The Week, That Was – June 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!!


How travel brands should tackle attribution

Knowledge of your customer is a must-have, but complex journeys across multiple devices present travel brands with huge challenges. A new report from EyeforTravel investigates how to conquer attribution. Travel brands need to undertake an extensive and multifaceted approach because attribution requires capturing interactions at so many touchpoints over extended periods and from different devices.

http://www.eyefortravel.com/mobile-and-technology/how-travel-brands-should-tackle-attribution 

eRevMax announces 2-way integration with Nitesoft
The connectivity between RateTiger and Nitesoft PMS has proven to be highly reliable and easy-to-use. It means more sales and higher margins for our hotel customers. They can now exploit the full potential of a vast selection of OTAs, GDSs, Metasearch and Wholesalers available via the eRevMax Channel Ecosystem to expand visibility and revenue potential.

https://goo.gl/RdwgMr

PATA reports Another record year for foreign arrivals into Asia Pacific in 2017
With a cumulative count of 636 million foreign arrivals into the region in 2017, Asia Pacific sets a new record – according to a report released today by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). The distribution of these arrivals was such, that in terms of the destination regions and sub-regions covered in the report, Asia received the majority of these arrivals in 2017 with a 72% share, followed by the Americas with 24% and the Pacific with the remaining four percent.

https://www.hospitalitynet.org/performance/4088660.html

GDPR: Why Hoteliers Should Take the new EU Regulations Very Seriously
New EU rules on data protection – or GDPR – , seven years in the making, come/came into effect on May 25. The advice from IT experts to hoteliers is: take the new rules very seriously or risk heavy fines of up to 20 million euros or four percent of the company’s global turnover, whichever is higher.

https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4088620.html

Sojern Offers Insights on Early Summer Travel Trends Around the Globe
Sojern published its latest Global Travel Insights report, which offers a quarterly look at travel trends from around the world. Sojern’s data shows that the 2018 World Cup is a primary travel driver across Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the summer. Looking at travelers’ paths to purchase, mid-east and African tourists are opting to either return to their families following the end of Ramadan on 15th June, or they are immediately beginning to travel for the World Cup

https://www.sojern.com/blog/global-travel-trends-report-summer-2018/

Is working on vacation key to enjoying it?
Among the key findings:
⅓ of workers intend on being available to work on vacation.
For many, working during vacation helps them enjoy vacation more.
Men are 10% more likely than women to say they plan on working during vacation.
Millennials mirror the working habits of their boss when they take a vacation.
https://ehotelier.com/global/2018/05/29/working-vacation-key-enjoying/

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 – April 2018 Week 4

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!!

Infographic: HospitalityUnited.Club releases Middle East Online Travel Trends at ATM
HospitalityUnited.Club, a consortium of travel technology companies, in partnership with RateTiger and LiveOS has published an infographic ebook titled ‘Middle East Travel Trends’ – highlighting key travel metrics and indicators in the region.

https://goo.gl/DBykeR

5 Technology Trends Shaping the Hotel and Travel Industry
2018 will be no different. The travel industry is looking brighter than ever with profound advances in interconnectivity, a unification of various channels to guide travel-goers through a cohesive funnel. We’re seeing smart attached to just about everything, luggage, entry mechanisms, convenience items as the internet of things spreads like wildfire, and we’re standing by as drones capture cinematic gold and redefine digital marketing.

http://hoteltechnologynews.com/2018/04/5-new-technology-trends-hotel-travel-industry/

Hotels Catch Up to OTA Best Practices with TrustYou’s Review Marketing Solutions
TrustYou, the world’s largest guest feedback platform, unveiled impressive results proving the correlation between Review Marketing Solutions and increased revenue, in partnership with NH Hotels. The world-leading urban hotel operator, with almost 400 hotels in its portfolio, noted a considerable increase in the website traffic, conversions and ultimately, revenue, after mimicking OTA typical behavior through the TrustYou features.

https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4088111.html

Airbnb’s market share of U.S. lodging demand increasing at a decelerating rate
While Airbnb demand has grown rapidly during the past few years, analysts expect its demand growth will decelerate in the near term. Recent data provides strong evidence that this is already happening. Specifically, the pace of growth in room nights sold has declined over the course of the past year, even though demand is still growing significantly. We expect the pace of demand growth will continue to decelerate during the next few years.

https://goo.gl/uHzgJN

Personalised pricing: Right data instead of big data
In order to get into direct contact with their guests early in the booking process, hoteliers have to overcome the practice of commoditisation. The best way to take the focus off the price discussion is automatic pricing. According to a study by Accenture, 75 percent of consumers today place increasing value on personalised experiences and offers.

https://goo.gl/pzSqon

Microsoft’s travel manifesto
Microsoft engaged a dozen technology companies, supplier partners and like-minded travel buyers to join its team for a corporate travel innovation summit to map a vision of the corporate travel future.The manifesto asserts that the future of managed travel depends on providing the right traveler experience, not just for employee satisfaction purposes but also for the best operational efficiencies.
http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/microsofts_travel_manifesto

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

Thanks and have a good day!

M Hotel Downtown by Millennium Dubai endorses RateTiger for online distribution

M Hotel Downtown by Millenium has improved their online sales through eRevMax’s seamless connectivity with leading OTAs. The 4-star property has been using RTConnect to update rate and inventory across online sales channels and receive reservations into their property management system (PMS).

Middle East is the fastest-growing region for travel with UAE being the dominant market. With over 15 million overnight visitors, Dubai has seen double digit growth in mid-market travel segment. The city, being the business and shopping hub in the region with the highest smartphone penetration, has seen major shift in the entire travel value chain due to digitization – from travel research to booking to guest engagement. 

Prior to RateTiger, M Hotel tried various channel managers to update rates and allotments on different OTAs but there was still a lot of manual task involved. Being a popular choice of guests, not having the ability to immediately update its rooms and rates was a potential handicap for its revenue stream and constant hindrance on staff. The extreme competition in Dubai hospitality sector fuelled by additional supply of rooms in the city has made managing online sales channels even more complex.

“The biggest challenge that we faced with our earlier distribution solutions was the time delay in sending ARI update to all channels. Proper distribution of rates and availability is very vital in eliminating parity issues which is an ongoing challenge with most of the hotels and one of the top most measurement factor which affects your search ranking in OTAs. RateTiger has really changed that considerably given the amount of data which is pushed to the channel manager,” said Unni Krishnan, Revenue Manager, M Hotel Downtown by Millenium.

RTConnect’s pool inventory model allows Unni and his team to continuously distribute its live rates and inventory to multiple booking channels and deliver updates back into its property management system (PMS) in real-time, without worrying about overbooking. eRevMax’s stable 2-way XML connection with all leading online sales channels have allowed them to easily connect with better performing OTAs.

“RateTiger seems to be following the most important rule of the technology world ‘Keeping it simple but powerful’!” summarized Unni Krishnan.

Team eRevMax, represented by Diako Sali and Ram Mohan Dubey, will be attending ATM Dubai from 22 – 25 April 2018. To set a meeting, contact marketing@erevmax.com

3 ways to gain market share from OTAs

The online travel agents are becoming more powerful day-by-day and they are eating others lunch, especially of hoteliers. The more powerful OTA means higher commission for hotels that lead to lower profit for the hotels and this has become the pain points or bottlenecks for the hoteliers. This is the high time for the hotels to take action to gain market share from the OTA’s to retain their profit percentage. In this case hoteliers are left with two choices either to increase their room rate to maintain their profit or to find out other way where they can increase direct booking maintaining a fair balance with OTAs to get maximum outcome from their revenue strategy. Since hotel business is very price sensitive the first option is little difficult to implement in this competitive market – if a hotel increases its room rate then they may not get business at all. Now the hoteliers are left with the second option and they can better think of increasing direct booking coming from their Brand.com.

In last couple of years I’ve been constantly reviewing how the hospitality industry is changing and how hoteliers are looking into more direct business. Here in this article I’d like to suggest three ways in which the hotelier can gain market share from the OTA’s.

User driven design:
Responsive Design: You should have a responsive website which should be used in mobile because now a day’s most of the people only use mobile for doing their hotel booking. 
Content Marketing: The content is powerful. The photo gallery, room details are something what a user look for and content drives new traffic from the search engine. A website with good and organised content always drives more traffic to your website that can convert your potential guest to loyal customers.
Website- Your Best Salesman
Your hotel website is your sales conversion engine. You should design your website in a manner where it will help you to increase your look-to-book ratio. The increase in look-to-book ratio means more sales and your attempt should try to convert each of the visitors as your potential customers. For doing this you need to keep few things in mind: 

    Meta Search Allows for Direct Bookings
    Meta search is considered to be one of the biggest digital marketing trends for hoteliers in current time. It is anticipated to be the fastest growing method of brand awareness and growth, and hotels should be encouraged to utilize these channels, including them as part of their distribution portfolio.
    While OTAs continue to lead the third party sales industry, they have one very big disadvantage for hoteliers – bookings are made exclusively through the merchant site, for which the brand will pay a nominal fee.
    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.
    Turning OTA booking into direct booking
    The hotelier should always try to convert the OTA booking into the direct booking. The first step to this can be to have the guest email address and to add him to your loyal customer’s data base. One of the best ways to attract these guests can be emailing them about the special rates and plans of your hotel.  In addition to this the hotelier can reply to the comments and reviews of guests on different OTA’s. Replying to the reviews help a lot in increasing the loyalty of your brand and converting them from OTA to direct booking.
    As technology advances with enormous pace we’ll see more hoteliers will implement a clear balance of direct and OTA strategy to drive more revenue.
    Posted by Omprakash Singh, Business Analyst, eRevMax

    Booking.com fires away strict rate parity: What it means for hoteliers

    Just when we have been thinking that the rate parity issue have been sorted out, comes the news of Booking.com amending their parity agreement in Europe. In an announcement last week, the OTA giant has said that they are abandoning its price, availability and booking parity provisions with respect to other online travel agencies. Putting it simply, this means, as an hotelier, you can now sell the same room in another OTA at a lower price. As Booking.com CEO says: “We welcome and encourage fair competition in the marketplace because competition drives innovation, efficiencies, and most importantly, greater value for consumers.”



    For independent hoteliers, and smaller OTAs, this development can be ‘THE BEST THING’ that has happened to them for a long time. And they are thanking regulatory bodies in Sweden, France and Italy, who have forced Europe’s biggest online channel to bend its rule. Investigation on Booking.com’s alleged ‘anti-competitive clauses’ are going on in Germany, Austria and UK. So does that mean that the rosy days are in the corner for the hotel industry?
    A quick recap of rate parity controversy
    For long smaller OTAs have been alleging against unfair arm-twisting by big OTAs to maintain rate parity. Based on claims made by Skoosh, a pan-European hotel booking site, UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has investigated allegations that hotels are colluding with Booking.com to keep room rates at an artificially high level. Following a three-year investigation by the OFT in 2013 ruled that InterContinental Hotels Group, Expedia and Priceline Group could no longer enforce rate parity agreements for certain types of bookings.
    Since then, hoteliers in the U.K. have been able to offer discounts to “closed groups,” such as members of their loyalty program. And third-party distributors will be allowed to reduce their commissions and margins in order to discount hotel rooms to certain “closed groups,” such as website members or travellers who download their mobile app.
    Europe now, world awaits
    The latest move by Booking.com is somewhat similar to their stand in UK after the OFT verdict, but has broader scopes. Effective from July 1, the amendment will allow an accommodation provider the freedom for properties to offer different pricing and booking policies (e.g. free cancellation, WIFI, breakfast) through different online travel agencies. For independent and smaller hotels, who cannot afford to stay away from the mighty channel, but are burdened with  paying high commission (up to 20% in some cases), price parity has always been a bone of contention.

    With the recent changes, does it mean hotels now have regained control over their pricing?

    In my next edition I’ll talk about how hoteliers can utilize maximum opportunity from the rate parity amendment by Booking.com

    Cristina Blaj is Sales Director at eRevMax.  She can be reached at cristinab@erevmax.com

    Last Minute Booking: How big is it?

    The rise and rise of last minute booking has become a double edged sword for revenue managers. On one hand they have opened up an opportunity  to sell otherwise perishable inventories even if at a discounted rate to make some money; on the other hand guest, more smarter than ever with wide range lodging option, is now in charge, and forcing hotels to lower prices.

    With increasing ubiquity of mobile devices, there is a certain change in consumer behavior. Guests today are more confident than ever to research and find lodging option at the very last minute. According to a recent study by PhoCusWright, about 30% bookings come from Hotel Mobile booking  platform; 70% of them are from same day bookings.



