All posts by Paul Manzey

Google Officially Enters Hotel Business

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The internet travel space just got a little bit smaller as Google entered the hospitality industry in a big way on Wednesday.  According to a Wall Street Journal article, the internet giant is moving boldly to play a larger role in booking hotel rooms.  They are doing it at the risk of offending some of its most important advertisers.

Why Google is making the move now
The potential market Google is entering is very large.  In the U.S. alone, travel and tourism spending totaled $450 billion last year, and is expected to grow 3.5% in 2014, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Google also just completed its latest move related to hotels, striking a licensing deal that will give it access to technology from hotel-booking software startup Room 77.  This move also adds engineers to Google’s hotel-search team.

Why this move makes sense for Google
Travelers are constantly looking for the most efficient way to book travel accommodations online.  ResortsandLodges.com prides itself on putting your property’s homepage one-click away from Google, Yahoo, and Bing search results pages.  Google is trying to make sure you don’t even leave their search results pages, allowing you to book without even reaching the major OTA’s and metasearch engines.  Google becomes the ultimate metasearch engine in this case. Continue reading

4 Mobile Design Myths for Hoteliers

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With smartphone technology on the rise, optimizing your mobile platform becomes a top priority for companies of every shape and size, especially in the travel and hospitality industries.  WorldMate launched its first mobile app seven years before the first iPhone luach.

At that time, it was not called an app, but the Palm and BlackBerry creation served much of the same purpose as the more stylish iOS and Android versions today:  help consumers search and organize their travel.

Ian Berman, the Vice President of Business Development for WorldMate, dispelled four of the most misleading smartphone myths during the 7th annual Social Media & Mobile Strategies for Travel conference, hosted recently by EyeforTravel. Continue reading

5 Reasons Your Social Media Campaign is Failing

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Social media plays a vitally important role in any company’s marketing campaign, but some companies are unable to harness the power of this constantly growing communication channel.  There are a variety of reasons why social media marketing campaigns fail, but these are five of the most common issues I read about on social media marketing websites.

1. You are not considering social media as a two-way communication system.
Some companies make the mistake of just releasing a deluge of information to customers, and disregarding whatever the replied communication is.  Social media has brought us up-to-the-second in our ability to retrieve the information we’re looking for.
Continue reading

Native Apps Overwhelm Mobile Web Usage

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Without looking at your phone right now, would you be able to tell someone what internet browser your smartphone uses? You are probably not alone if your immediate response to this quandary is no. According to a recent study conducted by Flurry, mobile web browsing is losing the battle to native apps when it comes to mobile data use.

According to data compiled from January to March 2014, mobile device usage has risen to 2 hours and 42 minutes per day, up from 2 hours and 38 minutes per day in March of 2013. Native apps cemented their lead atop the list of in-phone functions, commanding 86% of the average US mobile consumer’s time (approximately 2 hours and 19 minutes per day). Continue reading

Five Tips to Improve Your Online Reputation

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Maintaining a positive online reputation can be difficult for any company in a place as public as the internet, but for the hotels and unique lodging options we promote on ResortsandLodges.com, it is of vital importance.  Although the thought of people openly reviewing your property may be scary at first, it is important to see these online reviews as an opportunity.  According to Jennifer Davies, senior content manager at Expedia, good reviews of 4.0 or 5.0 generate more than double the conversion rate of a review of 1.0-2.9.

Davies’ statement deals specifically with data compiled by properties on Expedia.com, but the idea is relevant across the hospitality industry.  Still, conversion rates are not the only numbers that are affected by a positive online reputation.  An interview with Expedia’s VP of Supply Strategy and Analysis, Ben Ferguson, revealed that a one-point increase in a review score (on a five-point scale) equates to a 9% increase in average daily rate (ADR).

All property managers and hoteliers realize the importance of conversion rates and ADR, but many do not understand how or why they go hand in hand with a property’s online reputation.  Proactively managing your reputation and using the feedback from online reviews to increase guest satisfaction will allow you to increase both your conversion rates and revenue in a sustainable way.

Here are five tips on how to improve your property’s online reputation:
Continue reading

Upselling for Guest Satisfaction and Revenue

Front desk Interalpen Hotel in Tyrol

With occupancy rates returning to pre-recession levels in many parts of the world, many property owners and hoteliers expect that revenue per available room (RevPAR) and average daily rates (ADR) will continue to grow with an increased number of heads in the beds.  However, without an effective upselling program, it will be difficult for properties to increase revenue in 2014 and beyond.

We discussed implementing a front desk upselling program in a previous blog post, which dealt specifically with how training companies are attempting to teach employees to effectively upsell when guests check in.

Upselling provides an important revenue stream for managers and hoteliers, but the idea is still underutilized across the industry.  Let us look at why your upselling program will not only increase your revenue, but may also increase the satisfaction of the guests who choose to stay with you.
Continue reading

Wego Launches Arabic Metasearch App for iOS

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Wego, a leading travel metasearch site in the Asia Pacific and Middle East, today launched the world’s first dedicated flights and hotels travel metasearch mobile app in Arabic for iOS.  This app is expected to follow the success of the first travel metasearch site available in Arabic, created by the company in 2012.

“The response from GCC countries to Wego’s fully Arabised site has been overwhelming,” said Mohamad Ibrahim Masri, Managing Director, Wego Middle East and North Africa.

Masri added that it only made sense to invest in a fully-localized version of the company’s mobile app, especially when experts predict an almost 14-fold increase in Middle East North Africa (MENA) mobile data traffic by 2018.

“The app for iOS comes complete with right to left language support (Arabic RTL support for android coming soon), for comfortable navigation of Wego’s extensive global metasearch platform, available in multiple currencies, displaying both local and global air services and accommodation options.”

Since the Arabised metasearch engine was released in 2012, Wego has built valuable partnerships with major travel brands in the region including Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, GulfAir, Musafir, ArabRooms and more.

Impact of the Wego App

The Wego app was recently released in the company’s core markets, and to fairly resounding success.  It currently ranks as the number one new travel application in Singapore, China, and Thailand, and ranking number two in India.  It also ranks in the Top 100 of travel apps in 20 countries worldwide.

“We’ve had very positive reviews of the application so far and the download momentum is continuing to accelerate,” said Matthew Varley, Wego’s Chief Operating Officer.

“We spent a great deal of time consulting our Arabic speaking colleagues so that every minute detail was reviewed and verified. We paid careful attention to numbers, calendars, currencies and labels and the complexities of tools required for right to left translation, screen transition directions and swipe gestures were all a huge challenge.”

To learn more about Wego, and the Wego Affiliate Travel Network, click here.

To download the Wego App, click here.

The Future of SmartPhones

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A recent post on Venture Beat discussed the future of mobile technology, but the conversation was not centered around the phones themselves, but on adaptive operating systems. You may have already seen examples of these adaptive OS’s with your own smartphone. Have you been directed to Facebook when you were trying to access Twitter? Companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google are using our usage data to transform our experiences with the “best friends” we carry in our pockets.

Adaptive Mobile Technology in the Travel Industry

In our “Death of the Cookie” blog post, we discussed how most mobile devices are “un-cookieable”, making tracking from platform-to-platform a difficult concept to achieve. However, mobile applications are typically coded to give hoteliers and property managers a better feel for what type tasks travelers are using a specific app for.

Phones themselves are not likely to change in the near future. The next option would be to revert back to smaller-sized phones, but most users prefer a larger screen for multiple uses. This is why apps and the OS make all the difference in the world. These are the parts of the smartphone landscape that will see the most gains in the future.

Potential Future Opportunities in Mobile Marketing

As operating systems become more adaptive, it may benefit brands to focus more on direct mobile advertising. Currently, advertisers are investing large sums of money to put their ads within mobile applications. Could the next step be marketing directly through OS itself? Cutting out the application “middle men” would allow marketing guru’s to reach out directly to the consumer.

To read the entire Venture Beat article, click here.