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March 6, 2018

9 Airbnb, AI, and Additional Insights into Travel Marketing Trends This Week: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

March 6, 2018 | By | No Comments

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9 Airbnb, AI, and Additional Insights into Travel Marketing Trends This Week: Traveler booking on his mobile phone

Hey, Big Thinkers! Welcome to another edition of the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest. We’ve got an amazing round-up of 9 Airbnb, AI, and additional insights into travel marketing trends this week for you in this edition. Enjoy:

  1. Skift has a great article about Airbnb Plus in their look at Airbnb Plus and everything CEO Brian Chesky announced the other day.
  2. Derek Thompson at The Atlantic also offers up a thought-provoking article that explores Airbnb and the unintended consequences of disruption that’s really worth reading. Thompson’s piece goes deeper than just a look at Airbnb and instead questions, well, everything related to startup culture and how businesses often disrupt in ways we may never be able to foresee.
  3. Mario Gavira wrote a great piece over on Linked about Airbnb vs. Booking.com: who will win the online accomodation battle the next decade? and, though I can’t believe he misspelled “accommodation,” it’s still a very worthwhile read. (Just kidding, Mario. Great stuff!)
  4. Of course, we’ve put together our share of Airbnb coverage over the years, including this post that asks, ”What Business is Airbnb In? Hotels? Or Hospitality?” and its follow up that look at ”Why Airbnb Keeps Winning at Hospitality.” Both are well-worth your time as you seek to market your hotel more effectively.
  5. Shifting gears a bit, Marisa Garcia wrote a great breakdown of how the rise of “bleisure” among Millennials is shaping travel technology for Tnooz. While we’re no fans of the term “bleisure,” it’s clearly a trend worth watching as we go forward – and as Millennials begin to play a larger role in travel sales overall.
  6. Speaking of “trends worth watching,” you won’t want to miss these 10 tremendous insights into the trends driving hotel digital marketing in 2018 from the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series.
  7. Another great post, this one from Hotel Online, also looked at marketing trends in hospitality, from technology to niches that’s worth your time.
  8. Ever since our founder and president Tim Peter was named among HSMAI’s 2017 Top 25 Extraordinary Minds, he’s been making the rounds. First there was this amazing Q&A about what hoteliers must know about digital marketing from Hotel News Now. And he followed it up with a great guest editorial for Hotel Executive that explained why it's not mobile first, it's guest first. All good stuff that you won’t want to miss.
  9. And let’s round-out our look at Airbnb, AI, and additional insights into travel marketing trends with a collection of 8 amazing posts that explore how AI will affect the travel industry and these 9 posts featuring chatbots, AI and all the hospitality digital marketing trends of 2018 for you.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing customer behavior will shape your marketing going forward, 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 check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

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February 18, 2018

8 Extraordinary Insights into Hospitality Marketing and Distribution: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

February 18, 2018 | By | No Comments

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8 Extraordinary Insights into Hospitality Marketing and Distribution: Image of couple checking into hotel¡Hola, Big Thinkers! No setup this week. Instead, we’re going to jump straight to this amazing list of 8 extraordinary insights into hospitality marketing and distribution. Enjoy:

  1. Phocuswire has a great look at Google, Airbnb and the evolving distribution landscape that you’ll definitely want to check out. I’d also recommend you review our past posts that explored why Airbnb keeps winning at hospitality and asked whether Airbnb is in the hospitality industry.
  2. While we’re on the topic of Airbnb, don’t miss this article from Deanna Ting at Skift that explains Airbnb’s upcoming launch of a new tier of select properties. Clearly, the company is getting involved more deeply into the overall travel marketing landscape, a topic we’ll talk about more in the next couple weeks here on Thinks.
  3. Shifting gears a bit, Hotel Online has an outstanding piece from  Dr. Meng-Mei Maggie Chen that breaks downmarketing trends in hospitality: from technology to niches and this look at 10 tremendous insights into the trends driving hotel digital marketing in 2018 from the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series. Lots of good stuff there, not to be missed.
  4. Speaking of technological changes affecting hospitality marketing, you’ll definitely want to read Tim Peter’s guest editorial at Hotel Executive that explains why, when it comes to technology, it’s not mobile first, it’s guest first. That editorial also represents an excellent companion piece to Hotel News Now’s Q&A with Tim all about what hoteliers must know about digital marketing. Really good read.
  5. AI clearly represents one of the biggest tech trends affecting hospitality marketing in 2018. No, seriously. Don’t miss this look at why AI will change hospitality marketing forever or this recent episode of the Thinks Out Loud podcast that asks, and answers, will this be the year of AI in digital marketing?
  6. Since we’re discussing AI, you might find these 9 posts featuring chatbots, AI and all the hospitality digital marketing trends of 2018 interesting.
  7. If all these changes scare you, we’d advise you to understand why that’s part of the new reality and that you can deal with it: digital makes marketing easier for everyone, which makes marketing harder for everyone. You might also appreciate this quick and dirty guide on how to keep up with technology as a marketer.
  8. Finally, let’s round-out this week’s look at 8 extraordinary insights into hospitality marketing and distribution with some personal news. You may have heard by now, but we’re thrilled to report that our founder and president Tim Peter has been named among HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds for 2017 and will receive the honor at this year’s Adrian Awards in just a few days. There’s still time to attend the ceremony if you’re interested. But look forward to a full report in the coming weeks.

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 seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

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 hotel, including:

Tim Peter

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January 30, 2018

9 Posts Featuring Chatbots, AI and all the Hospitality Digital Marketing Trends of 2018: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

January 30, 2018 | By | No Comments

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Chatbots, AI and all the hospitality digital marketing trends: Man using tablet in hotel lobby

Howdy, Big Thinkers! Hope you’re having an amazing week so far. Let’s make it even better with a look at 9 posts featuring chatbots, AI and all the hospitality digital marketing trends of 2018 for you. Enjoy:

  1. Tnooz has a wonderful piece that shares 11 thoughts on the future of technology in travel and hospitality from CES 2018. Given how much consumer tech shapes what our guests expect, you can’t afford to miss this one.
  2. The fine folks at Fuel Travel (hi, guys!) had an amazing podcast episode that outlined the hotel industry's New Year wish list for 2018. Be sure to give it a listen.
  3. Clare Hutchison of Triptease has a great article that looks at what's in store for hotels in 2018 that you’ll want to check out.
  4. Continuing the theme of 2018 hospitality digital marketing trends, Hotel News Now put together a fantastic Q&A with our own Tim Peter all about what hoteliers must know about digital marketing in 2018. Great stuff that’s well worth your time.
  5. And on a highly-related note, Hotel Management listed its view of the top 6 hotel tech trends for 2018. Their views on AI, voice, and blockchain seem very much in line with our’s here at Tim Peter & Associates, so give them a look when you get a moment.
  6. Speaking of AI, you’ll absolutely want to review Tim Peter’s thoughts on why AI will change hospitality marketing forever.
  7. Curious what AI, voice, and chatbots look like in action? Hotel Marketing highlighted a TTG Asia post that saysBooking.com’s service and support chatbot will become more sophisticated. No doubt. The question is how are you preparing to compete?
  8. Along those lines, Skift suggests (rightly, I might add) that brands must rethink engagement with the new digitally connected traveler . Or, put more simply by Tim in a guest editorial for Hotel Executive, it's not “mobile first” – it's “guest first.”
  9. Finally, let’s round out our list of 9 posts featuring chatbots, AI and all the hospitality digital marketing trends with a complementary set of 10 tremendous insights into the trends driving hotel digital marketing in 2018 and these 8 amazing posts that explore how AI will affect the travel industry from the the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series.

If you’re looking for even more hospitality marketing goodness, you might also want to take a moment to review the slides from Tim’s recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

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 hotel, including:

Tim Peter

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January 9, 2018

Why AI Will Change Hospitality Marketing Forever

January 9, 2018 | By | 2 Comments

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Why AI Will Change Hospitality Marketing Forever: Representative image of AI

Bill Gates once wrote, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” And when it comes to new technologies, many folks ignore both sides of Gates’ statement, only to end up looking silly later. Having said that, let me be clear: artificial intelligence — AI — is going to radically reshape hospitality marketing and our industry at large. Forever. And the companies that use AI effectively are closer to two years away from success than ten.

But to understand why AI will change hospitality marketing forever, we need a bit of context in more detail.

For many of us, our first exposure to AI in the real-world came when IBM’s Watson won “Jeopardy.” That was all the way back in 2011 and the Watson-powered travel startup WayBlazer followed in 2014. That puts us at least three to six years along Bill Gates’ 2 to 10-year curve. And, as with most technology, things speed up the longer they’ve been around. AI isn’t the future. It’s happening all around you right now.

For example, an insurance-industry startup called Lemonade just used AI to set a record for customer service, resolving and paying a claim mere seconds after their customer submitted that claim for consideration. According to Airnguru, Singapore Airlines is already applying AI to its marketing and customer service campaigns to improve profitability and performance. And like Singapore Air, Priceline and Expedia have both announced they’re testing AI-driven solutions to improve their customer service offerings too.

None of this is science fiction. I’m not talking about the “Star Trek” computer or the ship’s android, Data, answering every possible question and solving every possible problem. Those types of AI are called “artificial general intelligence” (AGI), and are probably quite a long ways away, if they’re even possible at all. I’m talking about AI used to solve very specific problems, called “narrow” or “weak” AI. Narrow AI is real. It exists today. In addition to Lemonade and Singapore Airlines, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa represent real-world examples of narrow AI in practice.

More importantly, narrow AI represents to businesses today what the Internet represented in the late 1990’s: A green field of opportunity to reinvent how business works and how you’ll interact with customers in the coming years. As I see it, there are at least four categories where AI will impact your property in the next few years that you must watch:

  1. Search. Google has begun to use AI to determine the highest-quality pages within its search results and will increasingly depend on AI when choosing “the best page” to answer customer questions, especially on voice-driven searches where the search giant can only offer one or two responses.
  2. Analytics and measurement. Data is what makes artificial intelligence, um, intelligent. Machines can’t learn without a healthy diet of data to help them understand how to answer the questions their users pose. But AI’s natural affinity for data also makes it a powerful tool to interpret that information. As I once heard Ed St.Onge from Flip.to remark, “AI makes big data little.” Sophisticated technology players are using AI to comb through massive amounts of data and gain understanding about customers and their journeys that once simply would have been impossible to discover.
  3. Guest experience/personalization. Of course, that measurement then enables better, more personalized experiences to customers. That’s what WayBlazer is working to do, using AI to simplify complicated itineraries for guests. Priceline and Expedia have each announced they’re looking to use AI to improve customer experience. And since better customer experience usually drives greater revenues, that’s something we all should care about.
  4. Pricing. Finally, pricing information represents a very particular form of data that must account for seasonality, competitive pressures, macroeconomic effects, and guest preferences, among others. Today, ill-fitting algorithms may leave money on the table or sacrifice lifetime customer value in favor of a short-term perceived “win.” Over time, AI will enable smarter algorithms that account for all the variables – as well as those we don’t even recognize as factors today – and will present improved pricing alternatives to increase property revenues in both the short and longer-term.

Of course, most hoteliers aren’t going to run right out and start building their very own version of HAL. Instead, here’s what you can do to put AI to work for your property in the near-term:

  • Ensure you’re continuing to develop quality content for your property. One of the most common places you’ll encounter AI over the next few years is within search results on Google and others. As mentioned previously, Google is slowly introducing AI into its algorithm to determine the best answers in search. Over time, its AI won’t have to rely on links and keywords to determine the right answer to searchers’ questions; it will simply know. And, in this case, “the right answer” means a page with high-quality, highly-relevant content that answers guest questions effectively. Imagine asking Siri or Alexa where you should stay tonight, knowing it can only provide a single answer. Does your content help present you in the best possible light? Or does it leave your customers wanting more? If people can’t agree on the best possible answer, no machine ever will. Help make that machine’s job easier by providing all the information necessary to answer guest questions. Even better, this will help with how you perform in search today while also setting you up for the future.
  • Ask your vendors about their plans for using AI. Airbnb, Expedia, Priceline and others are already looking at how to use AI to improve customer experience and drive more business. Your vendors need to help you compete with those experiences and deliver on guest needs. While your vendors don’t need to have fully-baked solutions today, they must prepare for the future. If AI isn’t on their radar at all they’re creating problems for their business down the road – and for yours.
  • Stay on the lookout for potential threats from new entrants. Most hotel companies failed to recognize how new players would leverage the Internet fifteen years ago to attract, convert, and retain guests, an oversight whose effects we continue to feel today. AI represents a similar situation. While it’s far too soon to predict who will emerge as the dominant players – in the Internet era, Travelocity and Yahoo predated Expedia and Google for instance – it’s not too soon to keep an eye for who’s shaping the dialogue and direction AI will take. Pay attention to how AI continues to evolve to protect your property’s position in the longer-term.

Again, it’s easy to overestimate how much change we’ll see in the next two years here. But it’s far more dangerous for your business to underestimate changes over the next ten. AI isn’t science-fiction or fantasy. It’s reality. Companies have started to use AI to connect with customers and create memorable experiences. And, ultimately, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do as hoteliers? The machines won’t win. But the people who use those machines most effectively will. And that’s a prediction that’s always been true.

If you’re looking for even more hospitality marketing goodness, you might also want to take a moment to review the slides from Tim’s recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

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 hotel, including:

Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Hotel News Now, where Tim Peter writes a regular column for the magazine’s Digital Tech Impact Report.

Tim Peter

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January 7, 2018

8 Amazing Posts That Explore How AI Will Affect the Travel Industry: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

January 7, 2018 | By | No Comments

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How AI will affect the travel industry: Woman in self-driving car

Hey, Big Thinkers! So, with all the buzz around artificial intelligence in sales and marketing, you’re probably wondering AI will affect the travel industry this year — and beyond. To help you get your arms around the topic, we’ve put together this great list of 8 amazing posts that explore how AI will affect the travel industry for you. Enjoy:

  1. The Washington Post makes its Hospitality Marketing Link Digest debut with a list of travel industry trends in 2018 that you’ll want to know about.
  2. One of the biggest trends we’ll see this year is AI. And the fine folks at Koddi takes a good look at how AI is changing the travel industry. Don’t miss it.
  3. Datafloq also looks explores artificial intelligence in travel and has a great look at how AI will affect the travel industry that’s worth your time.
  4. Worried about how these changes will affect your team — or your job? A recent Skift post argues that the modern concierge is too skilled to be made redundant by technology. Maybe. But as our own Tim Peter talked about on our Thinks Out Loud podcast recently, AI won’t steal your job: smart people who put AI to work will. Make sure to give the whole episode a listen.
  5. Case in point, Tnooz reports that Air Canada is working to improve customer relationships via artificial intelligence. Expect a lot more of this to come.
  6. And if you’re worried that it’s too early — or too late — to get on-board, first, just remember that AI makes big data little and that we could all use more help there. Second, whether it’s AI, or whatever the next big thing may be, you really don’t want to wait to use emerging tech to market your hotel.
  7. Similarly, putting AI to work for your property is both critical for your long-term success and isn’t as hard as you might thing. As Tim points out in a recent Hotel News Now column, with preparation and foresight, the machines won’t win.
  8. Finally, it isn’t just AI that’s affecting the travel industry. That’s why you owe it to yourself to check out these 7 must-see posts highlighting how to market your hotel in the future. You’ll be glad you did.

If you’re looking for even more hospitality marketing goodness, you might also want to take a moment to review the slides from Tim’s recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

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 hotel, including: