Top Tech Trends for Driving Your Hotel Revenue

Hospitality

With the constant evolution of technology and new trends coming and going, its important for hotels to keep a track of what is happening around them. Knowing the impact of new technology and how it can affect revenue is key to running any business successfully today. The same applies to the travel and hospitality sector which is one of the most dynamic industries today. Given the huge dependence on guest behavior, hoteliers need to know how to influence key decision makers and be visible at every key touch point. Here are some upcoming trends that we feel will have an impact on the industry and hoteliers should take notice and prepare well in advance.

1) Data explosion with 5G Network:
The new 5G, with its superfast download speed and other benefits, is sure to have a massive impact on the expectations and behavior of mobile phone users. One can readily access virtual reality and videos and the 5G network is likely to bring a huge change in how guests research and book travel and hotel. Users will have the opportunity to visualize themselves in their preferred room instead of only seeing the photos.

‘Mobile-first strategy’ will likely rule the trend. Google, being the early adopter like it is, may reward hotels that pro-actively focus on their mobile strategy and penalize the ones that are not at all mobile friendly. Thus, hotels need to make sure their brand website is mobile friendly and has a good page load speed. It’s important to develop mobile focused marketing strategy to capture this segment of guests that like to book things on mobile.

2) Virtual and Augmented Reality:
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will get a big boost with 5G network. However, AR proves to be more realistic than VR to hoteliers. Why? Real environment is replaced by a virtual one by VR. To visualize this, one needs wearable technology. On the contrary, AR introduces digital components into real environment that one can easily access with smartphones.

Some hotels have already started using this technology like AR-enabled maps and brochures. It is a great opportunity for hotel industry to enhance in-stay and pre-stay experience of their guests.

3) Dominance of Videos:
Conveying information through videos is more effective than words because people today prefer watching than reading, especially in mobile phones. Do you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine globally? Facebook too generates huge traffic from its videos every day. With the emergence of 5G, videos will achieve greater importance.

To future-proof business, hoteliers have to invest in entertaining, informational and relevant video advertising. According to Google, videos are likely to capture 80% of online media in the coming years.

With so many innovative technologies coming up in the market, hotels have to optimize these opportunities to reap the maximum benefit for their business.

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The Week, That Was – December 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!!

Carton House Resort, Ireland recommends eRevMax for online connectivity

Carton House, a historic luxury hotel in Ireland has recommended eRevMax solutions for online distribution. The property has been using RateTiger Channel Manager to maintain real-time rate and inventory updates across online sales channels including booking engine.

https://bit.ly/2SuD7UX

Expedia to Hoteliers: Alternative accommodations won’t steal your business

Expedia wants to create value for hotels by providing them with tools to make them more efficient rather than hurting them with the increased presence of vacation rentals, the company said at its Explore partner conference in Las Vegas this week.

https://skift.com/2018/12/06/expedia-to-hoteliers-vacation-rentals-wont-steal-your-business/

 How Real-Time, Transparent Bidding Can Fix a Broken Travel Search Ecosystem

Today, even before most travelers ever step foot on a plane, they’ve already gone on an epic journey while planning their trip. According to Skift’s The State of Online Travel Media 2018 report, 73 percent of global travel searches begin with no brand or destination listed.

https://skift.com/2018/11/30/how-real-time-transparent-bidding-can-fix-a-broken-travel-search-ecosystem/

Why European Biz Travelers Go Outside Their Companies to Use Online Travel Agencies

Business travelers tend to book their trips through whatever channels they prefer, regardless of whether there is an online booking tool or agency that their company wants them to use. The research found that while travelers consistently use a company’s online booking tool to book air and hotel, they are increasingly turning to online travel agencies and direct channels as well. In fact, online travel agency use has pulled into near parity with a company’s travel agency department in many countries.

https://skift.com/2018/12/03/why-european-biz-travelers-go-outside-their-companies-to-use-online-travel-agencies/

