29 Nov 2013
Infographic from the article ‘Hotels faced with new challenges as the average age of guest drops’ in Tnooz.
Mobile emerging channel for planning, booking and on-site activities.
Highlights from the article ‘Google for Hotels: Q+A with David Zammitt, Google Travel Industry Manager‘.
Not just a search engine anymore, Google has dramatically extended its presence and influence in the online travel space in recent years. New features include Hotel Finder, Google+, a revamped Maps application and Local pages, greater prominence of reviews and ratings, and redesigned YouTube brand channels.
Hotel Finder has a number of innovative and exciting features to help users select the hotels they are interested in more quickly. As I said, our goal is to get our users from intent to action as quickly and as smoothly as we possibly can. Hotel Finder does this through the use of detailed search, maps and live hotel rates and availability. We feel that this provides valuable leads to both suppliers and OTAs.
If an advertiser is looking to include their properties on Hotel Price Ads and receive the clicks on their own sites, they may wish to consider one of our Integration Partners, including several leading CRSs (Customer Reservation Systems). This ensures that even small individual properties or chains can have their price and availability showing on Hotel Price Ads.
Highlights from the article ‘Show These Mobile Usage Statistics To Any Travel Executive Resisting Change‘.
Travelers are switching from desktop Web browsers to smartphones and tablets in droves, but some travel companies have been slow to adapt to the change in traveler behavior.
Check out these half-dozen noteworthy statistics about mobile adoption.
24 Apr 2013
While hotels are actively collaborating with online travel agencies (OTAs) for business, they are often forced to pay large commissions and adhere to conditions set by OTAs. With customers increasingly engaging the services of OTAs to plan their travel arrangements, you may find yourself in a catch 22 situation. The solution as well as challenge is convincing customers to favor your website for bookings over OTAs. The good news is, there are some ways around it. Here are a few techniques you can use to limit your use of OTAs or completely eliminate them from the picture.
1. Special benefits
Special offers and targeted benefits can encourage users to book directly on your website. You can provide value-added corporate bookings, discounted holiday offers and other incentives. Always make sure you explain to customers that your special rates and offers are applicable only when they book directly. In this case, you have a competitive advantage as OTAs face limitations when advertising their offers.
2. Seasonal use of OTAs
You can partner with OTAs on short-term contracts. For instance, you could completely stop OTA bookings during peak seasons when the demand is high, and rely on them during the slower months. During in-demand seasons, you can bank on customers to find you through your website or leverage any other hospitality solution to locate you. To improve your visibility online, you can invest in search engine optimization and social media marketing techniques.
3. Mobile apps for hotels
In a day and age when consumers are accessing information on-the-go, it makes sense to have a unique mobile app for your hotel. You can use this app to encourage your customers to make reservations, get information about special offers and stay abreast of your news. Over a period of time, your app would become self sufficient while you drive quality traffic to your website. A leading e-concierge and e-menu provider for the hospitality industry such as Blynk can provide you effective marketing solutions to attract direct bookings.
OTAs may no doubt be a popular choice but that doesn’t mean you cannot play your hand. Smart planning and execution can help you get your customers back in a real and meaningful way.
16 Apr 2013
Reproduced below is an article from Hotelier Middle East.
Digital-savvy consumers glued to their smart phones will transform the way the travel industry does business.
That was the verdict of a panel of technology experts speaking at the Technology Session at the two-day World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) 13th Global Summit 2013, which concluded 10 April at Jumierah Eithad Towers, Abu Dhabi.
Session moderator, Caroll Rheem, principal analyst at market research company PhoCusWright coined the term ‘splinternet’ to describe new accessibility to multiple devices and the way in which consumers now hop from computer to tablet to mobile phone and back again. “With every click, tap, purchase and abandon, consumers are telling us exactly what they want but we are only just now beginning to listen,” she stated.
Mobile phones are likely to be the focus for new technology as figures from travel-search website Qunar revealed a spike in mobile usage, claimed to be six times that of the internet in the world’s most populous nations with over 200 million mobile users in China alone.
Half of all traffic to travel websites will originate from mobiles by the end of 2014, generating US$26 billion in bookings according to Charles Armstrong, Founder and CEO of TourWrist who underlined the need for interactive and personalised technology such as its 360-degree panoramic experiences replacing outdated virtual tours, which he claimed, could increase online bookings by 67%.
Facebook’s global head of travel, Lee McCabe, revealed that viewing vacation images through social media sites was the catalyst for future travel plans for 25% of its users with 11% booking their next trip to the place eyed in the image. Smart phone usage is now 25% for Facebook and Instagram, 10% more than calling or texting and nearly 10% of sales in the US this year is predicted to be via mobile technology.
14 Dec 2012
We just read the below article on Tnooz: The Year In Review – Travelers and Hoteliers Turn to Mobile Apps. We could not agree more.
From marketing to booking to offering concierge services, 2012 was all about mobile technology. Whether for smartphones or tablets, for guests or employees, apps ruled the hotel scene, and the trend shows no sign at all of slowing down. In fact, an estimated $4 billion will be spent on near field communication devices in the coming year alone, according to Tnooz.com.
Last week, Travelport, which provides business services to the travel industry, reported that 87 percent of those aged 35 and under, and 80 percent of those 36-45, owned or planned to purchase a smartphone in the next six months. This increased access to the internet anytime, anywhere, is changing the expectations, demands and behaviors of leisure travelers. Sixty percent of these travelers consider a smartphone to be their ‘personal travel assistant or companion’ enabling interaction to take place at any time. Both groups prefer to access pre-travel information via mobile technology, rather than through traditional devices. This indicates the importance of travel itineraries that can be integrated with other apps, and formats that are easily read on mobile devices.
