Friday, April 29, 2016

Hospitality News Fro The Week Of 4/29/16

Consumer mega-trends impacting hospitality in 2016: Report

Sabre Hospitality Solutions, in a partnership with TrendWatching, has released the results of their global study of consumer travel trends called Consumer Mega-Trends Impacting Hospitality. The report analyzes emerging mega-trends which will shape the future of hotels. Key facets of the study include the supremacy of guest personalization to today’s traveler. Another takeaway is the importance of marketing messages being in context and relevant, rather than bombarding consumers with general offers constantly. Full Story Here:

 

US Hotel Occupancy Down 1.9 Percent To 68.4 Percent Week Ending April 23rd - 2016

Mixed results were reported by the U.S. hotel industry the week of 17-23 April 2016. Industrywide occupancy dropped by 1.9 percent to 68.4 percent, when compared to the same time period last year. Average daily rate however climbed up by 1.8 percent by week’s end to reach $122.47. Revenue per available room remained nearly flat at - 0.1 percent, ending the week at $83.76. Full Story Here:

 

Weakening Spring New Reservation Demand Produces Cloudy Outlook For Hoteliers 

Accordingto data from TravelClick’s April 2016 North American Hospitality Review, new reservation growth is weakening in the majority of North American hotel markets. Particularly in the business travel segment, transient bookings are down by -0.2 for the next year. However, committed occupancy is up in 18 of the top 25 markets across North America, when compared to last year. Full Story Here:

 

Hilton officials expect rebound after soft Q1

A number of global concerns have been impacting the hospitality the first quarter of 2016. The combination of dropping oil prices, concerns over China’s uncertain economy, and threats of terrorism highlighting security issues in Europe have held the worldwide hospitality industry down so far in 2016. Hilton Worldwide has released their 1st quarter earnings report, indicating mixed results, with occupancy down 0.3 percent. However Hilton expects a rebound for the remainder of the year. Full Story Here:

 

 


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hotel Cloud Computing - Part 1

While there is no doubt that cloud computing technology is beginning to gain traction with hotels, a large degree of resistance still exists in the hospitality industry. This may be due to a number of misunderstandings and cost concerns by hoteliers, combined with resistance to change within organizations. The truth of the matter is that the future of data management, for all business applications, is in the utilization of cloud computing. Most Important, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, with data stored in the cloud and accessed from anywhere via a mobile device is a strong competitive edge.

Benefits Of Hotel Cloud Computing   

1. Cost
Without servers needing constant maintenance and data backups, the costs of hosting hotel data in the cloud are greatly reduced. SaaS platform services are usually provided on an as needed basis, without costly equipment, resulting in lower initial investments and reduced costs over time. The client need only pay for the required amount of power and storage.

2. Accessibility
Users can access cloud software from anywhere, using any device with an internet connection, including mobile phone, tablet, or a laptop. This empowers owners or management, for example, to keep tabs on their properties from wherever they are. Also, cloud software is designed for the level of the end-user, without extensive training, eliminating the need for technical proficiency to access data.

When a hotel or chain signs up for cloud SaaS services there isn’t any deployment lag time, since the software is ready at the outset. Since data is stored remotely in the cloud, time consuming tasks such as manual backups and system updates no longer need to be carried out. The software is the responsibility SaaS provider, all updates and backups are included in the service.

3. Security
Data outsourced and stored with a SaaS provider in the cloud can be as safe or safer than it would be on a local, on-site server. Varying levels of access to information can be set up with and managed by the SaaS provider, who is always vigilant to protect vital data for clients. Data is safe from physical harm as well, with robust off-site redundancy.
In part two of this series we will look at specific applications of cloud based hotel data systems.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 4/22/16

More Than One-Third Of Americans Will Take A Family Vacation This Year
AAA recently released the results of their Family Travel Survey which indicates a busy upcoming summer travel season across America. Lower gas prices are encouraging more Americans to hit the road this year. 35 percent of Americans plan on taking their family on a driving vacation of more than 50 miles. 55 percent say the lower fuel costs will make it much more likely they will hit the road for a trip this coming summer. Gas is expected to be at its lowest price in 12 years. Full Story Here:

US corporate travel market continues its post-recession recovery.
According to Phocuswright’s U.S. Corporate Travel: Market Sizing and Trends report, US corporate travel will continue its moderate growth rate through 2017. 2016 has seen some uncertainty return to markets, however several positive factors will temper the uncertain future. U.S. unemployment has reached a eight year low and the strength of the U.S. dollar will make travel overseas more enticing. Full Story Here:

STR: US hotel results for week ending 16 April
The week, which ended on 16 April, indicated a mixture of performance results for the U.S. hotel industry. Between 10-16 April 2016, STR reported that compared to the same period a year ago, industry-wide occupancy dropped by 1.8 percent to 67.5 percent. Average daily rate climbed up 1.6 percent, reaching $123.22 by week’s end. And revenue per available room was relatively unchanged at -0.2 percent, ending at $83.16 for the week. Full Story Here:

Hotel managers shouldn’t overdo responses to online reviews: Cornell study
A Cornell University study indicates there is a saturation point for hotel responses to negative reviews and comments, beyond which returns diminish for hoteliers. The study called “Hotel Performance Impact of Socially Engaging with Consumers”, found that after reaching a 40 percent response rate, hotels don’t gain anything by further engagement with consumers. In fact, it was discovered that too many responses hurt rather than help and is worse than completely ignoring negativity. Full Story Here:


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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hotel Booking Abandonment Retargeting

Hoteliers strive everyday to encourage customers to stay and book directly with their hotel. And everyday, potential customers abandon the booking process somewhere along the way. A few may come back to complete their journey through the hotel booking funnel, but unfortunately many will not return. The variety of reasons for this reality has been well documented, along with methods to minimize booking abandonment. There are a number of strategies which can be implemented to bring them back into the booking process and see them through to successful completion.

Retargeting
This is what the process of re-engagement with users who left the hotel website is called. What ever their reasons may be for not completing the booking process, these are extremely good prospects who have clearly shown some degree of enthusiasm for the hotel. There is a very good probability that eventually, when they are ready, they will actually book a particular hotel, but it may not be via the hotel’s website. The eventual booking may take place through a different channel, costing the hotel fees and commissions in the process. Retargeting can effectively bring back home potential hotel guests which may otherwise have been lost for good. It can accomplish this in a number of ways.

1. Email
By capturing the email address in the early stages of the booking process, hoteliers can be sure to have a pathway back to lost prospects. One effective technique, is to offer a discounted rate if they return to complete the booking. Receiving a smaller percentage of room revenue is a much lesser sacrifice than the amount which would be given up in a reservation taken by an online travel agency. Another is to offer the prospective guest deals on hotel services or food & beverages, for example. Customizing retargeting messages to the individual and their preferences can help ensure success in this endeavor, as well.

2. Social Media
Reaching out to potential guests who have begun the booking process, or even just visited the hotel website, with retargeted ads on their social media network of choice can be extremely compelling. Most people spend their time on social media during their leisure time and may be more spontaneous and willing to commit in those moments. By using a relaxed and friendly tone in the ads, connection is more likely established and the website visitor successfully converted into a paying guest.

3. Website
Taking the social media retargeting a step further will entail having your brand follow the user to other websites they visit. While a popular technique, the risk of offending the individual user is always possible. With that in mind, it’s best to put limits on the frequency of those retargeted ads. However, the occasional reminder may be all that’s needed to encourage an already interested website visitor to book their hotel stay after all.


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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Perfecting the Perfect Pairing

At Above Property, we feel we have perfected the perfect pairing of products. Our Distributed Reservation System (DRS) (which replaces traditional central reservation systems) is one of our foundational modules that allows business rules to be executed with every transaction. This robust module can be easily be paired with our Inline Revenue Management (IRM) module, which allows real-time pricing and availability adjustment based on occupancy, seasonal trends, weather, booking pace and competitive data. The combined solution is far more powerful than each module separately.  Some other key features of our IRM module are the delivering of personalized responses by channel and our proprietary pricing engine.

Although we have an array of value add-on modules, if a hotelier were to choose just two of our travel modules, DRS and IRM are the most complementary modules within the Above Property Travel Platform. Both have extreme scale and speed, which allow business rules to be executed with every transaction. Operating in a fully distributed cloud environment, integrating with existing systems is a breeze. The DRS and IRM offer real-time analytics, metrics, and feedback from easy to understand and easy to use screens. Our full platform is fast, secure, and reliable.

