listen to what they are saying and address their concerns.

Future rate data provides revenue managers with the business intelligence important to creating rate strategy with the target to constantly increase product position and price and thus revenue. With prices set in sync with rate behavior, hoteliers have more confidence to manage last minute availability. This rate manipulation both for today and for tomorrow helps the revenue managers to begin improving the value of their product and its price. 

What is Enterprise Connectivity and why is it gaining prominence?
Equipped with sophisticated XML technology in the back-end, enterprise connectivity solutions deliver secure direct links between hotel systems like the CRS/PMS/RMS and the electronic sales channels including GDS, OTAs, IDS, Wholesalers, Tour Operators and other travel sales companies that process online hotel bookings. Hotels can take advantage of these pre-connected solutions reducing time to market thereby maximizing revenue opportunities and reducing distribution costs by efficiently increasing reach and visibility.

The seamless online booking connectivity guarantees real-time information flow, from hotel to third party channels and vice versa. Hotels can respond to market conditions and process ARI (Availability, Rates and Inventory) faster than ever before, while the system delivers reservations generated on the channel directly into the connected property management systems. Overbooking risks are therefore eliminated, as the available inventory in sales channels do not go beyond the defined threshold while the revenue manager can see all reservations directly in the PMS without having to make error prone manual updates. 

What’s more, superior systems can integrate information from all channels, and create a consolidated report in an easy to read format with bite size pieces of relevant information – this reduces the effort that revenue managers have to spend on collating big data and then extracting relevant information from it. Quality data is essential for producing meaningful analysis and accurate forecasts. Reservation Reports, available through advanced channel management systems, provide revenue managers with an overview of booking demand from all demand sources broken down into market segment. By analyzing the performance metrics, they can get a clear understanding of buying behaviors; what makes travelers book the property? Which channel delivers the most booking? Which OTA provides the highest RevPAR? And which delivers the longer lead-time to book reservations? What type of packages are people buying? This data helps hotels identify their most valuable guests, their demography and the channel they are using for booking, allowing them to adapt strategies accordingly to maximize revenue.

However, total revenue management will only be possible when they work together with the sales and marketing team. Today’s marketing promotions are built around rate strategy set by revenue management teams, and hence can only be successful through a cohesive approach. Marketing, sales and distribution departments have to work with revenue management to inform and advise on demand and pricing decisions. Hotels that tie their sales and marketing with revenue management strategies and find ways to incorporate this into their day-to-day revenue plans will lead their competitive sets and ultimately find themselves ahead on the bottom line.

The key to reducing distribution costs and improving profitability depends on how skillfully one can align one’s marketing strategy with the right technology. Technology helps hotels determine new metrics to measure total revenue management. A single integrated enterprise connectivity system saves time, reduces costs, and enables revenue managers to focus on the data at hand in order to make better decisions to increase revenue. The future will start now if we could change the way we do our job differently. 

This article by Michael McCartan, CEO, eRevMax, is published on Global Hotel Network.

Newshound: Changing hotel online booking, How to tackle same-day booking market, Brands & OTAs mending relationship

How will online hotel booking change in the near future?

In recent years, supplier sites have gained at the expense of OTAs. Hotels want to drive bookings to their own channels because the payouts to online agents for hotel bookings are huge. To be sure, commissions seem to be declining lately. I used to see major chains paying out commissions in high 20% ranges, while more recently such high payouts seem to apply mostly to independent hotels. The savvier big chains like Marriott, depending on the online channel, may have negotiated down the payouts to the high teens.
http://www.tnooz.com/2013/05/23/news/how-will-online-hotel-booking-change-in-the-near-future/#dqApEQ1SIyQGSugH.99

Addressing the 3 Cs of same-day bookings: Control, cannibalisation, commissions

With the recent surge worldwide of same day booking apps, hotel chains know they need to get on board but there are significant challenges to overcome in the same-day booking market – to avoid cannibalisation, to avoid paying high commission on already discounted rates and not relinquish control of how their last minute inventory is sold and promoted via third parties. Let’s take a look at how hotel chains can address the 3 C’s when considering how to tackle the same-day booking market. 
http://www.webintravel.com//blog/addressing-the-3-cs-of-sameday-bookings-control-cannibalisation-commissions_3799

Connect to your hotel guests – directly!

Travel brands have a huge opportunity to circumvent the OTAs and connect directly with consumers searching for their products and services through paid, earned, and owned media strategies. Many travel brands are missing basic SEO strategies that would help them compete with OTAs. 
http://www.hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/more_on_how_travel_brands_can_connect_directly_with_consumers_online/

Brands, OTAs mending relationship

Although large-scale hotel brands have denounced online travel agencies in recent years, instead focusing their efforts on driving travelers directly to their own websites, there seems to be a shift in attitude of late. Hotel brand executives are beginning to embrace OTAs again, even calling them partners, as companies such as Expedia and Priceline work through complex negotiations with many of the major brands.
http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/articles.aspx/10542/Brands-OTAs-mending-relationship?utm_source=feedly

Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution


GHOTEL hotel & living selects RateTiger for smart online room distribution

German hospitality group GHOTEL hotel & living has selected RateTiger’s industry leading Channel Manager to maximise its distribution reach for its unique accommodation offerings by updating distribution channels efficiently in real-time.
http://www.eglobaltravelmedia.com.au/z-more/technology-more/ghotel-hotel-living-selects-ratetiger-for-smart-online-room-distribution.html

The Future of Hotel Marketing: Social Media Synopsis
Hotel chains that are open to 24/7 online social communications with their fan base can sense the power of a free flowing exchange of ideas, and capitalize on a low-cost marketing channel solution. Communication with customer base via social media channels is now expected as standard, whether these platforms are utilized to shape brand image, facilitate user-generated content or compliment a targeted pay-per-click campaign, social media is vital to the success of a hotel property.
http://hotelexecutive.com/business_review/3441/the-future-of-hotel-marketing-social-media-synopsis

Data transformation key for revenue managers

As more data becomes available, revenue managers must be able to filter and make sense of only the best information in order to achieve their goals, sources said during a Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) webinar. “Some people may say that we’re drowning in data, but I think it’s more accurate to say that we’re drowning in information,” said Kevin Coleman, partner and COO at Intelligent Hospitality, a hotel business intelligence company that provides reporting and analytics for hotel sales, marketing and revenue management.
http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/10263/Data-transformation-key-for-revenue-managers

A Call to Arms: How to Shift Market Share from the OTAs to the Hotel Website

 
This year, the hospitality industry is in for a lot of pain. OTA dependency continues to plague the hospitality industry, despite gains in the past three years and positive trends in all three industry indicators. This isn’t new. What’s new is the pain to the bottom line inflicted by the fat commission checks hoteliers are now paying Expedia and other OTAs, due to the widespread adoption of Expedia”s and Booking.com”s agency model in the U.S.
http://www.hospitalitynet.org/column/global/154000392/4060290.html