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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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June 1, 2015

6 Spectacular Mobile Hotel Marketing and Distribution Posts: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

June 1, 2015 | By | No Comments

Spectacular mobile hotel marketingNo big setup this week, Big Thinkers. Just a brief round-up of 6 spectacular mobile hotel marketing and distribution posts for your reading pleasure. Enjoy:

  1. Mobile Commerce Daily talks about how Yelp is getting deeper into the local business game with a new shopping feature. Yelp offers an interesting alternative to Google in local search, so bears watching.
  2. A recent post here on the blog asked “Are Hotel Brands Doomed?” Given the rise of OTA’s, metasearch, Google, and others, you really want to keep an eye on this topic.
  3. Tech in Asia reports Expedia gives up on its China partner, sells off $671M majority stake in eLong. This has got to be a short-term move — I’d be stunned if Expedia pulled out of China altogether — but time will tell.
  4. Sticking with the intermediary space, we also recently asked “What’s Amazon’s Travel Offering Really About?” here on the blog.
  5. Skift says the hotel smartphone app will control room service and everything else.
  6. Finally — though it should come as no surprise to any long-time readers ’round here — Tnooz has data showing desktop travel bookings tipped for rapid drop and mobile becoming a booking mainstay. No doubt.

Want more to get you through the rest of this weekend and the week ahead? Be sure to check out these “5 Quick But Cool Travel Marketing Posts,” another set of “5 Amazing Mobile Hotel Marketing Stories,” and these “8 Exceptional Hospitality Marketing Posts from the Past Week: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest,” from our hospitality marketing link digests (part of the ongoing E-commerce Link Digest series).

And if you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2015: Three Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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May 29, 2015

8 Amazing E-Commerce Posts Winning this Week: E-commerce Link Digest

May 29, 2015 | By | No Comments

8 amazing e-commerce posts winning the weekHappy Friday, Big Thinkers. I hope you have a change to get out this weekend and do something fun. And, while you’re prepping for next week, be sure to check out these 8 amazing e-commerce posts winning this week. Enjoy:

  1. Mobile Commerce Daily reports that Yelp is expanding its local business reach by adding shopping features. Search and commerce come even closer together.
  2. Speaking of the local search and commerce connection, Pittsburgh Business Times offers your first look at Uber’s test car. Local commerce, cars, and mobile go hand-in-had these days, so I’m curious to see what Uber’s long-term plans are here.
  3. Along those same lines, GetElastic looks at what Google’s entrance to m-commerce means for merchants and we ask “Google’s Mobile Buy Button: Should You Buy In?” Both are well worth your time.
  4. Inside Intercom explains why ‘mobile first’ may already be outdated. It’s a thought-provoking read; I’m just not 100% sure I agree. I explain why in this week’s episode of Thinks Out Loud, “Mobile-First?” Or “Mobile-Only?”
  5. Marketing Charts collects a list of B2C and B2B marketers’ most important social platforms. Great stuff.
  6. Marketing Charts also shows the top industries by share of digital and mobile ad spend in 2015. Good info to get a leg up on your competition.
  7. Fortune says that Nordstrom is taking a page out of Amazon’s book and offers some insights on how you can too.
  8. And, finally, a recent post here on Thinks examined the coming massive mobile disruption and what it means for your business. Check it out when you get a chance.

Also, a quick note for those of you interested in driving your B2B business to even greater heights: I’m moderating a panel with Mike Moran on “B2B Content Marketing for Your Sales Force” in a couple of weeks that you’ll definitely want to attend. You can register here.

And, if you like what you’ve seen here, why not check out other entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series, including these “9 Mind-Blowing Mobile and Social Commerce Posts,” these 10 Damn-Good Digital Marketing Posts: E-commerce Link Digest , another 10 spectacular mobile marketing and e-commerce essays, and this set of 6 major stories about Millennials and mobile commerce.

Do you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing? Be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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May 28, 2015

Google’s Android Pay (Maybe) Addresses its Mobile Wallet Problem

May 28, 2015 | By | No Comments

Android Pay: Google's answer to its mobile wallet problem?

It’s finally happened. In the least surprising announcement from Google’s I/O keynote earlier today, Big G introduced Android Pay, a new mobile wallet platform that, according to The Verge, “…will take the place of Google Wallet on your phone.”

And, in possibly the lamest prediction I’ve ever made, I’d pointed out how obvious and necessary this move is earlier this year:

“Of course, as I’ve said many times, [mobile payments aren’t] just about Apple. Google, if they’re serious about mobile as a platform, have to get into the mobile payments game in a big way (I mean more than just their current, somewhat hobbled Google Wallet offering).”

And now they have.

Google’s introduction of their “mobile buy button” a few weeks ago shows that the search giant is starting to get serious about improving the mobile payments game, a critically important component for improving conversion rate and purchasing activity on mobile devices. However, it will take some convincing to show customers will adopt the service. Here’s the Verge describing how the new wallet works:

“Android Pay will power in-app and tap-to-pay purchases on mobile devices. Google Wallet will stick around, but it will power Play Store purchases outside Android, say on the web, and facilitate peer-to-peer payments you can make through the app and on services like Gmail. Confused? Let the new branding wash over you, and stop worrying so much.”

Ugh. The Verge sums up Google’s past (unfortunate) efforts here perfectly:

“The history of Google’s work on mobile payments has always embodied this frustrating mix of promising ambition and confusingly fraught execution.”

I’m unconvinced, but let’s hope they get it right this time.

Ultimately, I don’t care whose mobile wallet wins. Mostly.[1] You shouldn’t either. But you definitely want to see customers start using mobile wallets and using their phones to make purchases.

There’s a long way to go here, but it ought to be fascinating to watch. If you’re interested in past coverage of mobile wallets, and their importance to mobile commerce overall, make sure you check out these posts:

Do you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing? Be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Note — Why Care Whose Digital Wallet Wins? You could argue that Google already holds too much data about customers, and, as the primary seller of advertising on the Web, represents the biggest threat to your business. As noted previously, “When someone else completely controls the road to your customers, it shouldn’t surprise you when they decide to install tollbooths.” That said, lots of customers aren’t buying on mobile today because it’s just too hard. Anything that improves the experience — at least for now — has more upsides than downsides. Plus, I’m not sure that Apple, Amazon, PayPal or any other credible competitor is any less risky. So, yes, let’s be sure we keep an eye on the potential toll collectors. But let’s get customers buying too. [Return to main post body]

Tim Peter

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May 27, 2015

Mobile First? Or Mobile Only? – Thinks Out Loud Episode 124

May 27, 2015 | By | No Comments

Mobile first? Or mobile only?

Mobile First? Or Mobile Only? – Headlines and Show Notes

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 29s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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May 26, 2015

Are Hotel Brands Doomed?

May 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

Are hotel brands doomed? We take a long look and see.

As my good friend Robert Cole rightly points out, too many hotel brands haven’t done enough to differentiate their product from that of their competition likely leading to Starwood “exploring strategic options” (i.e., putting themselves up for sale).

I’ll go Robert one further, though: By failing to differentiate, too many brands have set themselves up for long-term disruption and, potentially (though far less likely), outright failure. Starwood’s “strategic options” probably reflects the first domino to fall in a coming wave of consolidation due to the lack of differentiation, rapidly changing market conditions, and, in some cases, poor strategic decisions.

More importantly, every hotel owner/operator and marketer — branded or independent — will face these same challenges in the next few years if they don’t plan ahead. [Note: I’ve got some skin in the game on this one. Please see my disclosures below if you’re curious what those are.]

Let’s look at why.

Hotel Companies’ Changing Business Models

Traditionally, most major hotel companies offered one (or more) of three different services to the market: real estate development; hotel management; or brand franchising. But over the last decade, many of the companies that used to own their hotels and associated real estate switched to an “asset light” model, divesting themselves of their owned properties, and focusing more on licensing their brand names and providing their management services to outside real estate developers.

Generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with an “asset light” strategy. Companies such as Apple famously don’t manufacture any of their products, which has worked out pretty well for them. And research suggests that asset-light companies often generate far better returns than their integrated competitors (particularly in the hotel industry). However, asset-light businesses must offer superior management and/or an amazing brand to remain relevant in the market.

The hotel companies that have managed to keep their brands differentiated and/or run a really tight ship still do well — and may continue to do well in the future. The others? Well, that’s where things start to get ugly.

Hotel Ratings and Reviews Brand Hotels… Whether We Want Them To or Not

The first big hurdle comes from the huge value guests now place on ratings and reviews. Back when major hotel companies starting moving to asset-light businesses, they didn’t have to worry about TripAdvisor. But according to a recent New York University/TrustYou study, 95% of travelers read travel reviews prior to booking, with leisure travelers reading an average of 6 to 7 reviews prior to booking and business travelers reading five.

This shift in guest behavior highlights why managing your hotel’s ratings and reviews remains the single most effective way to improve your brand’s marketing. But it’s also creating opportunities for branded competitors, boutique hotels, and third-parties in your market to capture more guests and a greater share of your business. You can even tie the rise of Airbnb directly to the emergence of reviews as a valued option for travelers; few guests would ever choose to stay at another person’s home or apartment if they didn’t know in advance what to expect when they arrived.

Quite simply, your brand is only as good as your last review.

The Rise of Soft Brands

Because guests are now more likely to value each property on an individual basis (as opposed to assigning quality/value based on the attributes its brand represents) in real terms, most “brands” (i.e., hotel companies) now represent nothing more than a distribution/marketing/loyalty platform… and most hotel owners can simply buy distribution, marketing, and loyalty platforms at the lowest market price as new development opportunities arise or as their franchise agreements come up for renewal.

The shift away from owning the underlying asset exposes the legacy brands not only to competition from platform providers such as Sabre, TravelClick, Sceptre, and Pegs; traditional soft brands like LHW, Preferred, and SLH; but also upstarts as diverse as Magnuson, Airbnb, and Priceline’s new — and I expect, still-growing — bundle of services under BookingSuite.

Many property developers have figured out is that they don’t need to carry a traditional flag in order to appeal to today’s travelers. As long as they have an effective website, someone to anser the phone, and connectivity to the GDS’s and OTA’s, they’re in business.

One place where the traditional brands continue to excel, however, is with their loyalty programs — and, in particular, their rewards programs. According to Starwood CEO Adam Aron in a HotelNewsNow article about its new Tribute soft-brand, “…it seems to us Starwood would do very well if we took a four star collection opportunity to hotel owners and developers. So far, the reaction has been great.” Of course it has. SPG is a great rewards program, now available to many differentiated four-star hotels. And Starwood’s Tribute is just the latest. It joins Marriott’s Autograph, Hilton’s Curio Collection, Choice’s Ascend, and Best Western’s BW Premier Collection in the market mix.

Those that stumble with these offerings, though, will suffer meaningful, material losses if they can’t execute against the upstarts and their better-funded rivals.

What About Independent Hotels?

Now, if you’re an independent hotel, you might think this is good news. After all, anything that’s bad for the big brands must be good for you, right? I’m afraid not. Before I explain why, I want you to know that I’m incredibly bullish on independent hotels. Done right, they’re likely the big winners in the longer-term (and the rise of new entrants in the soft-brand space suggests I’m not the only one who thinks that). Independents make up a big chunk of my company’s travel practice, so I’m putting my money where my mouth is on this one, too.

That said, let’s examine the challenges.

First, the big brands have much deeper pockets and still have to work very hard to compete with the Expedia’s, Priceline’s, and Airbnb’s of the world. You (usually) don’t have such deep pockets. You also usually don’t have the people and the data that larger brands do to rapidly assess and adapt to changing market conditions.

Second, you don’t have the awareness that many brands have built up over the years — and the associated expectations and goodwill that often accompanies it. Not only must you appear on the right shelves for guests to find you and have great reviews to have them consider you, you’ve got to overcome any uncertainty potential guests have about some place they’ve never even heard of. Yes, you might be a better option than the three-star branded property down the street; but at least guests know what to expect if they choose to stay there instead.

Finally, you remain as prone to disruption by new entrants such as Airbnb, soft-branded competitors, and aggressive OTA’s as the chain properties. So, that’s nice.

Happily, you also benefit from the same response we’ll take a look at in a minute.

Are Hotel Brands Doomed?

Brands are not doomed. In fact, quite the contrary. I would never suggest a flagged hotel drop its brand outright nor would I suggest an independent seek shelter in a soft brand, at least not without careful consideration. A strong, well-defined, and well-differentiated brand represents the single most effective way to win in the travel marketplace. That brand may be licensed from a large hotel company. Or it might just be a well-managed property run by a small, dedicated team of outstanding hospitality professionals whose guests have learned its value. My clients the Wentworth Mansion, John Rutledge House Inn, and The Hotel at Kirkwood Center provide examples of the latter, while plenty of solid case studies exist of the former.

The simple fact is that this disruption is far from new. Years ago, we used to call this “getting Amazon’d,” where the e-commerce giant would come in and simply bury existing retailers by turning their offering into a commodity. The OTA’s almost did the same a few years back, by highlighting rate more than the value each individual hotel provided. Guests quickly figured out that not all hotels are the same and demanded more information about the hotels, leading the OTA’s to pay more attention to merchandising of individual properties (along with still trying to show the lowest rate, of course).

Almost 20 years ago, I watched a speaker tell a roomful of travel agents that they’d all be out of business within a decade. Fast forward to the present day and, while it’s true that many travel agencies didn’t make it, those that have survived provide a highly responsive, hugely valuable service for their clients. They’ve thrived by shifting from being all things to all people and instead meeting client needs, demonstrating their value to those travelers who need what only a travel agent can do.

The key revolves around avoiding “commoditization.” Your hotel is special. Truly. Either because of location, or amenities, or brand, or service or a combination of all of the above, you can offer your guests an experience no one else can.

Look outside the industry. We all know that cell phones are largely a commodity, right? Yet, what Apple has shown is that you can create a strong brand — and, more importantly, charge a premium price — even in heavily commoditized markets. And perhaps no greater example of this exists in history than Morton’s Salt. Most customers probably couldn’t tell the difference between various brands of good ol’ NaCl but still appear willing to pay more for the brand they’ve known their whole lives. And if cell phones and salt can differentiate themselves, surely your hotel can.

The big questions remain: Which of the large brands will fail this critical step and hurt both their business and that of their affiliated hotels? Which independents will miss out on their opportunity to capture more business from their competitors — both branded and independent alike? And, how ready are you to step up and create a clearly differentiated guest experience to separate your hotel from the pack?

Conclusion

Clearly, there’s a lot to think about in the weeks, months, and years ahead (and, I suspect, a lot more to say on this topic). We’ve only just begun to see the long-term implications that logically follow from this emerging reality. But the fact remains that any hotel that offers nothing more than a box of rooms to its guests risks a future of not having very many guests and/or competing solely on price. In the immortal words of Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” So don’t do that. 😉

Additionally, as they say, the devil’s in the details. What’s right for one hotel may not be right for yours. If you’re interested in talking more about how to make it work in your specific case, why not give me a call? And, in any case, stay tuned for a lot more on this topic. If we’ve learned anything in the last few years about the shifting marketplace for travel, it’s that we’re far from done here.


If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2015: Three Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Disclosure: I worked for Wyndham Hotel Group/Cendant Hotel Group and the Leading Hotels of the World for a number of years. I continue to hold shares of Wyndham Worldwide. Clients include a number of independent hotels beyond those listed, as well as several management companies.

Tim Peter

By

May 24, 2015

5 Quick But Cool Travel Marketing Posts: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

May 24, 2015 | By | No Comments

Quick but cool travel marketing postsHope you’re enjoying a glorious Memorial Day weekend here in the States, Big Thinkers or just a fabulous weekend altogether no matter where you are. Here are 5 quick but cool travel marketing posts to get you ready for the week ahead. Enjoy:

  1. First up, Mobile Marketer reports on how Marriott is using mobile messaging to transform visiting a hotel.
  2. Hotel News Now looks into a recent study that shows ADR, not occupancy, drives RevPAR.
  3. Mobile Commerce Daily says that mobile ticketing increased 55% following Superstorm Sandy.
  4. Tnooz says that Europe declares war on scary Google and explains what that means for your business, too.
  5. And, finally, we recapped these 5 awesome travel marketing articles, the top posts from April for you.

Want more to get you through the rest of this weekend and the week ahead? Be sure to check out these “5 Amazing Mobile Hotel Marketing Stories,” a great set of “8 Exceptional Hospitality Marketing Posts from the Past Week: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest,” a terrific round-up of “7 Remarkable Posts about Mobile Marketing in Travel” and these “7 Brilliant Insights into Mobile Travel E-commerce” from our hospitality marketing link digests (part of the ongoing E-commerce Link Digest series).

And if you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2015: Three Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

May 22, 2015

9 Mind-Blowing Mobile and Social Commerce Posts: E-commerce Link Digest

May 22, 2015 | By | No Comments

Mind-blowing mobile and social commerce newsIt’s been a busy travel week Big Thinkers — Boston, Chicago, Cedar Rapids, hello! — which led to the light posting schedule the past few days. But don’t worry. Travel Tuesday and Thinks Out Loud will both return next week (though there won’t be a post on Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday here in the US). But I’m pretty sure this amazing list of 9 mind-blowing mobile and social commerce posts will hold you over for the next few days. Enjoy:

  1. Before this past week’s leg of the Thinks 2015 World Tour got in the way, we posted this look at Google’s mobile buy button and asked “Should you buy in?” Great read. Well worth your time.
  2. Speaking of mobile, Benedict Evans says The future is mobile and apps, except that it isn’t and examines apps versus the web. Absolute must-reads. Seriously. Don’t miss ’em.
  3. The Retail TouchPoints Blog adds to the conversation, noting mobile email conversions reach a tipping point.
  4. And, we’ll round out the mobile portion of this week’s program by highlighting the coming massive mobile disruption and what it means to your business.
  5. Shifting to social, Retail Dive unveils this fascinating study that says browsing Pinterest leads to purchase. Very interesting. Or should I say… Pinteresting? Actually, no. I really shouldn’t. Lame jokes aside, check out the article anyway.
  6. Contently reports that BuzzFeed just cracked the code on how social content spreads, and it’s a big deal. Say what you will about Buzzfeed, but Contently’s exactly right. Whether you you love ’em or hate ’em, they’ve certainly figured out how to get their readers to share their content. And that’s a lesson every marketer could stand to learn more about.
  7. The fine folks at Econsultancy have a great post that asks, “How reliable are social analytics?” Good stuff.
  8. To help answer the “reliable social analytics” question, check out this fantastic webinar from the equally fine folks at Biznology about choosing metrics that drive content marketing ROI. Really outstanding stuff.
  9. And, finally, with this week’s proof that, really, it’s all e-commerce, Reuters reports that Wal-Mart is challenging Amazon with an unlimited, $50 per year shipping service and significant e-commerce investment of its own. Given that Walmart is the the #4 online retailer, despite digital representing only 2.5% of its sales, this bears watching. Stay tuned.

Hope you enjoyed these 9 mind-blowing mobile and social commerce posts, Big Thinkers and that you have an amazing weekend, too. While you’re at it, make sure to check out other entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series, including these 10 Damn-Good Digital Marketing Posts: E-commerce Link Digest , another 10 spectacular mobile marketing and e-commerce essays, this set of 6 major stories about Millennials and mobile commerce, and these 10 must-read e-commerce, search, and mobile posts, as well as these “9 Amazing Millennial, Mobile and Digital Marketing Columns: the Top Posts from March” when you get a moment, too.

Do you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing? Be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

By

May 18, 2015

Google’s Mobile Buy Button: Should You Buy In?

May 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

Google's mobile buy button: Is it a good idea for your business?Well, this is something: Google’s adding a “Buy button” to its search results. According to The Wall Street Journal” [paywall]:

“The search giant will start showing the buttons when people search for products on mobile devices, according to people familiar with the launch.”

Note where Google’s offering that button: On mobile searches, not on desktop. Why? Because desktop e-commerce more or less works… and mobile really doesn’t. As the Journal points out, “…it can be a bigger hassle to navigate a retailer’s page, and enter credit-card and shipping information, on small smartphone screens with error-prone keyboards.” These challenges really underscore why mobile payments represent such a huge game-changer for mobile commerce — and why Google’s efforts here represent such a huge deal. For example, the article says,

“…Google will let shoppers input payment credentials such as credit-card numbers one time, and the company will store those and automatically load them for future purchases on its shopping pages. Google won’t send those payment details to the retailers, one of the people said.”

Now, apparently, Google will accept a “wide range” of payment options, “…including digital payment methods from other providers.” I’m curious to see how long that lasts.

Of course, the fact that Google needs to monetize its mobile traffic more effectively undoubtedly also plays a role. And, to be fair, Google is sticking with a cost-per-click (CPC) model, not a cost-per-action (CPA). As Search Engine Land notes,

“[i]n a departure from Amazon and Ebay, participating Google Shopping advertisers will not have to forego a percentage of the transaction. Instead Google will continue to charge per ad click…”

Essentially, this will work similarly to Google’s Hotel Price Ads offering that travel marketers have dealt with for the last few years. Most hotel marketers would tell you that they’ve found the program generally successful, though worry about Google’s market power (they’re also dealing with slightly different market conditions, usually using both their own website and myriad other distribution channels such as Priceline, Expedia, etc. as opposed to manufacturers using only third-party distribution channels or retailers who may compete directly against Amazon or eBay, but not use those platforms to drive sales).

Regardless, this highlights a few key trends:

  1. User experience matters. Google clearly sees opportunity here to improve user experience and conversion rates (which, let’s face it, tend to move hand-in-hand) on mobile and improve overall mobile revenues for both their partners and themselves.
  2. Mobile’s a really big deal. Google isn’t offering this on desktop at all despite the fact that desktop was where they started with Hotel Price Ads, strongly suggesting that mobile’s really where all the action is right now.
  3. Reaching customers will continue to get more complicated. Jeff Bezos once said, “Your margin is my opportunity.” Google recognizes there’s margin here to play with and is going after it. There’s no way this is the last move in the game. Instead, Google’s potentially introducing another toll booth on the road to purchase — and time will tell when they start collecting.

Do I think you should do this? It depends. But it’s probably worth testing once they make it more widely available. Just keep paying attention to your actual cost of sale and don’t be afraid to shop for better options. Just, once you find them, I hope they give you a “Buy” button, too.

