Top three travel trends to watch in 2016

With 2016 upon us, let’s take a quick look at the movers and shakers of 2015 – TripAdvisor launched its Instant Booking service, Google announced the Google Hotel Ads Commission Program, Amazon entered the travel space and Marriott acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide! Do these ‘events’ make predicting 2016 trends any easier? We are not sure! However, based on some industry reports and market research studies, here are some trends that we have derived for 2016 –

Less people, more data

Around 40% of the world’s population is online and they are interacting in newer ways. Internet continues to generate massive amounts of information and data. An IBM researchshows that 2.5 exabytes (that’s a whopping 2.5 billion gigabytes (GB)!) of data was generated in 2012 and this figure will get doubled by 2016. This data is a combination of all the activities happening online across platforms – desktop, tablets, laptops, mobile apps etc. A recent TripBarometer study by TripAdvisor shows that around 42% of travellers use smartphones to plan or book their trips. As technology is leading the way in hospitality, hotels need to focus on deciphering the data trends to offer the right products to travelers through the right channel.

eRevMax big data

Consolidation continues

Hospitality professionals would agree that 2015 continued to witness the consolidation trend. Over the last three years, two of the travel majors – Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group have been gobbling up one company after another. Earlier in 2015, Expedia announced to buy Orbitz for about $1.6 billion in cash following its acquisition of Travelocity. In order to gain supremacy over each other, Expedia and Priceline has spent collectively more than $7.6 billion over the last two years in various acquisitions. Regional biggies did not stay behind in the ‘merger & acquisition’ spree – Chinese online travel giant Ctrip acquired 62.4% share in eLong from Expedia. However, Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide was perhaps the most discussed news piece, making Marriott the largest operating hotel brand worldwide. While it’s difficult to predict who’s next, there definitely will be some more in the offing for 2016.

Guests of the Future

In a world where consumers are using multiple devices and interacting on social media platforms, it has become imperative for hotels to forge relationships with them, particularly in the digital realm. Omnipresent information and instant communication has made competition even fiercer. Hotels those are quick to respond to guests and be visible at every touch point – be it guest review sites or mobile optimized brand website, will surely be preferred over their competitors.

eRevMax Guest Review Management

An eMarketer report shows that in 2013, one in four people was connected through social media – i.e. around 1.73 billion people across the globe. This number is supposed to rise to 2.55 billion by 2017. These users are actively sharing experiences and writing reviews on social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Hotels that are monitoring and responding to these reviews and employ innovative technologies to interact with guests will have an edge over their competitors.

With scientific use of big data and new technologies, hotels can attract modern travellers, manage daily operations effectively and provide best-in-class guest services.

3 areas where Hotels need to incorporate big data analytics

If I have to choose the buzz word for the hospitality technology industry in 2015, it would surely be big data. From BI (business intelligence) to BB (Big Data) the shift is definite, and here to stay. Big Data, which Wikipedia defines as ‘a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate’ has become the central to the business strategy of a smart hotelier in the recent years. With the data volume growing about 50% a year, hotels need big data analytics to define and shape consumer behavior, and maximize their efforts to reach, engage and compel target audiences to action.

Monitor your customer at every touch point

Here’s an interesting fact from Google’s recent study on traveler. Almost half (46%) of travellers who carry out mobile for travel research make their final decision on mobile and then turn to another device to make the booking. With users constantly switching devices during the purchase journey, and getting influenced by social media, mobile and other web-based exchanges, hospitality industry is being forced to constantly adjust and refine their marketing strategies. 

Faced with a multi-faceted and multi-platform traveler whose preference would change depending on the type of trip, hotels need to get close to them by capturing prompt, accurate information – and correctly interpreting it – to change the course and outcome of interactions.

Integrate Big Data Analytics into your Revenue Management System

Revenue management is all about selling the right product to the right person at the right channel. Dynamic pricing helps hotels to optimize demand with flexible pricing, however, with the online distribution landscape continuously throwing new challenges, the complexities of managing hotel’s revenue has increased many-fold.  With each channel having its rule, segment, buying behavior and platform, managing rate and availability in real-time to these channels can become a nightmare.  Gone are the days when hotels would depend on historical data for rate forecasting – today’s revenue managers need to consider consumer’s buying behavior, search pattern, social networking habit for right pricing. This is where big data analytics come into help revenue managers include individual consumer behaviors, including loyalty and lifetime value, past purchases of ancillary services, and online shopping activity in their pricing model.

Personalized marketing for maximum benefit

Each customer is different. So treat them differently. According to an Adobe research, about 70% of today’s online buyers expect personalized service from brands. For hospitality industry, expectation is even higher. OTAs, with their scale of marketing budget and technology superiority, has been one of the earlier adopters of Dynamic Content Personalization’ which allows websites the ability to recognize a past visitor, tag them and create personalized, unique and optimized experiences for consumers – finely tuned for each individual preference. For hotels, personalization also gives them an opportunity to serve the guest better, earn loyalty, while gathering 360 degree view of the guest throughout the guest journey to provide more relevant offers, improve communications and increase engagements. Big Data involves the collection, management and analysis of multiple sources of data, both structured and unstructured, while analytics give the insight to optimize the information.

Swapan Kumar Manna is the Sr. Executive – Marketing at eRevMax. He can be reached at

Stay Connected with latest news: Update from eRevMax- July 17, 2015

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