Seven trending hotel news stories that will impact your hotel Revenue Strategy.
1. Travel ban chaos might be hurting tourism to U.S.
According to new research, international travel bookings to the U.S. have slumped since President Donald Trump announced a travel ban from seven African and Middle Eastern countries. Research firm ForwardKeys says bookings from the seven countries were down 80% in the week following the announcement.
Bookings from other countries to the U.S. were also down 6.5% during the eight days following the announcement. Travel from the Middle East was down 37.5% and from Asia Pacific down 14%. Other declines ranged from 2.9% from southern Europe to 13.6% from western Europe.
By contrast, bookings from U.S. travelers to international destinations were up 4.8% during the period.
2. Americans will vacation more often this year
While there is concern over a possible decline in international travel to the U.S., Americans seem to be ready to vacation more often this year, according to AAA. The group’s recent research shows in 2017 35% of Americans plan to take a family vacation 50 miles or more from home with two or more immediate family members.
While that percentage is about on par with 2016, family travelers seem prepared to vacation more often than in the past. According to the research, 28% of families plan to take three or more vacations this year, up a whopping 13 percentage points over 2016. That’s a lot of hotel rooms.Travel ban! Plus 7 #hotelnews stories that will impact your #RevenueStrategy Click To Tweet
3. Chains intend to make 2017 the year of loyalty
Loyalty in the hotel business has morphed beyond a simple points-for-free-rooms scenario, at least for most brand companies. This roundup of chain executives’ loyalty strategies in 2017 shows a desire by most of them to get closer to their guests.
Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta said the goal is to “drive more direct relationships with our customer.” The company plans to continue to develop loyalty programs and initiatives that appeal to both frequent and infrequent travelers. At Best Western, the loyalty mission is customization and instant gratification. For Choice Hotels, the key to building direct bookings is also delivering instant recognition and rewards to guests.
Other CEOs interviewed for the story had similar viewpoints. What’s clear, as Scott Berman from PwC said, is that hotel companies need to be creative and decisive to stay ahead in the loyalty race.
4. OTAs continue to dominate travel distribution
No real news here, just confirmation of what we all know: Online travel agencies are dominating the world of hotel distribution. According to new research with an interesting viewpoint, OTAs are winning more bookings than travel suppliers, and by a noticeable margin.
In the U.S., OTAs are responsible for 42% of web-based travel bookings, against 39% for airlines and just 19% for hotel brands. What’s interesting is that OTAs sell both airlines and hotel rooms, so it’s unclear if that 42% represents one industry or both.
5. Expedia studies ways to ease booking stress
Expedia research shows 75% of people consider booking travel online to be stressful, and a third are confused by the volume of online offerings. As a result, the OTA is researching ways to understand the emotions of people as they navigate travel websites and to alleviate their stresses over the process.
Working in a laboratory in London, researchers hired by Expedia wired up volunteers and measured their stress levels during booking. So far, the work has helped the OTA make several changes users might feel to be helpful.
6. Voice res call volume is dropping but also changing
It’s logical that the number of voice calls to hotel reservations centers and to properties is falling, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story, says the author. In fact, while call volume is declining, the kind of calls still being made represents revenue opportunities for hotel operators.
With widespread use of the Internet, consumers seldom call hotels for basic information or to reconfirm their web-based reservation. And while these callers might be close to booking, they might require some assurances before deciding on the property. The author says agents manning these phone lines need to be fully versed on the attributes of the hotel(s) and be able to communicate the information that can lead to a booking—and hopefully one that is made directly and not through an online travel agency.
7. New Marriott mobile app focuses on personalization
Like all major hotel brand companies, Marriott International understands the importance of mobile in the hotel distribution process. The chain introduced a new mobile app that it says provides a personalized experience for users while easing the navigation and booking processes.
The company says the app provides Marriott Rewards users with customized content based on “what services members are most likely to need in that moment of their travel journey.
Stay up on hotel Revenue Strategy news and discuss industry tech trends in the Hotel Revenue Strategy Leaders Group on LinkedIn.
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Latest posts by Ed Watkins, Contributing Editor (see all)
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Tags: AAA, CEO Chris Nassetta, Donald Trump, Duetto, expedia, family vacations, ForwardKeys, Hilton, hotel distribution, hotel pricing, Hotel Revenue Management, hotel revenue strategy, hotel sales and marketing, hotel technology, hotel yielding, immigration ban, international travel, Marriott International, OTA, Pricewaterhouse Cooper, RMS, Scott Berman, travel ban, U.S. vacations, voice reservations