Category Archives: Hotels

10 Things Every Hotel Website Must Have

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Your hotel website gives potential travelers a chance to view the most important aspects of your property.  People are not going to visit your property before they stay to ensure it meets all of their needs.  Your property website needs to be able to attract leads and eventually help sell the deal that this is where a traveler should stay.

In order to attract potential guests to your website, you need to know what these individuals are looking for.  Noise, a New York City-based creative agency, was tasked with creating a list of the most important things all hotel websites must have.  Here is what they came up with. Continue reading

TripAdvisor Falls Short of Q1 Projections

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One of TripAdvisor’s main priorities for 2014 was launching the direct booking of hotels in its mobile apps and mobile site – Instant Booking. However, the mobile platform not yet attracted the partner lineup the company was seeking.

During the company’s first quarter earnings call, TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer said about 150,000 properties, or about one-third of those e-commerce-enabled, are now available for direct booking, or Instant Booking as TripAdvisor calls it. This can be done on its mobile site, as well as through iPhone and Android apps.

TripAdvisor’s Q1 Earnings
The news on the Instant Booking feature was overshadowed during TripAdvisor’s earnings call, mainly because the company failed to hit its Q1 projections. Sales for the travel review website climbed 32% to $281 million, shy of analysts’ consensus at $282.9 million.

TripAdvisor raised it’s 2014 growth forecast for referral revenue after reporting a nine percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by increased revenue from referrals and display advertisements. Because of this, TripAdvisor’s shares rose as much as 3.8 percent after it reported a 16% increase in referrals income, which makes up three-quarters of its revenue.

The company forecasts 2014 referral revenue growth in the high 20’s in terms of percentages, up from a previous forecast of growth in the low 20’s.

The company is benefiting from higher fees every time a user clicks through to a third-party booking site, after the company changed its display to show prices more prominently. The site now lists prices of hotel rooms from booking sites alongside its user reviews, allowing for easy comparison. This translates into fewer clicks for each booking site, but each click is more likely to lead to a booking.

TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking
Instant Booking enables travelers to book a hotel without leaving the company’s app or mobile site, but is currently only visible to about 10% of U.S. users.

The introduction of Instant Booking in TripAdvisor’s hotel-metasearch product on mobile is extremely important as TripAdvisor believes it will greatly increase monetization. That’s because users will not find themselves lost in the handoff to third-party hotel or online travel agency sites in order to book their stay.

The lack of take-up by bigger online travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, and Orbitz, means TripAdvisor’s major rivals at this point are reluctant to further empower an already formidable competitor.

To read more about TripAdvisor’s Q1 earnings call, click here.

To read more about TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking, click here.

U.S. Hotels Courting Chinese Travelers

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Hoteliers and property managers should always be looking for segments of the travel market that are trending upwards.  Chinese travelers fit that bill which is why many U.S. hotels are beefing up on their knowledge of China’s culture so that they can improve the experience for these big-spending international travelers.

According to a recent NBC News article, the staff at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel recently got a crash course in how to welcome some of Amway China’s 1,500 guests who won incentive sales trips to New York City in April.

Subtle Changes to Help Promote a Positive Experience
In the case of the Marriott Marquis, in-room carafes were replaced so that guests could make tea each morning.  From the days when its only Chinese visitors were high government officials, the Marquis had already assigned names (Royal, Pinnacle, etc.) to presidential suites on the 44th and 45th floors, because the number four is considered unlucky in Chinese culture.

The number eight is considered lucky in Chinese culture, so standing out to a Chinese guest “can be as simple as what the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook did, which was to put eight chocolate coins and candy in a small mesh back with an attached welcome note,” said Seema Jain, director of Multicultural Markets and Alliances for Marriott International.

The Target Market is Big – and Getting Bigger
In 2013, an estimated 1.8 million Chinese tourists visited the United States.  For 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries expects that number to rise by 21%, to more than 2.1 million, with increases of about 20% per year through 2018.

Los Angeles and New York City received the most Chinese tourists in 2012, according to the Department of Commerce.  In the New York region alone, Marriott has seen a 17% growth in 2013 over 2012 for the Chinese market, according to Robert Ambrozny, Marriott international sales director for the New York City region.

To read the full NBC News article, click here.

Airbnb’s New York Listings Illegal?

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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

Hotels Taking Social Media Offline

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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

Google Outpaces Social Media in Priceline Conversions

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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