Category Archives: Travel News

The Future of Travel: Millennials

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Millennials represent the next prized demographic for the travel and hospitality industries.  This group, made up of those individuals age 18-34, is looking for an experience, and may not be satisfied with a standard hotel stay.  To millennials, personalization is a great way to develop brand loyalty, and a one of a kind experience is the golden ticket to repeat business for your property. Continue reading

Travel Trends: Metasearch is the Future

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Metasearch is one of the hottest trends in the travel industry today.  It’s so hot that Skift, a leading travel industry news leader, released a report detailing what is coming next for the travel industry in terms of metasearch.

Why is Metasearch so Hot Right Now?
According to a DataFox, travelers made on average 21 visits to different travel websites before finally booking a trip, with many reporting that it was extremely tedious and time-consuming.  Continue reading

The Next Step in OTA/Metasearch Convergence

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Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) have taken the travel and hospitality industries to a new level over the past decade,  but in recent years there has been a shift towards convergence of OTAs and metasearch engines.  Metasearch engines, like Kayak, TripAdvisor, and Hipmunk, have traditionally shuttled users to OTAs or air/car rental sites white it came time to complete their bookings.

In essence, the metasearch engine was the means for getting to the ultimate endpoint of the OTA.  Forward thinking companies like Expedia and Priceline utilized this stream of production to their advantage by acquiring their own metasearch engines.  Expedia Inc. controls Trivago and the Priceline Group owns Kayak.

Companies like Orbitz, Travelocity, and CheapOair are considered metasearch “paupers” according to a recent Skift article, but Orbitz Worldwide CEO Barney Harford sees things differently, and last year he boasted that his company did not need to make a speculative investment and acquire a travel metasearch site.

The Orbitz Plan
While Orbitz Worldwide does not own their own metasearch engine, Orbitz.com, Cheaptickets.com, and LastMinute.com have done the next best thing.  With an assist from advertising soultions’ provider Intent Media, the three OTA sites have not integrated metasearch-like hotel pricing from competitor’s sites right beneath some of their own hotel displays.

From the hotel display, a user can click on one of the competitor’s links and navigate away to that site to make a hotel booking.

Why This Model Makes Sense
Intent Media co-founder and CEO Richard Harris says the logic behind these property price ads are that only about 5% of lookers may book something on an OTA site, and these metasearch-like ads with hotel rates enable the OTAs to monetize the users who want to comparison shop and would likely book elsewhere anyway.

OTAs have displayed similar ads from competitor’s sites before – but usually without showing the competitors’ rates.  If they displayed links to competitors, they would usually do so opening one browser at a time and without first showing any pricing.

However, displaying these opposing rates, while somewhat risky or seemingly counter-intuitive for the publishing site, earns a higher cost per click than not showing the rates because lookers are more likely to book.

To read the full Skift article, click here.

Survey: How Travelers Use Online Reviews

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In June 2013, BrightLocal, a leading SEO tool provider for local businesses, released results of a survey that examined consumer consumption of online reviews and how they influence their opinions and purchases from local businesses. The study found that 79% of consumer trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Software Advice, the leading provider of detailed reviews, comparisons, and research for online hotel management software buyers, decided to take this idea decided to take this idea a step further by determining HOW travelers use online hotel reviews. Continue reading

Travel Trends: OTAs Look to Loyalty Programs

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In the 1990’s, online travel agencies (OTAs) threw a wrench in the hotel booking process by allowing travelers to compare prices across multiple hotels, inspiring consumers to book rooms through third-party sources rather than directly through hotels.  These bookings sites tacked on a hefty transaction fee, but the convenience of being able to search multiple options in one place made the extra charges worthwhile for the traveler.

Fast forward two decades and there is a new trend that property owners, managers, hoteliers, and other members of the travel space should know about.  The rise of metasearch sites like Kayak and Bing – which allow travelers to not only compare prices across hotels, but also across OTAs – has intensified the rivalry between booking sites, leaving companies like Expedia and Orbitz fighting for repeat customers.

But how are these brands creating this repeat traffic?

How to Create Loyalty Among OTAs?

To match Web competitors and increase brand loyalty, “it’s in the interest of online travel agencies to keep upping the ante,” said Clem Bason, CEO of DealBase.com.

In order to influence customer fidelity, OTAs have begun branching into the rewards business with the hope that additional incentives will keep travelers from straying to other booking sites.  This is a tactic that hotels have employed for a long time.  And now, OTAs are hoping that offering a rewards program will bolster consumer loyalty, the way it did for hotels.

Potential Negatives for OTAs

Despite the fact that OTAs are trying to build loyalty with travelers and increase the number of bookings taken on their third-party sites, there could be problems that pop up thanks to programs like Expedia Rewards and Orbitz Rewards.

Much of the advertising dollars spent by hotels go towards advertising on these OTA sites, but ultimately these properties would prefer to take bookings on their own website, as opposed to the third-party OTA site.  If properties are only receiving reservations through the third party sites (and are paying commission fees ranging from 15 to 25%, then these properties will be more likely to find other advertising avenues that will direct more travelers to book directly on a property website.

Traditional Programs vs. OTA Loyalty Programs

The logic behind traditional loyalty programs is pretty basic – hotels attract repeat business by promising rewards like free stays, complimentary amenities and even frequent flier miles.  The more often a traveler stays at a hotel or with a hotel brand, the more rewards he or she will earn.  These loyalty programs generally benefit business travelers the most, as they stay more often on the company dime and apply rewards to vacation expenses.

OTAs, on the other hand, target consumers looking to rack up and redeem points more quickly than they would through a hotel program according to Expedia CMO and Senior Vice President of Global Marketing David Doctorow.  OTA program members can earn rewards by booking stays at eligible hotels, regardless of the brand they choose, allowing for increased earning potential.

To learn more about the steps being taken by OTAs to increase loyalty among travelers, click here.

HomeAway Reaches 1 Million Live Listings

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With recent news swirling around the Priceline Group’s announcement that it agreed to acquire OpenTable for $2.6 billion, the travel industry now turns its focus to vacation rental giant HomeAway and whether it might be the next big prize that a Priceline, Expedia or Google might scoop up.

Skift writers Jason Clampet and Dennis Schaal sat down with HomeAway’s CEO Brian Sharples to discuss this subject, and others surround the vacation rental giant including their place in the hospitality industry, potential strategic considerations, and the future of the vacation rental space.  Here are some of the key points highlighted in the interview. Continue reading

3 Trends to Help Understand Millennial Travelers

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Millennials are constantly changing the way marketers look at the business landscape, and the travel industry is no exception to this rule.  These current 20-34 year olds represent the next rising wave of consumers across the globe, but what does this mean for your business?

Millennials bring their own unique set of expectations, behaviors and preferences in what they want and how they want it, and this extends to their travel experiences.

As an example, millennial travelers are quick to seek out the wireless connection upon arrival to the hotel while other travelers might make decompressing from their travels a priority.  Going hand-in-hand with this, while other travelers might collect stories to share one-on-one when they return home, younger travelers tell their stories online in real-time as they travel from one point to the next.

Skift and Amadeus, two leading travel industry news and research resources recently released three trends to help property owners and managers better understand this unique age group and their travel needs.

1. Explorers, Never Tourists
Millennials travelers want to explore their destinations and hate the idea of being considered tourists.  These travelers crave adventure and see out unique authentic  experiences while traveling.  ResortsandLodges.com travelers are no different.  Our travelers are not trying to book a room, they want to plan and book an experience.

Many millennials are craving adventure and seek out unique and authentic experiences while traveling.  Instead of taking the elevator up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, a millennial traveler will likely take the stairs and share a self-designed photo collage of the path to the top on Instagram.

2. Customization is Key
Millennial travelers favor an a la carte menu of logistics, amenities, and activities when planning their trip to create a highly personalized experience.  According to Skift, they value a distinctive experience that aligns with their individual identity and to display on social media.  They seek a stimulating “touch and feel” environment that still takes them to a different world.  This often includes unique excursions and international destinations that allow them to establish credibility on a subject or region.  Being able to share a display this knowledge and skill set publicly is of high value.

In addition to taking a customized trip, millennial travelers expect travel brands to provide them with personalized content, from airfare, accommodations and beyond.  For travel brand, along with price and value considerations, this personalized interaction is key to relationship building and increases the likelihood that the traveler will return on their next trip.

3. Technology Enables Communication and More
It’s no surprise this generation of travelers is more tech-savvy.  Having grown up with mobile devices and enhanced technology for the past decade or more, this group realizes the importance of communication through social media in an attempt to keep in touch with close friends and family.

Technology also provides an added sense of power as millennials access vast amounts of information any time they desire.  They can be savvy consumers in an unfamiliar destination by comparing prices, reading reviews and getting tips from blogs during their trip.

Millennial travelers are most comfortable combining the “best of both worlds” as they are channel agnostic.  They want the speed and convenience of an online purchase, and also value the comfort and security that constant connectivity brings, in the event they need assistance while traveling.