Earlier this week, we reported that Expedia is seeing 20 percent of its sites’ transactions coming from mobile devices. Right now Expedia has more than 130 mobile websites and its mobile apps are available in more than 200 countries. (Notably, Expedia executives reported growth in same-day hotel booking. In March 2012, 16.6 percent of U.S. Expedia users booked their hotel room within 24 hours of departure, on a mobile device.)
In August, a Starwood survey of business travelers found that smartphones are the most popular device among overnight guests (74 percent), followed by tablets (65 percent), music players (43 percent) and laptops (32 percent). Chinese respondents were the only group to bump laptops out of the top four, in favor of cameras (30 percent).
According to UK industry website MeetPie.com, Wi-Fi will become less important with the surge in the 4G telecommunications network, and tablet sales will soar. Speaking at the 8th UK National Association Congress, Ian McAuliffe, director of content and publishing agency, Think Publishing, said: “11 percent of the UK population has a tablet, but it is expected that by this Christmas Day that figure will rise to 30 percent.” Interestingly, 100 percent of the 100 associations Think questioned in a recent survey said that they had online content and email newsletters, but only 19 percent had digital editions and mobile presence.
It would take all day to list all of the new and redesigned apps for hotel guests here—so many have made their debut that one can pick just about any major hotel chain or company and find a mobile app to fit it. Even independent properties are getting in on the action.
But what’s notable are the apps that the hotel employees themselves use to run their business. Hotel Service Pro and SalesPro let hoteliers keep track of all their maintenance and service orders, or of sales and account data, respectively.
Looking ahead, mobile payment systems seem poised to become increasingly common in many businesses, including hotels. It may well be that by the time 2014 rolls around, a smartphone with a good collection of apps (and plenty of memory, of course) may be a necessity for hotel guests and hoteliers alike.
Click here for an excellent article on mobile opportunities to grasp today.
From a targeted deal in the spa, to a beer in the bar or a mobile-optimised booking engine, the latest research from EyeforTravel shows that many in the travel industry are not yet taking full advantage of the opportunities in these increasingly mobile times.
There is a phenomenal growth in adoption of tablets and smart phones. For hotels, mobile presence today is becoming as critical as Internet presence.
- According to the Trip Advisor Travel Trends 2012 report, 44% of all travelers will be using their mobile phone as a travel resource in 2012.
- Deloitte Hospitality Trend 2015 ranks mobile adoption as one of its top 10 game changers in the industry.
- In 2011 some 475 million smart phones were sold and 17.7 billion Applications were downloaded.
The travelers are rapidly moving into this digital age and it is critical for hotels to engage guests / travelers on their mobile devices, and add value to their mobile experience!
But the biggest challenge is – How to do so? What are the ways to leverage this new exciting platform? The answer is an ‘App’ – a Tablet/Mobile based Guest Experience & Marketing App. The app would serve multiple purposes like Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Cross-Selling, Impulse Buying, Guest Loyalty, and above all it enhances Guest Experience. With effective implementation of such app, there is a definite increase in RevPAR.
Revolution in Guest and Hotel interaction
All guest services can now be presented in high quality multimedia formats with stunning images and videos. Whether it is the restaurants, spa, golf, in-room dining, concierge or travel services, presenting these services in rich multimedia formats will result in an increased exposure and usage.
Guest can access details of all offered services, place orders and requests directly from the mobile device.
Language is no longer a barrier for foreign guest to enjoy hotel services to the fullest.
All activities of the guests are logged. Hotel can track time taken to complete guest requests and monitor trends to make informed decisions based on factual data.
Live and up to date information to guests
All information presented to guests on the mobile device is controlled through a web based Content Management System. The hotel has complete control over all the content and can add, edit or remove anything at a click of a second. All changes are immediately reflected on all the devices.
Guests only see live and actual information. The hotel will never have to say “Sorry, that item (or service) is not available at this time”.
Any special events or offers can easily be added to the app. Once the event is over, the information can be removed with a single click.
Hotel presence in the Mobile World
Hotel can have its presence in mobile devices worldwide, across all the devices, like iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, etc.
With the Hotel app, hotels can market their property and amenities to a much greater audience in completely new and engaging ways.
Having hotels’ own branded app on Apple’s App Store or Google Play will significantly increase hotel’s brand value.
The Bottom Line: Increase RevPAR
Such app gives an amazing ROI, ranging from 10-25%, in terms of increasing room service bills, restaurant bills, direct marketing revenues, Internet revenues, cross-selling, etc.
Some of the great benefits that a Hotel receives, which will increase hotel’s RevPAR:
- Customer Satisfaction and Engagement
- Targeted Advertising
- Greater Brand Value
- Shopping – Merchandise, Local Bookings
- Increase Profitability by Cross-Selling
- Increase Employees / Operations Efficiency
- Reduce Operational / Manpower Costs
- Competitive Edge
Blynk Hotel is one of the solutions in the market for achieving the above :)
– Hiren Yadav, VP Marketing, Blynk.
Blynk Hotel already takes care of 6 out of the 11 points, with more coming soon!
– Sunny Goenka, Co-Founder.
03 Jul 2012
According to us, it’s exactly the same for the hospitality industry. Highlights from the video in the attached link:
1) By 2015, mobile will be the new dominant channel.
2) Smart phones and websites will dominate passenger interaction. Smart phones will dominate customer services.
3) Maximum growth in mobile as a distribution channel.
4) Personalization – major opportunity for direct channels.
5) By 2015, self service will come of age.