All posts by Paul Manzey

Priceline Continues to Add Key Pieces

Priceline

In a time when acquisitions, mergers, and partnerships have become the norm, one company in particular seems to be positioning itself as a future leader in the travel space.  That company is Priceline, and their recent acquisitions highlight an attempt to improve both ends (B2B and B2C) of the sales experience.

On June 10, Priceline announced the acquisition of buuteeq, Inc., a leading digital marketing platform for hotels worldwide.  Buuteeq’s cloud-based marketing software helps hoteliers manage their brand and drive bookings with responsively designed websites, robust user analytics, and intuitive content-management tools. Continue reading

ResortsandLodges.com Releases Enhanced Website

enhancedwebsite

The past six months have been full of growth and development at ResortsandLodges.com. The company entered the online bookings segment of the travel industry with the release of the RALBook availability search in January. Now, to ensure that millions of travelers around the globe are enjoying their travel research, planning, and booking experience on our site, we have officially released the newest version of ResortsandLodges.com.

“Our goals with the newest website release centered around providing better traveler interaction and a better way to display information,” said Nic Regis, UI/UX Designer at ResortsandLodges.com. “We wanted the design to provide a solid medium that helps meet goals for both our business partners and millions of travelers who use our website to plan and book unique experiences.”

“We also kept our iPad and other tablet using travelers in mind, which is reflected in our larger image size and some of the more interactive features in the new release,” added Regis.

Enhanced Search Options

EnhancedRALSearch

Some of the most visible changes travelers may notice when they begin planning and researching their next trip on ResortsandLodges.com are the new enhanced search options.  In addition to using the classic ResortsandLodges map to search for their next vacation, travelers can also click into the individual resort type icons located below the map and search area as seen in the image above.

Check out what else is new on the enhanced ResortsandLodges.com Website.

ResortsandLodges Launches Enhanced Marketing Center

Client Center1

ResortsandLodges.com recently launched its enhanced marketing center, making it easy for clients to track campaign performance, manage online reservations taken through the RALBook availability search, and ensure that the information on client business listings is up to date.

The new marketing center features simplified navigation, and within the Activity, Business Listings, and Reports tabs, ResortsandLodges.com clients have the opportunity to personalize their unique business listing, track campaign performance, and so much more! Here is a small sampling of what the new marketing center allows properties to do:

Real-Time Chat & Support
Benefit – Allows properties to quickly connect with knowledgeable customer support specialists.

Robust Lead Management Tools
Benefit – Allows property managers to quickly identify and connect with their hottest qualified leads.

Streamlined Account Management
Benefit – Update high-resolution images, video, deals, packages, and listing information all from one screen.

Online Bookings
Benefit – Properties can sync all of their available rooms through the RALBook availability search, as well as manage and approve reservations through their newly enhanced marketing center.

Travel Widgets

NewWidgets4

Also new to the ResortsandLodges.com Marketing Center are website widgets available to display on a property’s homepage. If a property has been featured in any of our Top Lists, that property can attach a “Top Property” widget to their homepage. This is an easy way to show third-party validation as a top property, and links travelers back to the Top List in which a client is featured.

Similarly, the ResortsandLodges.com Traveler Rating Widget signifies that a client’s business listing has an average traveler rating of four stars or more (on a scale of five).

If you have a ResortsandLodges.com premium business listing, and would like to check out your enhanced Marketing Center, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about getting listed on ResortsandLodges.com, click here.

VRMA Trends: Q2 Rental Trends to Watch

VRMA11

VRMA recently released its Q2 Vacation Rental Industry Trends for 2014, which focused on two new industry trends, as well as some nuances on trends already observed.

Consolidation
This was one of the new trends discussed in the quarterly review, but is certainly not a new concept in this segment of the hospitality industry.  HomeAway and TripAdvisor have been buying up smaller companies in the vacation rental space for years.  Their appetite for acquisitions is so insatiable that each company has its own page on Crunchbase dedicated to the topic. Continue reading

Survey Says: Top Vacation Rental Listing Sites

Listing Sites

As vacation rentals continue to grow as a vital segment of the travel and hospitality industries, it is important to gauge the feelings of rental owners and managers with regard to listing sites, that make it possible to showcase their properties to millions of travelers around the world.

In this vain, NeedMoreRentals.com carried out one of the largest independent surveys of holiday/vacation rental owners and managers relating to their use of popular listings sites.  The company surveyed 684 respondents in 47 countries.  Here are some of the finding from ‘Listings Sites – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’.

Which listing sites are used by survey respondents?

  • A total of 102 listing sites were noted for marketing their properties.
  • The leading sites by overall numbers were HomeAway.com, VRBO, Airbnb, FlipKey, HolidayLettings, Booking.com, OwnersDirect, HomeAwayUK and House Trip.

On which sites do advertisers not complete listings and why?

  • The leading sites for incomplete listings are Airbnb, HomeAway, OnlyApartments, Booking.com, HouseTrip and Wimdu.
  • The main reasons for unfinished listings are that they are time-consuming, can be complicated, they are not free, they do not integrate with an owners calendar, and there is no help to list multiple properties.

What are the biggest concerns about listing sites?

  • The most common concerns owners and managers have with listing sites are spiraling cost, lack of enquiries, hidden guest details, payment not being received until after the guests’ arrival, and the listing process being too time-consuming.

To learn which listing sites provide the best level of customer service, produce the most leads, and which sites are not recommended for vacation rental owners and managers, click here.

Mobile Strategies to Engage Travelers

HSMAI

Today, communication with your guests when they are on the road (and spending the most) is not just commonplace, but essential.  It is estimated that in 2014, 40% of leisure travelers and 36% of business travelers use mobile search engines to find hotels, and 58% of spending on travel is done once the travelers has left home.

By the end of 2016, there will be more online searches on mobile than on traditional desktops.  People now treat mobile devices as extensions of themselves, communicating with friends, family, companies and brand whenever and however they choose. Continue reading

The Nine Commandments of the Digital World in Hotels

9 Commandments

The travel industry is notorious for hiring within the industry when it comes to filling top jobs, often promoting from within or from a rival company.

So when Accor, one of the world’s leading hotel operators, decided to hire Vivek Badrinath as its deputy CEO earlier this year, it raised a few eyebrows.  Many industry experts were intrigued to know what the senior executive from the world of mobile phone networks would make of a sector as fragmented and complicated as hotels.

Badrinath was speaking last week at the PhoCusWright Europe event in Dublin, Ireland, showing how some of his digital expertise could be applied to a diverse (in terms of brands) and, essentially, human-led corner of the industry.

Badrinath discussed some interesting ideas about how the classic hotel chain should be positioned to cater for the digitally savvy – and mobile-wielding – traveler.  He also gave event attendees his Nine Commandments of the Digital World for his new company.

Tnooz broke Accor’s nine commandments down, and gave some insight as to how they apply to hoteliers and property managers around the world.  Here is a small sampling: Continue reading

Marriott Announces #LoveTravels Campaign

LoveTravels

Travel and hospitality industry experts are always looking for a developing demographic whose attention they feel it is important to attract.  Marriott Hotels is hoping to accomplish this with their most recent social media campaign #LoveTravels.

The effort is a collaboration between Marriott Creative Agency and photographer Braden Summers featuring LGBT celebrities like Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins and fashion model Geena Rocero.

This campaign is part of Marriott’s new LGBT social media and marketing campaign and seeks to “share exclusive and powerful images celebrating inclusion.”  The images featured in the campaign will be displayed as building wraps at six hotels in Washington D.C., a series of print ads in LGBT media, an online portrait gallery and display ads in cities throughout the country.

“Braden’s work so beautifully illustrates the inclusiveness and equality that we embrace,” said Kristine Friend, a senior marketing director at Marriott.  “We are committed to ensuring that all of our guests feel comfortable at all of our hotels and are proud to stay with Marriott.”

“#LoveTravels is a universal theme we believe is shared by all cultures and communities and truly represents our company’s philosophy and values.  We also want to encourage our guests and travelers around the world to share their own journey and story through #LoveTravels @MarriottIntl,” added Friend.

“We see #Love Travels as a universal, multicultural theme that appeals to communities throughout the world, resonating with consumers around the globe and especially with Millennials and next generation travelers who value inclusiveness,” Karin Timpone, Marriott’s global marketing officer said in a statement.

The campaign’s release coincides with Pride events in Washington, San Francisco and New York City.

To learn more about Marritt’s featured destinations and information for LGBT travelers, click here.