If you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

By

May 18, 2015

5 Amazing Mobile Hotel Marketing Stories: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

May 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

5 Amazing Mobile Hotel Marketing StoriesYo, Big Thinkers! Hope you’ve had a fantastic weekend and are looking forward to an excellent week ahead. To help you get started, check out these 5 amazing mobile hotel marketing stories. Enjoy:

  1. First up, Mobile Commerce Daily shares data from Hotels.com that shows 50% of mobile travelers book last-minute stays. What I’d love to see is where they book these stays. As we’ve noted before, mobile’s not a device, it’s a situation. I’m very curious exactly what situation Hotels.com supports here. You should be too.
  2. Next, Skift reports on mobile first and the “silent traveler” in 2015. Great read.
  3. Adding to this week’s list, Inc.com explores mobile technology and future of travel in detail. Cool stuff.
  4. We’ve rounded up 5 awesome travel marketing articles, the top posts from April for you to enjoy.
  5. And, finally, Tnooz explains what data from ad views says about the digital behavior of travelers. Very useful.

Of course, if you want to gain even more learnings from our past posts, you’ll probably enjoy these “5 Powerful Posts About the Trends Shaping Travel Marketing,” this great round-up of “8 Exceptional Hospitality Marketing Posts from the Past Week: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest,” this fantastic collection of “7 Remarkable Posts about Mobile Marketing in Travel” and these “7 Brilliant Insights into Mobile Travel E-commerce” from our hospitality marketing link digests (part of the ongoing E-commerce Link Digest series).

And if you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2015: Three Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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May 15, 2015

10 Damn-Good Digital Marketing Posts: E-commerce Link Digest

May 15, 2015 | By | No Comments

Couple enjoying 10 damn-good digital marketing posts on their mobile phoneCrazy week around here, Big Thinkers. The good kind of crazy, that is, filled with loads of learning and quality time with clients. Hope you’ve had a great week, too. In keeping with the theme of the week, here’s a somewhat crazy collection of 10 damn-good digital marketing posts to see you through to next week. Enjoy:

  1. Leading off our list, this week’s episode of Thinks Out Loud asks, “Mobile Helps Software Eat the World. Will it Eat Your Business?” Be sure to check it out when you have a moment.
  2. Linda Bustos at GetElastic details some excellent omnichannel strategies for brands and online pureplays that are well worth your time.
  3. Marketing Charts has some terrific data showing that consumer perception of retailers’ data security impacts loyalty and W-O-M. Fascinating information.
  4. Another GetElastic post explains why the Apple Watch skeptics are wrong. Given the amount of press the Apple Watch specifically — and wearables generally — receive at the moment, you’ll want to check this out.
  5. While we’re on the topic of tech and its relationship to your business, take a listen to Episode 122 of our Thinks Out Loud podcast, which explores the long-term growth curve for mobile commerce. You’ll also probably enjoy this Mobile Commerce Daily article that says the iPhone is the biggest driver by far of in-store mobile payments.
  6. Switching to the social side of the spectrum, Social Quant offers up 8 Twitter lists you should be using, a fantastic resource for getting the most out Twitter for your business.
  7. And, in related news, Variety offers this amazing survey that shows YouTube stars are more popular than mainstream celebs among U.S. teens. This underscores the ways in which younger Millennials — and Millennials overall — consume entertainment and information. And that will help shape how you connect with this new generation of consumers as they come into the market in a more meaningful way over the next couple of years.
  8. Shifting gears to search, Search Engine Land provides an excellent look at how to replace Google’s “(Not Provided)” data to strike SEO gold. Great read.
  9. Email marketing remains a critical component of any successful digital marketing strategy, so this round-up of the latest data about email subject lines from Marketing Land offers outstanding information to improve your campaigns. You might also want to review these 7 key tips for more effective email marketing and the rest of our email marketing coverage here.
  10. Finally, don’t miss this round-up of 7 mobile commerce must-reads, the top posts from April that we posted last week.

While you’re at it, make sure to check out other entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series, including these 10 spectacular mobile marketing and e-commerce essays, this set of 6 major stories about Millennials and mobile commerce, and these 10 must-read e-commerce, search, and mobile posts, as well as these “9 Amazing Millennial, Mobile and Digital Marketing Columns: the Top Posts from March” when you get a moment, too.

Do you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing? Be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides I had the pleasure of speaking to a great audience recently about how to lead digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including: