Seven trending hotel news stories that will impact your hotel Revenue Strategy.
1. Reports of billboard effect’s demise greatly exaggerated, Expedia exec says
Expedia Inc. senior vice president Melissa Maher took to the pages of Tnooz to make sense of some of the latest research about the billboard effect. Though previous reports had declared the billboard effect — or the downstream benefits to direct bookings from listing on online travel agencies — “dead,” a 2017 study by Chris Anderson of Cornell University found it to be “still alive and well.”
Though Maher conceded that the demand funnel is more complex in 2017 than it was eight years ago, she nonetheless contends that declaring the billboard effect dead because of that complexity “is to make some dubious assumptions.” She argues that the magnitude of the billboard effect is decreasing to some degree, but not to the levels suggested by other recent studies.
2. New platform seeks to “turn people into travel agents”
A new online-booking platform has emerged with $2.7 million in seed funding, but it’s neither an OTA like Expedia or a metasearch site like Trivago. Rather, TRVL is a peer-to-peer travel booking network that allows any user to make bookings for other people and earn a commission of up to 10%.
The Netherlands-based platform has said publicly it wants to “turn people into travel agents the way Airbnb is turning people into hosts.” Its founder, Jochem Wijnands, explains: “By open-sourcing travel and adding an earning model, we’re introducing a service level to online travel bookings that is missing today. Think of TRVL as TripAdvisor with an earning model.”
In fact, the site lists TripAdvisor, as well as Booking.com and Hotels.com, as partners.Billboard effect is alive, @Expedia exec says, plus 7 trending #revenuestrategy stories $EXPE Click To Tweet
3. AH&LA’s OTA fight important, but shouldn’t affect your Revenue Strategy
The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s campaign to paint the OTA duopoly as “monopolistic” is an important piece of lobbying, but hoteliers should not wait for any effects to their pricing and distribution strategies to appear. According to Duetto CEO Patrick Bosworth, the AH&LA is playing the long game on behalf of the industry, but hotels must focus on shoring up strategies in the immediate term.
“The story remains the same for hoteliers, from the major brands down to independents,” he writes. “The hotel is in control of the physical assets, the service it provides and, perhaps most importantly, the price of the room.”
4. STR predicts rebound for London hotels this summer
STR and Tourism Economics are projecting a strong summer for London hotels thanks to major events like sold-out Adele concerts and Wimbledon, which are expected to drive both occupancy and average daily rate.
The devalued pound has also been a boon to inbound international tourism to the UK, particularly from the Middle East. “We expect this strong performance to continue through the remainder of 2017,” an STR analyst said, “and we are projecting a 6% increase in demand for the year, which would be the market’s highest rate of growth since 2013.”
5. Hotels continue to leverage loyalty to drive direct bookings
Hoteliers repeatedly say acquisition costs via OTAs are climbing too fast, and they have turned to loyalty programs to wrestle bookings back to their direct channels. The challenge, however, is accounting for the costs needed to market loyalty rates — not to mention the discount given to club members — in the total cost to acquire a direct booking in order to compare them to OTA commissions on a like-for-like basis.
6. Airbnb web traffic surges past OTAs and hotels
According to SimilarWeb, Airbnb now commands the most website traffic of any brand in travel. In the first quarter of 2017, Airbnb’s total website visits increased 31% year-over-year to 106.9 million, more than the traffic for Booking.com, Hotels.com, Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide.
SimilarWeb also found that Airbnb users spent a daily average of 11 minutes, 31 seconds on the company’s mobile application. That was more time than users spent on Booking.com’s app, but less than the average time spent on Hotels.com’s app.
7. Wyndham, Caesars partner on loyalty
Wyndham Hotel Group and Caesars Entertainment have entered into a status-matching agreement to integrate their respective Wyndham Rewards and Total Rewards loyalty programs. The partnership is an expansion of a similar pact Caesars had with the Starwood Preferred Guest program, which ended in December 2016.
“The industry is moving away from the punch card model, and we realize people want to redeem for other things, like backstage access, exclusive dinners, etc.” said Michael Marino, chief experience officer for Caesars. “We want to give people more access to entertainment and different amenities as we move from being a gaming company to an entertainment company. That’s the direction everyone is going in.”
Caesars’ Total Rewards club also has partnerships with Norwegian Cruise Line and the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas.
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Tags: acquisition costs, AH&LA, Airbnb, billboard effect, Booking.com, Caesars Entertainment, Chris Anderson, cornell university, Duetto, EMEA, Europe, expedia, Hilton, hotel distribution, hotel loyalty, hotel marketing, Hotel Revenue Management, hotel revenue strategy, hotels.com, London, Marriott, Melissa Maher, metasearch, Online Travel Agency, OTA, Patrick Bosworth, peer to peer, sharing economy, STR, Tourism Economics, TripAdvisor, TRVL, Wyndham