Data pinpoints hotel mismanagement of inventory allocation and availability

The management of room inventory on both a hotel’s brand site and through contracted online travel agency partners is at the core of an effective distribution system. The findings are based on data gathered from brand websites and contracted OTAs for 7,600 properties around the world during a two-month period beginning in September. In its report, Fornova says it calculated demand as a function of room rate – when rates were below the median, it considered it to be a low-demand period and when rates were higher than median it considered it high demand.

https://www.phocuswire.com/Fornova-allocation-availability-report

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

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Three Strategies to Boost Direct Bookings and Still Appease OTAs

Travelocity, Hotwire, Priceline and other travel deal sites require hotels to pay significant commission fees in exchange for bookings. While this is an important revenue source for the industry, some hotels have experienced an increasing percentage of their business moving to these channels (effectively reducing the amount of undocked reservations they receive).

One primary reason for this trend is the assumption that these online travel agencies (OTAs) will always have the better deal. While rate parity clauses prevent hotels from publicly advertising rates for less than what’s on the OTA, there are strategies property owners can use to entice more customers to book direct.

Recently, my company interviewed several hotel management software and hotel marketing experts to help brainstorm several ways hotels can drive direct bookings. Here’s what they suggested:

Blog About Great Deals and Share The Posts
Your blog is a great avenue for both reminding potential customers why that moment is a great time to travel, and for pitching them on deals relevant to whatever event or season might be happening. You can send these articles to your email list, as well as optimize them with keywords that have high search traffic. This latter strategy can drive more organic traffic to your website. For example, “SXSW hotels” receives 170 searches per month, so Austin-area hotels could write blogs optimized for that keyword so they rank when people search for that term in Google. Here’s an example of a blog post advertising Spring time events in the area around The Sanctuary Beach Resort in Monterey Bay:

Hook Viewers with Strategic Design
Often, travelers shopping on OTAs visit the hotel’s website to learn more about the accommodations offered. This is your chance to capture those site visitors and stop them from going back to the OTA. This takes smart web design.

First off, make it as clear and hassle-free as possible to book. Provide “book now” buttons on every page that link to your hotel booking automation system. These buttons should be located at the top of the page so they are the first thing customers see. Also, include call-to-actions on every page that encourages visitors to “sign up for our email list for exclusive discounts,” or “Like on us on Facebook for special deals.”

Also, many customers assume they will get the “least desirable rooms” if they book on an OTA. So you need to show them what your best rooms look like immediately. This could convince them it’s worth splurging on your room rather than an OTA room. Make sure your most attractive rooms, views and balconies (if you have them) are front and center (like on your homepage). These images need to be professionally taken, high quality and show the best parts of your most desired rooms – soaking tubs, incredible views, large windows and so on.

By implementing these tips, savvy hotel managers can drive customers to their own website without upsetting their OTA and still reap the clear benefits of using OTAs. Rather than a battle, it can be a win for everyone involved.

Interact with Customers on Review Sites
Many times when customers use OTAs, they get a list of five or so properties in a similar price range. In addition to visiting the hotel websites, they might also go to something like Yelp or TripAdvisor. This presents another opportunity to draw customers to your own site, rather than having them go back to the OTA to book.

When customers post reviews about your hotel, you need to try your best to answer as many as possible, where they’re positive or negative. Review, a web-based tool by eRevMax, makes monitoring these reviews as easy as checking emails. The application scours all hotel review sites and collects every mention of your hotel in one location. It also lets you respond directly to guests without ever leaving its interface, cutting down time spent hopping from one review site to another for an effective hotel guest review management process.

Besides just viewing and responding to comments, the tool gives you a deeper understanding of your customers. You can see exactly what’s working and what’s not, trends among customers, and also how your hotel stacks up compared to your competitors.

How do you increase direct bookings? Let us know!


Alan S. Horowitz contributed to this report.

Ashley Verrill is an analyst with Software Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has been featured or cited in Inc., Forbes, Business Insider, GigaOM, CIO.com, Yahoo News, the Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal, among others. She also produces original research-based reports and video content with industry experts and thought leaders.