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Tim Peter

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July 24, 2018

6 Insights Into How Technology is Changing the Hotel Industry: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

July 24, 2018 | By | No Comments

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How is technology changing the hotel industry? Abstract view of hotel and tech

Late last year, we took a look at 10 tremendous insights into the trends driving hotel digital marketing in 2018. An overarching theme of the piece was the critical role that technology plays in driving changes in guest behaviors and hotel revenues, especially revenues of the direct booking kind. I suspect that’s a topic still near and dear to your heart and especially important as you start gearing up for next year. Given that, it seems fair to ask, how is technology changing the hotel industry? And how can you use those changes to benefit your hotel?

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to take a look at these questions in detail. But here are a few thoughts to get you started:

  1. Key Hotel Technology Stats Worth Watching. Obviously, there’s lots of change going on. How much change? Well, this set of 15 mind-blowing stats about digital trends in travel and hospitality from CMO.com offers critical insights. Among the most interesting?
    • Some 43% of guests use smartphones to research their hotel/accommodations — underscoring why it’s time to stop calling mobile a trend. To be fair, only 25% use their smartphone to book, which signals that the guest experience during booking still needs help. But let’s not forget: With most guests carrying one or more smartphones, tablets, and laptops during their journey, you host more devices each night than guests — and that’s shaping the way they plan, book and experience travel every single day
    • J.D. Power says that hotel mobile apps don’t get downloaded very often, and get used even less for check-ins/checkouts; but guests that use those apps are more satisfied — and more loyal
    • Data from Adobe suggests that half “…of travel and hospitality companies today are gathering and using real-time data”
    • Another Adobe stat says that fewer than one in five “…executives at travel and hospitality brands said they believe their company is a digitally mature organization.” That’s a huge benefit, because it suggests you’ve got plenty of runway to improve relative to your competition — at least if you choose to take advantage of it.
  2. It Ain’t Just About Technology. Sure, technology is important. But it’s secondary. It shouldn’t be a secret that great marketing technology won’t save you from a bad hotel marketing strategy. Your success depends not only on having the right tech, but on having an excellent strategy and effectively executing that strategy. It’s fair to ask, “how important is technology to hospitality marketing?” but if you’re focused solely on the tech, you’ve got your carts and horses the wrong way ’round.
  3. Guests Continue to Take Ownership of their Experience. PhocusWire put together a must-read piece that explains why hotel rooms belong to guests, not hoteliers . As you might imagine, guests have clear expectations of the experience they’re looking for each time they step into “their” room. The technology that they encounter — whether hands-on or through a front-desk agent or concierge — influences their overall guest experience. Guest will remember waiting to check-in, order room service, or schedule a spa treatment because your system is too slow. Similarly, Amazon launched a version of its Alexa system for hotels at HITEC this year, which is particularly interesting given that Booking.com says business travelers are ‘warming’ to chatbots. Your guests are getting accustomed to technology serving their needs. Is your service growing along with them?
  4. Want to Get There Fast? Plenty of Potential Partners Exist. Does all this talk of tech leave you terrified? Well, you don’t have to go it alone. For starters, Skift put together a great round-up of its top travel startups to watch, which can help you figure out the tools and tech to help you excel. While some aren’t yet ready for prime-time, entrants like the (somewhat) more mature Fornova, Journera, and MisterFly might fit nicely into your overall strategy and help your properties get ahead of the curve next year. And, of course, there are plenty of exceptional hotel marketing/distribution consultants and agencies out there who can help you put the pieces of the puzzle together to grow your business.
  5. Troubling Trend: Too Many Hotels Continue to Sit on the Sidelines. You’d think given the facts outlined above that hotel marketers would be racing to assemble that puzzle for themselves. But SiteMinder offers a very thoughtful report showing many hoteliers remain in a ‘holding stage’ assessing the best tech trends. That’s a shame, given how important technology is to your overall hotel marketing and distribution strategy. What are you waiting for? Don’t forget, the OTA’s surely aren’t in a holding pattern. Booking.com went shopping for more metasearch capabilities and landed HotelsCombined to go along with its earlier pickup of Momondo, Cheapflights, and Mundi last year, as well as FareHarbor this April. And Expedia has made a huge move into packages in just the past few weeks with its Add-On Advantage offering. This isn’t about the future. This is about what your guests experience — and expect — right now.
  6. Even More Change is Coming. Finally, don’t forget that the changes in hotel technology we’re all dealing with are just the beginning. Whether it’s virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, AI or something else altogether, the next major disruption is right around the corner. For instance, there are all kinds of reasons why AI will change hospitality marketing forever and why voice, VR, and AR might be more hope than hype in the next few years. Keeping on top of these trends matters. What’s most important is for hoteliers to stay focused on the benefits of digital marketing for their property, and to stay in touch with how digital changes guest expectations and behaviors. Because no matter how much technology changes the hotel industry, your guests will continue to expect a great experience. And that will never change.

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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June 4, 2017

7 Can’t Miss Hospitality Marketing Insights: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

June 4, 2017 | By | No Comments

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7 can't miss hospitality marketing insights

Hey, everyone! Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend. What do you say we close it out with these 7 can’t miss hospitality marketing insights. Enjoy:

  1. Tony Loeb writing at The Blog of Experience Hotel asks “Is Guest Experience the Future of Hotel Marketing?” The answer, as you might imagine, is “yes.” But you should read the whole post for Tony’s great insights. It makes a great companion piece to this recent episode of Thinks Out Loud, our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast that explained why “Content is King, Customer Experience is Queen.”
  2. Tnooz explores the “What, When and Why of Downloading an App for Travel.”
  3. Net Affinity looks at “Attribution Models: The Secret Ways Guests Discover Your Hotel.”
  4. Skift has a great episode of their Backstage Podcast that’s all about “Travel Search, Bargain Hunting and the Future of Booking” that’s worth a listen.
  5. Koddi says that “Google is Testing A New Mobile Experience for Hotel Ads” that you’ll definitely want to know about.
  6. With all the changes going on in digital for hospitality marketers, it’s reasonable to ask, when it comes to “Hospitality Digital Marketing and Distribution: Is it Time to Give Up?” I’d argue “no.” But be sure to read the whole post to see why.
  7. Finally, you won’t want to miss these “7 Sensational Posts for Hospitality Marketers” and this set of “5 Must-See Hospitality Marketing Hot Topics” from 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 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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February 26, 2017

8 Outstanding Hospitality Marketing Posts Focused on Guest Experience: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

February 26, 2017 | By | No Comments

Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


8 outstanding hospitality marketing posts focused on guest experience, woman shopping travel on her phone

Hey, Big Thinkers! Hope you’ve had a fantastic week. No big setup this week. Instead, we’re working to provide you a great experience by getting you right into these 8 outstanding hospitality marketing posts focused on guest experience. Enjoy:

  1. Leading off, Skift explains “What Marriott Learned From Starwood’s Loyalty and Digital Expertise.” Key insight:

    “‘Now that people are using mobile at more and more points throughout the travel process, we want to look at those points and figure out which ones we can add value to,’ [senior vice president of digital George] Corbin said. ‘To have relevance, we need to have personalization.’

    Signs of that personalization include changing the screen of the app depending on whether you have an upcoming stay, allowing guests to make service requests before they even arrive at the hotel, and making sure relevant content appears in the mobile app’s feed for guests, depending on where they are during their stay.”

    These insights align heavily with our past assessments of “Why Hotel Marketing Depends on Personalization” and “Today and Tomorrow: Mobile and The Changing Customer Journey,” which you might also want to check out when you have a moment.

  2. SEO Roundtable highlights a fairly significant user experience change as “Google Launches Hotel Rich Cards In Search Results.” These provide guests additional information about your hotel and likely represent a positive way to differentiate your property to guests — to say nothing about providing an additional revenue opportunity for Google in time.
  3. The fine folks at Fuel Travel and Flip.to —long-time friends of the blog — have new research that shows “How Hotels Can Adapt To A Dramatic 88% Drop In The Number Of Sites A Traveler Visits Before Booking.” We plan to look into these numbers in more detail over time, but it definitely signals a massive shift in what we “know” about guest behavior. And it also suggests your marketing will have to adjust to the new reality.
  4. Speaking of new research, Tnooz takes a look at “The Airbnb Effect on Hotels — Experiences, Tech Provision and Convergence.” It’s slightly disappointing that some hotel operators need Airbnb to remind them the importance of guest experience, but better to learn it there than not at all.
  5. While we’re on the topic of Airbnb, you’ll no doubt want to check out these posts that ask “What Business Is Airbnb In? Hotels? Or Hospitality?” and “How Safe Are Independent Hotels from Airbnb?”. They also uncover what the answers mean for your property.
  6. Building on the Airbnb theme, another great Fuel Travel post about “Travel Trends For 2017: Hotels Respond To OTAs & Sharing Economy” is well-worth your time.
  7. Before closing, how about we by recap some of the most popular Hospitality Marketing Link Digests of the recent past, including:
  8. Our annual recap of the HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference is coming up in just a few days, but let’s round out this week’s collection of 8 outstanding hospitality marketing posts focused on guest experience with this round-up of “8 Outstanding Lessons from the 2016 HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference” for you. Great stuff that you can put to work for your business today.

Hope you have a great week ahead, Big Thinkers!

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 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: