Seven trending hotel news stories that will impact your hotel Revenue Strategy.
1. U.S. market nears full digital penetration
More than 8 of 10 (84%) people in U.S. will go online regularly this year, and increasingly mobile is their preferred device, according to new research. In fact, people who go online exclusively via desktop or laptop computers are becoming scarce in the U.S.The Increasing Power of Mobile in Hotel Bookings, plus 7 trending #revenuestrategy stories Click To Tweet
There are 40.7 million consumers who use mobile only, up from 36.6 million last year, and the percentage is expected to continue to rise. Conversely, there will be just 17.9 million desktop/laptop-only Internet users in the U.S. this year, down from 20.3 million in 2016.
It’s hard to imagine any hotel marketer who already neither knows these numbers or intuitively understands that mobile marketing is the standard today and into the future.
2. Loyalty-club direct booking schemes are working
The share of hotel bookings by loyalty club members has reached an all-time high, with growth at all pricing levels, according to a new study. While the economy sector saw the largest increase from 2014-2016, upscale bookings continued to lead in proportion at more than 50% growth.
The research shows brand.com loyalty penetration increased by 8.5% in the upper-upscale chain scale from 2014 to 2016, followed by the midscale and upper-midscale chain scales at 7.6% and 7.4% respectively.
3. Travel ban creates uncertainties for revenue managers
U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting travel from seven African and Middle Eastern countries has had a chilling effect on travel from those regions to the U.S. And it could get worse, no matter the outcome of the judicial battle over the order.
Revenue managers in markets with lots of international travel will need to monitor bookings and cancellations and quickly develop alternative strategies if business falls.
4. Instant Booking is still a drag for TripAdvisor
Nearly a year and a half after roll out, TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking feature is still a drag on the company’s revenues. As the company admitted during an earnings release, TripAdvisor hasn’t yet been able to create enough consumer awareness that it is a one-stop shop for both planning and booking hotel rooms.
A big part of the problem, the company admits, is that competitors like Priceline Group, Expedia and Google spend a lot more on marketing their booking products. To stanch the bleeding, TripAdvisor plans to return to TV advertising this year, after taking 2016 off from that marketing platform.
5. Mobile app promotes rooms by the hour
As You Stay is a new mobile app designed to cash-in on one of the hotel industry’s newest niche markets: rooms that rent by the hour. Before you snicker, remember many travelers have ultra-short-term hotel needs: They’re between flights; they need a room for a few hours to work or make phone calls; etc.
Available on iOS and Android, the app works like HotelTonight: The user inserts destination, travel dates and time frame, and a choice of hotels become available. For revenue managers, the service creates a new venue for unused room supply. For GMs, however, the scheme creates some operational issues, e.g., housekeeping services.
6. Study points to shortening travel planning window
New research points to a shortening travel booking window. According to the study, leisure travelers on average visit 4.4 unique websites before booking. That’s down from 38 sites mentioned in an Expedia Media Solutions study released in 2015.
The authors also provide tips on how revenue managers can use these new insights:
- Be sure your site inspires travelers so they don’t feel the need to look elsewhere;
- Be visible in search so your site doesn’t get overlooked as consumers move toward decision-making;
- Since you might only have one chance to impress, be sure your site offers an experience that delivers what consumers want.
7. IHG boosts business from direct bookings
Thanks in large part to consumers’ use of mobile technology, InterContinental Hotels Group was able to increase its direct bookings by 5% in 2016. Overall during the year, the company recorded $4.3 billion in digital revenues, of which $1.6 billion came from mobile. Mobile transactions were up 50% for the year.
More booking data the company released as part of its earnings announcement:
- Bookings from the IHG app, which has been downloaded 2 million times, are up 50%.
- IHG Rewards, which offers cheaper direct rates, contributed 2% more to revenues and had a 16% increase in enrollments.
- The number of ‘engaged’ loyalty club members—defined as those who stay at an IHG property at least six times a year—increased by 7%.
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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Tags: as you stay, direct bookings, Donald Trump, Duetto, Expedia Media Solutions, hotel distribution, hotel pricing, Hotel Revenue Management, hotel revenue strategy, hotel sales and marketing, hotel technology, hotel yielding, IHG, IHG Rewards, Instant Booking, international travel, loyalty club, mobile apps, mobile bookings, RMS, travel ban, TripAdvisor