Choose the Modules you need from the Above Property Travel Platform

  • Internet Booking Engine (IBE)
  • Property Management System (PMS)
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Call Center Management (CCM)                
  • Social Relationship Management (SRM)
  • Channel Management System (CHMS)

So, if your hotel wants to transform travel with us, maximize your revenue and use our revolutionary travel platform….contact us today!


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Friday, April 15, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 4/15/16

U.S. Online Hotel Room Rates Are Up 12.2% From A Year Ago This April
Across the top 25 most popular destinations in the U.S., hotel room rates are up. This is when compared to April of last year. Rates are, on average, $213.85 in April 2016. This represents a 12.2 percent increase from last April. According to e-forecasting.com, 65 percent of all hotel reservations are completed online, either with online travel agencies or directly on brand websites. Last month, March 2016, rates averaged $197.08 among the top U.S. destinations. Full Story Here:


Global uncertainty causing delays in business travel growth
The Global Business Travel Association has released the results of their GBTA BTI Outlook - United States 2016 Q1, which indicates a continued slowing in growth of business travel originating in the U.S. Over the same period last year, 2016 will see a 1.8 percent growth in U.S. business travel. This represents what the GBTA calls “anemic but steady growth”. Several signs point to improvement during 2017, including U.S. election year being in the past and potential departure from the EU of the United Kingdom. Full Story Here:


Global Hotel Ranking - Top 10: What Does the Future Hold After the Marriott-Starwood Merger
Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International have agreed to terms in their merger, which should become final after each complete their shareholder meetings respectively. Afterward, Marriott + Starwood will become the largest hotel company in the world, with 1,108,852 rooms worldwide. Previously, Hilton Worldwide was the largest in the world now second. Now third, IHG was the largest hotel company around the world in 2015. Full Story Here:


10 percent of global travel spends influenced by TripAdvisor
Oxford Economics released, on behalf of TripAdvisor, the Global Economic Contribution of TripAdvisor report. According to the report’s figures, TripAdvisor was responsible for the generation of 22 million tourism trips, 352 million tourism nights and $64 billion in incremental travel expenditures globally, in just a year’s time. The report measures the impact in over 100 countries of the far-reaching influence on travel by TripAdvisor on a global basis. Full Story Here:


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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Real-Time Data For Hotels

In the endless struggle for every direct booking dollar between Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and hoteliers, the OTA’s rely on Big Data to maintain their predominance. Big Data is the collection and analysis of consumer hotel search and buying information, used to determine macro-trends in the hospitality industry. Armed with this data, OTA’s have built upon their large-scale domination of the booking process for hotels. While OTA’s do provide hotels a valuable service by filling hotel rooms which might have gone unoccupied, their market dominance costs hoteliers significant fees and commissions. However, hotels have a powerful tool at their disposal with which they can gain the edge over OTAs in the form of Real-Time Data.

While the OTAs have access to a vast amount of data regarding the big picture, they are seriously lacking information about each, individual hotel customer. This is where the local hotel property excels, in the collection of data from its guests. This data may include their room preferences and upgrade requests, dining selections, and any special services; such as spa treatments the customer may have requested while on-property.

The data may be gathered through any direct contact between the hotel and the customer, by means of face to face conversation, phone conversations, or the hotel website. Customer information garnered on the hotel’s website will include valuable demographics and location data as well. The one-on-one interaction, outside the digital realm, between hotel staff and guests is the most powerful. The OTAs never have direct contact with their customers such as this. 

 

If properly utilized, this valuable Real-Time Data will empower hoteliers to more effectively tailor their marketing messages to each guest individually. Through content personalization and market segmentation hotels can better craft those messages to specific customers. Customers will in turn respond much more favorably to marketing content, which they find to be relevant to their lives. Real-Time Data, transformed into completely relevant hotel marketing messages, is a tool that can stem the tide for hotels against exorbitant OTA commissions funneling off vital hotel revenues.


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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hotel Metasearch - Part 2

The world of online hotel distribution has become increasingly complex and interwoven, especially since the advent of Google’s disruptive expansion of its direct booking offers. Metasearch websites now offer direct hotel booking, as online travel agencies simultaneously list competitive results beyond the scope of their commission-based listings. As convoluted as this may all seem, the resulting competition for the hotel booking dollar presents hoteliers with an opportunity for increased revenues.

Hotel Metasearch Best Practices

A mistake many hotels make is to treat Metasearch as if it was another distribution channel. In reality it is another channel in which to market the hotel. Hotels should rather treat Meta-sites as an advertising tool, continually updating their listings with fresh, new marketing messages. These websites should receive concerted attention, rather than set it up and forget about it, in the manner of many hotels.

Additionally, Metasearch is a tool in which the exorbitant fees charged by online travel agencies may be limited. Metasearch sites draw data from many sources in real time, including the hotel’s own website. By offering demand-based pricing in real time, as well by utilizing cloud-based revenue management software, hotels can effectively leverage Metasearch to minimize the impact of OTAs.

Another aspect of Metasearch websites, which often gets overlooked by hoteliers, is the reputation management, exposure, and trust building through positive reviews taking place on them. These all can lead to purchases, made by customers directly via the Meta-site’s booking buttons. Since the Metasearch website does not truly have any inventory to offer, it should lead directly to the hotel’s own website. And the future guest completes their booking at a lower cost to the hotel compared to the current OTA commission model.

For this very reason, among others, hoteliers should always ask for and encourage their guests to review, rate, and give feedback about their hotel stays. But that is not enough. Swift follow-up, directly addressing the concerns and issues brought up by customers must be practiced at all times. Communicating how the hotel addressed their negative comments is essential as well. This all provides a vital service to the traveling public, in ultimately determining where they will book their hotel accommodations.


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Friday, April 8, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 4/8/16

2016 and Beyond - Official Forecast
The hospitality management and consulting firm, R.A. Rauch & Associates, has published their industry forecast for the coming year and beyond. Average daily rate is predicted to grow by 4.5 percent. The forecast states occupancy should remain flat in 2016 and revenue per available room should rise at the rate of 5 percent, according to the firm. Economic factors driving the current trends include, the election year, low inflation and interest rates, with low unemployment as well. Full Story Here:

Keynote Speakers for HITEC 2016 Announced
The Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) has announced the keynote speakers for the upcoming Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC). The conference is taking place June 20-23 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA. The speakers include Jer Thorpe, co-founder of the Office for Creative Research; Josh Linker, author, founder and former CEO of ePrize; and Johnny Earl, founder of Johnny Cupcakes. Full Story Here:

Hilton HHonors And Marriott Rewards Rank Highest In A Tie In Overall Customer Satisfaction With Hotel Loyalty/Rewards Programs
J.D. Power recently published their 2016 Hotel Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report. Measuring customer satisfaction with hotel chain loyalty/reward programs, the rankings came out with a tie at the top. Both Hilton and Marriott rewards came out on top in customer satisfaction, in the report. Rounding out the top five were IHG Rewards, La Quinta Returns, and Best Western Rewards. The report compiled the survey results from over 3,096 hotel customers across the United States who have joined a loyalty program. Full Story Here:

STR: US hotel results for week ending 2 April
According to data from STR, the U.S. hotel industry notched positive figures the week of 27 March until 2 April 2016, when compared to the same time period last year. In 2015 this time frame was Easter week. This year when compared to last year, occupancy climbed by 6.6 percent to reach 66.9 percent by the end of the week. Average daily rate rose by 5.0%, up to $121.96 by week’s end. And revenue per available room was up by 11.9 percent, attaining $81.61 to finish the week. Full Story Here: 


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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hotel Metasearch - Part 1

The online channels for hotel booking have become increasingly tangled and complex. Travel metasearch engines such as TripAdvisor, Trivago and Google have positioned themselves to capitalize on travel bookings, as opposed to merely providing information. They have done so by adding their own booking buttons directly on their sites, placing them in direct competition with online travel agencies. The Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) on the other hand have begun to show competitive results listings of hotels outside of their commission-based offerings, garnering referral fees in the process.

 

Complicating matters further, Google is now turning online hotel search on its head by offering enhanced search results and expanding their direct commission listings. This comes backed by the search giant’s massive data base. All of these developments may seem like a negative for hotels, but this is not necessarily

the case. Particularly in regards to competition for direct bookings, these evolutions may prove to be beneficial to hoteliers in their efforts to garner higher margins.

Benefits For Hotels From Metasearch

 

If approached carefully, metasearch can expose hotel properties to entirely new audiences without losing currently loyal OTA customers. It should never be seen as a end-all alternative to listing with OTAs, but rather another tool in gathering customers and directing them through the booking funnel. Ultimately, metasearch is more about marketing than distribution; in contrast to Online Travel Agencies.

