Airbnb has made enormous strides in the Vacation Rental segment of the travel industry in the past year, but a roller coaster week in the media may be threatening the image of this successful startup.
On Monday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed an affidavit with the state Supreme Court in Albany claiming that the majority of Airbnb listings in New York are illegal. Schneiderman originally filed the subpoena, seeking user data from Airbnb, in October. Speculation is swirling that since the company has been in negotiations with the Attorney General’s office for months, a settlement fell apart.
The issue at hand is that subletting for less than 30 days is in general illegal for renters in New York who are not continually residing in their apartment. For Airbnb, plenty of the nearly 20,000 offerings – 64% on January 31 – listed on the website in New York were for an “entire apartment”, not a shared space, as the law would seem to mandate. Continue reading
While social media may not be the most effective sales conversion tool for companies in the travel and hospitality industries, it is still a critical factor for a company’s online reputation management. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and others social media channels are a great way for you to reach out to fans and potential travelers alike.
As social media is constantly evolving, hotels are forced to come up with new and innovative ways to stay connected with their guests. Some hotels are taking an outside-the-box approach to tying social media into in-person activities. The following are examples of hotels incorporating social media channels into their on-site experience. Continue reading
Social media channels play an important role for every company’s online reputation, but are they providing the best ROI when it comes to digital ad-spend? According to Priceline’s CEO Darren Huston, ads for his company on Facebook and Twitter have failed to deliver results.
“For Facebook and Twitter, we have endless amounts of money,” Huston said April 14 in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “But we haven’t found anything there.” Continue reading
Last week, we discussed Google’s ambitious jump into the travel industry with the release of the Google Hotel Finder on April 8, but a recent Motley Fool article questioned whether the company’s long-term travel plans are TOO ambitious. The question this article focuses on is not whether Google will be successful (it likely will be), but rather how its move will affect major travel sites like Priceline.com and Expedia. Continue reading
Amenities are a critical factor in how travelers perceive your property when they stay with you. Millennial travelers are looking for the latest technological advancements, families are looking for more space, and most travelers are looking for some help along the way.
The latest Hotels.com Amenities Survey revealed the Top 10 Most Important Hotel Property Amenities and the Top 10 Most Important In-Room Amenities. To gain this valuable data, Hotels.com surveyed 1,000 travelers globally who have a trip planned in the next six months.
Not surprisingly, hotel guests preferred Wi-Fi over any other in-room features, and ranked Wi-Fi availability third-highest for shared spaces in the property. The need for constant connectivity is at an all-time high thanks to all of the mobile technology at everyone’s fingertips.
As more amenities become standardized (parking, non-smoking rooms, pools, etc.), you have to find new ways to differentiate your property from the rest of the pack. Taylor L. Coleg, APR travel expert for Hotels.com, confirmed that today’s travelers are placing more value on quality food options than ever before.
What else can you do to set your property apart? Look at the following lists to determine what you have, and what you are missing. Not all of these amenities are feasible with every property. For instance, a cozy B&B on the coast may not need a swimming pool, or a bar, but it may need to add air conditioning so that travelers will enjoy a more pleasant experience.
Top 10 Most Important Hotel Property Amenities
1. Complimentary Breakfast
3. Internet/Free Wi-Fi
5. 24-Hour Front Desk Service
6. Smoke Free Hotel
7. Swimming Pool
9. Air Conditioning
10. Coffee/Tea in Lobby
Top 10 Most Important In-Room Amenities
1. Internet/Free Wi-Fi
2. Bathroom Shower
3. Room Size
4. TV Facilities
5. Air Conditioning
7. Non-Smoking Rooms
8. Premium Bedding
9. Daily Housekeeping
10. Mattress Type
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
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:
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.