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!

Is TripAdvisor turning into an OTA with its Instant Booking Model?

TripAdvisor has recently unveiled their direct booking feature, which offers users the option to book hotels within its site. Officially called TripConnect Instant Booking, this function has already created a lot of buzz in the industry.
I attended a session at WTM, where TripAdvsior gave a rough sketch on how the model works.  This will allow users to research, compare, choose and now book hotels, in other words, complete the buying journey while staying within TripAdvisor user experience.
This is a major shift in TripAdvisor’s revenue model, which earlier relied on advertising. Only last year, the travel giant had revealed its meta-search service, where a supplier  uses TripConnect CPC (cost-per-click) to place bids to appear in the price and availability search results. With the new model, TripAdvisor has introduced a commission based ‘bidding model’, where suppliers like OTAs, hotels, GDSs bid on a commission percentage they are willing to pay.
The basic difference between the CPC and Instant Booking model is that for the former, partners bid via cost-per-click for the top positions, and pay when users click on that link, whereas in the new model, they pay TripAdvisor a commission once the user completes their stay.  In the earlier model, suppliers required bid management strategy to be on top position, and directing traffic would not necessarily lead to conversion. The Instant Booking gives them 100% return on investment; in addition they will own the data, can view traveller profile and be the pointof sale collecting the payments.
If it reminds you of the traditional OTA model, you are absolutely right. But does that mean TripAdvisor is aspiring to be an OTA? According to analysts, this is an extremely smart move by TripAdvisor to improve monetization of its mobile channel.  The site gets around 110 million monthly unique visitors, about 40% of its total traffic, but accounts for less than 20% of desktop when it comes to monetization.
With mobile booking rapidly growing in US, Europe and APAC, Instant Booking, which allows users to book a hotel room while staying on the TripAdvisor user-shell will encourage more people to book, and therefore improve conversion rates. To make it more attractive for partners, TripAdvisor is using the Top Position of it search result and extending Premium Certification to enjoy benefits like tradeshow and online promotion to those signing up for this programme.
For independent hotels struggling to improve position in a channel where big OTAs with larger marketing spends typically dominate, this can be a golden opportunity to get direct bookings at a lower cost per acquisition, and to increase distribution on distressed inventory or increase direct bookings in low periods through improved mobile booking experience.
Choice Hotels International, Best Western, GetaRoom.com, Amoma, Tingo and GDS operator Travelport have already signed up for this programme.  In fact for TripAdvisor, Travelport’s listings for 580,000 hotels worldwide, including 480,000 non-branded properties and 150,000 e-commerce enabled listed properties can be the biggest coup for this program.

Presently pilot testing on global Mobile and certain US desktop IP addresses, the program is expected to be globally rolled out early 2015. With Google Hotel Finder also testing Buy Now in the UK market, does this indicate a new trend to look out for in 2015? It certainly looks so!

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.

eRevMax adds metasearch channels in its distribution offerings

While the concept of Meta search has existed for a number of years, but recently this method of research has become prominent within the travel industry. Following a 13 percent annual growth and a greater number of travellers citing a preference for Metasearch, eRevMax has partnered with World Independent Hotel Promotion (WIHP), to allow users of Connect and RateTiger to expand their visibility across Google Hotel Finder, TripAdvisor, Trivago, Kayak, and WeGo. It is anticipated that this will boost direct bookings, therefore reducing OTA fees. As a result of this partnership, tens of thousands of hotels across the world have been given new and exciting opportunities, according to WIHP VP Martin Soler.

This new partnership will help hotels to increase bookings and revenue for their property, by driving qualified leads from metasearch sites to their own website. This will help them in reducing OTA commissions and improve overall profitability. The advanced tracking available with the service will help hotels to know the exact return on investment for each metasearch channel they are advertising on.

Why It’s Time to Include Meta Search in Your Distribution Portfolio

Hotels around the globe are being told to prepare for the metasearchera, and that includes changing their marketing strategies, outlook, and software systems to make the transition from solely direct and OTA bookings to direct bookings via travel oriented meta search engines such as TripAdvisor. Meta search is fast becoming the ‘goto’ method of travel booking, up by 13 percent in the past year alone. Why? Not only are the younger generation of travellers more web savvy, but travellers today are also striving to find the best deals to meet strict budgets. Utilising meta search channels isn’t just about staying in the game, it’s about diversifying audiences, increasing visibility, and boosting brand reputation across multiple platforms.

Meta search allows for visitors to book either through OTAs or through the brand website, helping to increase direct sales. Meta search sites such as TripAdvisor have been criticized for favouring OTAs with which they have a partnership, but direct information is available, which is more than can be said for OTAs themselves.

The Indian Traveller 2014

The third largest economy in the world India is becoming on the major player in travel space. Despite a slower economy and foreign exchange volatility, over 15 million Indian travellers are planning foreign trip shows an infographic, recently released by eRevMax. The Middle East and Far East have certainly been leaders so far but interestingly, India is catching up.  The infographic reports that 33 percent of travel-related searches within India are now made online, with mobile being the preferred choice. The solutions provider suggests regional online travel agents should focus on connecting the hotesl of Middle East and APAC region to gain more revenue.


To access the full infographic, click Infographic: The Indian Traveller 2014

Newshound: Trends and Reports – Hotel Online Distribution


Automation is on the up and could hold the key to increasing online sales

In today’s multi-channel environment, hoteliers need to have quick access to hotel-rate data and inventory positions on various sales channels. “Over the last couple of years we have seen an increased focus on integrated applications, allowing hotels to do most of these complex tasks through a single system,” says Michael McCartan, chief executive officer, eRevMax International.


Analyzing the OTAs

Whether you’re in the camp that believes online travel agencies are single-handedly ruining the hotel industry or in the camp that looks to them for a majority of your demand, there’s one thing almost all hoteliers agree on: Third-party room distributors are here to stay. However, while OTAs serve an important role in the industry, it’s no secret their relationship with hoteliers is not perfect, said Brian Mullan, a research analyst with Janney Capital Markets in New York.

The end of the rate-matching machine: ways to count on competitive pricing

Competitive pricing is an element of pricing decisions in any market. How this is done depends on the availability of such data to providers, the visibility and comparability of it to customers and the level of fragmentation in the market. In hospitality and travel, thanks largely to broad Internet distribution, all of these factors make competitive pricing particularly important.

TripAdvisor tests hotel metasearch service – now the fun really begins

User review giant TripAdvisor is finally doing what pretty much everyone involved in the hotel sector expected it to do years ago – consumer metasearch for its vast portfolio of properties.The company confirmed this week that it is currently testing “new search functionality” for hotels, covering both desktop and mobile versions of the service.

The total cost of travel technology [INFOGRAPHIC]

From individuals who have implemented a small system to those coordinating major overhauls of existing platforms in large companies, organising travel technology is not an easy process. It is clearly a combination of establishing the business and technology requirements, alongside budget, expectations, crystal ball-gazing and market analysis.

Report: PwC European Cities Hotel Forecast 2013

Overall, RevPAR growth is expected to slow in 2013, held back by strong economic headwinds across the eurozone. But there will be thrivers; cities expected to show robust RevPAR growth include Paris, St Petersburg and Edinburgh and more modest increases should be seen in Frankfurt, Berlin, Dublin and Moscow.The second edition of PwC’s European cities hotel forecast for 2013 features 19 of Europe’s most important gateway cities.