 

The OTAs have become a necessary part of the hotel booking equation, providing hoteliers vast distribution possibilities. However, this comes at a significant expense in terms of fees charged the hotel for delivering guests to the front desk. Metasearch search engines contrastingly charge their travel industry customers around a less costly pay-per-click sales model.

 

Metasearch websites generally offer a more cost efficient method for bringing in new guests. But the possibility is always present that, through compelling marketing and consistent messaging, that the customer will be drawn away to book on the hotel’s own website. This outcome is clearly most beneficial to hoteliers, avoiding fees and commissions altogether. This scenario is much more likely on a metasearch site, than an OTA website.


Metasearch engines give hoteliers a platform for reaching their audience directly as well. This comes in the form of encouragement by hotels to their guests to write reviews and ratings, and then in-turn the hotel’s responses to their feedback and questions. This also provides a service to future potential guests who may read these reviews and make a booking decision based upon them.


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Monday, April 4, 2016

Content Management For Hotels

The increasing importance of the channel distribution, both direct and indirect, highlights the crucial value a content management system provides hoteliers. Beyond the hotel’s website, a content management system allows hotels to control the distribution of their content across a wide spectrum of channels including global distribution systems and online travel agencies.

 

A content management system (CMS) empowers users, with little-to-no technical skill set, to easily create and manage the entire hotel’s descriptive and visual content. This includes key hotel property information, property images, and video content. Prior to the advent of a hotelier controlled CMS, multiple systems had to be leveraged to ensure descriptive content and rich media were properly distributed.  For the international oriented properties, multilingual capability is a necessity and CMSs can facilitate the storing of translated descriptive content.

 

Managing content in one central location provides significant benefit to hotel properties.  CMSs allow a consistent message by channel that saves valuable time for busy hotel staff with many other responsibilities. Simplicity and ease of use are the hallmark features of any hotel content management system.

 

Content Management System

CMS

 

Your content never had it so good

 

The Above Property Content Management module enables both descriptive and visual content to be managed directly and seamlessly with both GDS and OTA distribution channels. Control your content at the channel level to maximize your marketing message and revenue generation. Operating in a fully distributed cloud environment, the Above Property Content Management module can integrate with existing systems as well as take advantage of the full suite of complementary modules within the Above Property Travel Platform.

 

CMS KEY FEATURES

  • Control content distribution by channel

  • Regional and local content capable

  • Full distribution of rich media

  • Real-time updates to all connected channels

  • Works with existing systems

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Hospitality News For The Week Of 4/1/16

New Report Reveals Airbnb Revenue In Los Angeles Driven By ‘Illegal Hotels’

Building evidence of a disturbing trend, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) released the Phase ll results of their ongoing study series of Airbnb practices, this time in the Los Angeles area. According to the survey, the majority (84 percent) of Airbnb operators offer properties for rent more than 30 days per year. 22 percent offer properties over half the year. Most troubling, is the 4.36 percent of operators who list properties more than 360 days a year, for $80 million in revenue annually, accounting for 30 percent of Airbnb’s Los Angeles area revenue. The AH&LA states these are, what amounts to, unregulated and illegal hotels. Full Story Here:

 

 

What Are The Most Searched Cities for Hotels by State?

The last-minute hotel booking service website, HotelTonight, released the results of their study of the most searched for cities in America by state. Not surprisingly, New York City and Chicago led the results. The two destinations combined to claim 12 of the 50 states nationwide. The large cities of Florida were also popular for last-minute hotel bookers, with Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando leading respectively. Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, and Dallas were also well represented in multiple states.. Full Story Here:

 

STR: US hotel results for week ending 26 March

According to figures from STR, the U.S. hotel industry showed mostly negative results the week of 20-26 March 2016, in year to year comparisons. Industry wide occupancy was down by 5.6 percent to 65.5 percent for the week. Average daily rate climbed 1.3 percent to end the week at $123.57. However, revenue per available room dropped by 4.4 percent to end at $80.96. Full Story Here:

 

 

Fairmont Hotel Study Proves Cultural Immersion, Emotional Connection And Place Identity Define “the New Luxury” In Travel

Fairmont Hotel & Resorts released the initial results of their analysis of the state of luxury travel called, Luxury Insights Report: Stewardship of Iconic and Historic Buildings. The first part in a series, the report reveals the connection between luxury travel and emotional connection through place identity. Luxury travelers today are seeking more than great service in world class destinations, but are following their hearts as well. Full Story Here:


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