    A look at last minute travel booking

    It all started in 2010 with the launch of HotelTonight. Since then there have been multiple entrants and OTA majors like Booking.com, Orbitz, Priceline, HRS and Expedia are making investments in this segment. For example, Expedia has been aggressively building its presence on mobile to meet its customers changing needs and 70% of its travel booking comes from last-minute bookings.
    So what really is last minute? In the hospitality industry, bookings windows of up to seven days in advance are known as last-minute booking. Within this there are three categories- seven days or less, three days or less and same-day. Same-day booking are done on the day guests wants to stay. Mobile applications like HotelTonight allow travelers to book a room for the same day.

    How big is last minute travel?

    While researching on how the growth of last minute booking segment, I has come across some eye-catching stats which I would share with you.  PhoCusWright reports   that overall mobile search and booking volume is growing rapidly with gross travel bookings via mobile (phones and tablets) accounting for 27% in the US, up from just 5% in 2012. In UK, 1 in every 3 Britons book on the same day. The trend is more or less same in Asia Pacific as well, with 70% of mobile booking coming for same day stays.



    Don’t ignore last bookers

    As a major share of all hotel bookings are shifting from desktop to mobile and it is done at the end moment you can’t deny its importance in your business. Sojern research data shows Tuesday is considered for the most productive day for last minute bookings and Friday for same-day bookings. Last-minute travel accounts for 25% of trips lasting a week or less. When travelers prefer to go for short vacation i.e. for two to three days the likelihood of their last minute booking increase significantly this means if you are not prepared to serve these last-minute travelers then you are losing a large share from your unsold rooms. Keeping in mind everything about last-minute travelers, you should ask yourself a few questions to understand your potential guests and take right strategy to avoid revenue disaster.

    1. Ask yourself what does last-minute travel mean for your product or location? Know what are the latest trends in the hospitality industry by analysing big data generated from own PMS such as guest information, length of stay or you may avail it from third party. This will help you acquire key information to understand travel journey of your potential guests and take right action by offering them suitable offers.

    2. Are your revenue managers are taking right decision and promotional tactics which is compatible to fulfil increasing demand for last-minute travelers? Review closely your current revenue & marketing strategies and analyse how can you attract and win more last-minute travelers.

    3. Make a plan how can you reach to this group of travellers.  To understand you need to analyse your revenue management tactics and find out gaps in occupancy. List your unsold room in last minute booking sites such as HotelTonight, Jettsetter, PriceLine, Travelocity which is more affordable to you.

    Image Source: PhoCusWright, HubSpot

    The Big 5 – a look into top performing channels in the APAC region – Part I

    There are total 2.92 billion people in the world having access to internet. Nearly half of them or 1.3 billion are from Asia Pacific. Last year, Asia Pacific became the largest regional ecommerce market and now contributes for more than a third of all business to consumer ecommerce sales in the world. The increase in online penetration has changed the travel behavior which traditionally preferred travel agencies, group bookings and in-person sales. Many are now choosing to travel in smaller groups, or even alone and preferring to self-manage travel by booking online.

    PhoCusWright reports that in 2012 APAC region surpassed Europe to become the world’s largest regional travel market with US$326 billion in gross travel bookings. Despite slow economic growth and political turmoil in some countries in the region, an average 8% growth is expected this year taking the online travel market to $126billion, which is pretty mind-blowing. With 46% APAC travelers planning to book online, no wonder global giants like Expedia and Booking.com are eyeing for a share of the pie, where regional OTAs still rule.
    Consider this – 69% of Chinese OTA market is controlled by three regional travel agencies Ctrip, eLong & Ly.com. In India MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip and Yatra have 60% of the market share. Japan, one of the largest online markets in the region, is dominated by Rakuten Travel.
    In this article we list out five online travel agents who are playing vital role in shaping the online travel industry in Asia Pacific.
    MakeMyTrip, the only local site to be amongst the top 10 most popular online booking sites globally has been consistently dominating the Indian online travel market with over 47% market share.  Rising disposable income and the corresponding expansion of the Indian middle class have triggered more cash flow in households, opening up possibilities for spending and leisure. Working on a hybrid model which offers both online and offline travel services, MakeMyTrip now has a customer base of over seven million, and page views crossing 20 million every month. To cash on the smartphone led internet revolution in the country, MakeMyTrip has invested heavily on their mobile application with full booking capabilities for flights, hotels and bus ticketing across all major platforms.  The application which has seen more than 3.2 million downloads, more than 29% of their monthly unique visitors and 25% of total online domestic hotel transactions come from mobile.
    With the rise in disposable income levels, and an expanding middle class, China has emerged as the biggest outbound market. China has 632 million Internet users and 46.9% of them are pure mobile. Ctrip which receives over 1 million transactions per day is the largest Chinese online travel agency by revenue and valuation.




    Ctrip.com controls 54% of Chinese online travel market and receives 8.6 million monthly visitors to its website of which 73.52% comes from China only. Ctrip has been partnering with local regional travel portals to consolidate its dominance in Greater China. The channel has formed a partnership with Priceline which gives Ctrip access with Priceline’s 500000 inventories and improve the cross-promotion of each other’s hotel inventory and other travel services.

    In my next edition I’ll talk about three more online channels who are playing vital role in shaping the online travel industry in Asia Pacific.
    NB: Oriental People Image by Stockvault and Chinese Street by Freepik Images


    This is a view point by Christy Toh Sales Manager at eRevMax based in Singapore.  She can be reached at christinet@erevmax.com

    The Rise and Rise of Mobility: how it is Changing World Travel – Part 1

    More people today own a mobile device than a toothbrush. At the beginning of this year, about 5.1 billion, or 5 out of 7 people have access to mobile phones.  To say that the figure is mind blowing would be an understatement. Truth be told, mobile technology has occupied our daily lives – it has changed our relationships with family, spouses and close friends, altered communication modes and social behavior.
    For hospitality industry, this effectively means fundamentally changing the way we do our business. Putting that in perspective, today we deal with a customer who has access to market data all the time. Right from planning to booking to sharing feedbacks – the traveler is using web, largely through a connected mobile device at every step.

    As a customer today uses multiple devices to complete purchase journey, hotels need to ensure that guests get a ubiquitous experience. Here is what I think will be key factors hotel needs to consider while developing their mobile strategy.
    Mobile Optimized Site
    The days of tracking your customers through Desktop / Laptop IP address are gone. According to Global Online Travel Overview by PhoCusWright, about 22% of online bookings will be made in mobile this year.  Experian, in a recent report suggests that about 97% of tablet owners have made a purchase on their devices, and 83% have been engaged in shopping-related activities immediately before, during, or after visiting a store. Clearly it has become an integral part of the travel buying journey as they use the device from planning to “showroom’ viewing to purchasing to finally posting review – in other words using it at every stage of the travel journey.  However, do remember, your probable guest is most likely to use mobile while on the go, and hence has a shorter attention span. Make sure they don’t need to visit too many pages to get the right information. A responsive web-design which provides an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices should get the top priority in your wish list for 2015.
     

    Ease of Booking
    1.75 billion people today own a smartphone, a number you can hardly ignore for being used by elites. More than 50% of leisure travelers and 74% of first-class travelers today use a smartphone making it a platform which hotels must adapt to. By now, mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop internet usage, and mobile devices – and one in every five booking will come through smart phone and tablets. Peer-to-peer apartment rentals booked through mobile is even more at 34%. For the hospitality industry, this essentially indicates that unless they have a mobile friendly direct bookings, baked by a focused marketing strategy, lion-share will go to the OTAs which have been early adapters of this change.

    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!

    Host Hotel Systems integrates with eRevMax for seamless online booking connectivity

    Host Hotel Systems have recently completed a two-way interface between HostPMS and eRevMax, allowing HostPMS users to fully utilise the advantages of both systems at once. Through this interface the accommodation providers will be able to manage automated online inventory updates, and standardised rate changes across the multiple channels.
    Marketing Manager Joao Rodrigues of Host Hotel Systems anticipates that this integration will improve overall customer satisfaction and will give them the ability to expand their distribution portfolio to reach out to vast audience. He also thanks to eRevMax for this integration which removes the need for manual input.
    Commenting on the integration Chief Operating Officer of eRevMax, Greg Berman said this integration will help Host customers to get automatic updates in real time across all connected channels.

    Using Connect, a SaaS based enterprise connectivity solution from eRevMax; HostPMS users will be able to increase their web presence through greater access to marketing channels.