Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Hotel Booking Trends 2018 - Part 3



Digital Assistance

Travelers are becoming increasingly comfortable with using digital voice assistance in booking their travel, according to research from Google and Phocuswright published in 2017. Google’s own statistics state that more than 70 percent of the requests made of Google Assistant were generated through natural language. Furthermore, one third of travelers globally have expressed interest in the use of digital assistants in researching and booking flights, hotels and activities for their upcoming travel.  

Still an emerging trend, digital assistance or voice-assisted search has begun to gain traction in the travel space due to the growing presence of the technology in everyday life. Voice-assisted technology is now in the homes, cars, and even on the wrist or in the pockets of consumers worldwide. As the technology becomes more refined going forward, the adoption rate by the traveling public should skyrocket.

Social Media As A Search Engine

While social media is not new by any means, its relationship to the hospitality industry has evolved and is a current trend. Many hoteliers have struggled with investing substantially in social media, since there is a perceived lack of return. The problem with such thinking is the fact that travelers are present on social media networks; many on multiple platforms and like to share their travel experiences. In addition, when travelers are planning a trip they search social media not only for inspiration, but to see what others have to say regarding any potential hotel booking they may be considering.

In reality, hoteliers cannot afford to ignore social media because their guests are already there and talking about hotel properties among other travel-related subjects. To ensure the conversations are positive, hotels need to do what they do best in providing guests with a remarkable experience. It is vital for hotels to be present in those conversations, become aware of what is being said regarding the property, and respond appropriately when needed. Upon checking out, every guest should be encouraged to review their stay at their earliest convenience. A positive social media “buzz” about any hotel will naturally result in further bookings and increased revenue. A return on investment, which is not easily quantified.

Last Minute Booking

The advent of mobile booking has led to another trend on the rise and is having a tremendous impact on hospitality. Last minute booking of hotels has exploded in the last few years with very few, only 19 percent according to Phocuswright, made in advance of more than a week. The vast majority of trips are booked in the same week, or either the same day or two days before. The greater flexibility offered by mobile technology has translated into a tendency toward spontaneity on the part of consumers. This trend provides further support for hoteliers to provide travelers with a greater degree of personalization in order to be more responsive to their needs in a timely fashion.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Hospitality News For The Week Of 8/17/18





STR: US hotel forecast lifted for 2018 and 2019

STR and Tourism Economics have revised their U.S. hotel industry forecast for the remainder of 2018 and through 2019. The new projections now expect the record-breaking industry performance to continue through next year. The upward revision is the result of stronger than expected economic conditions including GDP growth, low unemployment levels and rising wages. For the total year 2018, occupancy is expected to increase 0.6 percent to 66.3 percent, average daily rate to increase by 2.6 percent to $129.85 and revenue per available room to go up by 3.2 percent to $86.09. Full Story Here:

U.S. Travel’s ‘Made in America’ Report Highlights Value, Importance of Promoting Tourism

The importance of tourism to the U.S. economy is detailed in a report released by the U.S. Travel Association recently. The report called “Made in America: Travel’s Essential Contribution to Economic Development” stresses continued investment in promotional efforts by jurisdictions in their own area as a travel destination. The report states for example, $165 billion annually is generated in tax revenue by tourism and without it, every U.S. household would need to pay $1,300 more in taxes each year. Full Story Here:


Hotel Data Conference day one recap

The 10th Annual Hotel Data Conference was held in Nashville, TN this week; hosted by STR and Hotel News Now. Hospitality experts gathered to analyze the performance trends for the U.S. hotel industry. According to data points discussed at the conference, there have been 100 consecutive months of growth in revenue per available room from March 2010 through June 2018 and June occupancy was at its highest rate on a 12-month moving average basis at 66.2 percent. Full Story Here:


US Hotel Occupancy Up 2.0 Percent To 75.2 Percent - Week Ending August 11th - 2018

According to data from STR, the U.S. hotel industry posted positive performance figures for the week of 5-11 August 2018. In year-over-year comparison, industry-wide occupancy was +2.0 percent higher at 57.2 percent for the week. Average daily rate went up by +3.0 percent to reach $132.02 at the end of the week. Revenue per available room ended the week up by +5.1 percent at $99.22. Full Story Here:




Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Hotel Booking Trends 2018 - Part 2



Platforms

Smartphone usage, according to data from Statista, surpassed 2.3 billion people worldwide in 2017. That amounts to approximately one third of the population globally. The impact of mobile technology upon the hospitality industry and its various booking processes is staggering and can only grow further in its ubiquity. Research from Google and Phocuswright indicates people around the world are becoming increasingly comfortable with researching, planning and booking their entire trip on mobile devices.

As the comfort level grows, the number of travelers booking their trips entirely via mobile will become more extensive. However, according to a number of sources, currently there appears to be a significant disparity between the percentage of hotel website traffic and hotel website revenue generation by mobile devices. The Statista research indicates desktop traffic on hotel websites amounts to 45.7 percent, with the rest via either mobile or tablet. Desktops account for fully 78.5 percent of the online revenue generated on hotel websites.

These and other published research figures indicate hoteliers should consider mobile to be how many of their guests research and plan their travel currently, but most will complete their booking on their desktop computers. Mobile will eventually overtake desktop computers in this regard. In some countries mobile leads by far already, like China for example. Chinese travelers prefer to complete their travel arrangements entirely on their smartphones. Hotels must make their websites at least mobile-friendly, if not completely optimized for the platform.

Facilitated Bookings

A newly emerging trend in 2017, metasearch sites began offering facilitated bookings for hotels seeking to drive revenue through direct bookings. The trend appears to be growing into an essential piece of the hotel booking landscape. The metasearch sites provide hotels that are willing to pay for the advertising, with a branded booking platform and a seamless online purchase experience for consumers. Hotels, which are experiencing a low conversion rate on their own websites, stand to benefit most from facilitated booking, particularly those without sites optimized for mobile devices.

What hotels gain in direct bookings through facilitated bookings on metasearch sites comes at an indirect price, beyond the advertising cost. Since the booking is actually made on the metasearch site, the customer may miss the hotel’s own website entirely. This situation results in lower website traffic than is generated in traditional metasearch ad campaigns. On a positive note, metasearch facilitated bookings offer hoteliers a more cost efficient alternative to online travel agencies and their oftentimes excessive fee structures.

In part three of this series we will see how a few more booking trends are having an impact upon the hospitality industry.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Hotel Booking Trends 2018 - Part 1



As we progress through the second half of 2018, a number of hotel booking trends have proven themselves to be of significance. These trends truly seem to have staying power and will be impactful upon the hospitality industry and how its guests book their hotel stays going forward.

Personalization

The trend towards personalizing the customer experience uniquely for each guest continues to dominate hotel booking developments. Personalization has become extremely crucial to the hospitality industry, even to the point of defining future success for hotels. The expectation is building among travelers for their searches to yield results based on their individual preferences and past behaviors. Recent research from Google and Phocuswright strongly supports this assertion.

This expectation carries over into the guest’s arrival on hotel property as well. The hotel guest experience has become paramount at all stages of their journey, from when the customer begins to explore travel possibilities to after their hotel stay and beyond. The highly personal nature of the hospitality industry presents hotels with numerous challenges as hoteliers seek to strike a balance between the extreme efficiency provided by automation and the human element so much a part of hospitality since its inception.

Direct Bookings

The hospitality industry has been walking a fine line in recent years. Caught between appreciation for the reduction in excess inventory and wide exposure brought on by online travel agencies, as well as the increasingly hefty commissions charged hotels for listing their properties. What was once seen as mutually beneficial is now largely viewed by hoteliers as hurtful to profits as OTA market share continues to increase.

Hotels continue to seek increased direct bookings via their brand websites by offering incentives to travelers such as packaged deals and a variety of perks. Preferred rates are offered only to select groups, for example, members of the hotel’s loyalty programs, in accordance with parity agreements with online travel agencies. Research has shown that a majority of travelers seeking accommodations on third-party sites will at least take a look at a hotel’s own website in order to gain more information about the hotel.

Hoteliers should maximize the billboard benefit of being listed with an OTA by giving those potential guests a reason to stay on the website or call and book directly with the hotel. The website should be visually appealing and user-friendly. This is vital because the criticisms often made of hotel websites by users is the difficulty navigating them through to completing a reservation, compared to the third-party sites.

In part two we will look at a few more booking trends impacting hotels in the second half of 2018.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Hospitality News For The Week Of 8/10/18



SURVEY: Many See Travel as Best Outlet for Expressing Curiosity

A recent survey was conducted by the Curio Collection by Hilton seeking responses to the question of what motivates the luxury traveler. The survey results indicate shifting priorities from comfort and pampering in the past towards new inspirations for travel. According to the study, 73 percent of luxury travelers report travel to be their favorite manner to express their sense of curiosity. Luxury travelers are now largely motivated by a desire for experiencing the organic and local feelings of the places they visit. Full Story Here:


Travelers in These Three States Take the Most Vacation Days

A new study was recently published which examined the vacation behaviors in all 50 U.S. states. The study, called Under-Vacationed America: A State-by-State Look at Time Off and Travel, surveyed 4,349 American workers over 18 years of age who work over 35 hours per week. Virginia took the top spot for vacation days taken while traveling at 12.2 days. The nationwide average was only eight days. The study also uncovered a connection between traveling while on vacation, as opposed to staying close to home, and overall happiness. The worst state for people being unhappy, South Dakota, has the lowest state ranking for numbers of days spent traveling while on vacation, at only 4.3 days. Full Story Here:


The 2018 Hospitality Technology Study: Are hoteliers and vendors on the same page?

A recent study of the hospitality industry and its technology vendors was conducted by Fuel Travel, Flip.to and StayNTouch. The study results were published in an interesting infographic by Hotel News Now. A few takeaways include 55.2 percent of hoteliers are not satisfied with their PMS provider. 46.5 percent of hoteliers find their CRS unsatisfactory. And 45.4 percent are not satisfied with their revenue management technology. Full Story Here:


Positive Performance For US Hotel Industry For Week Ending August 4th - 2018

According to data from STR, the U.S. hotel industry reported positive performance results for the week of 29 July through 4 August 2018 when compared to the same week last year. Industry-wide occupancy went up by +1.0 percent to 75.3 percent for the week. Average daily rate rose by +3.1 percent to reach $132.88 by the end of the week. Revenue per available room climbed +4.1 higher to end the week at $100.07. Full Story Here: