VRMA Trends: Q2 Rental Trends to Watch

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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

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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

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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.

ADI Projects $61 Billion in Online Summer Travel Bookings

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After a brutal winter and a bad case of cabin fever, it looks like Americans are ready to hit the road this summer.  Adobe Digital Index’s (ADI) “Travel 2014 Report” predicts that online travel bookings will reach $61 billion between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a 15% increase year-over-year.

The report is built on consumer data from Adobe Analytics brand sites from 2012 to 2014, and the sample information involved includes more than 33 billion visits to 1,300 branded travel websites.

ADI found that smartphone bookings are up a whopping 121% since January 2013.  During the same period, bookings via gaming consoles are up 60%, and tablet bookings are up 48%.

“Travel companies – online travel agencies, airlines, hotels – have done a much better job of extending the booking capability of their mobile applications and making their websites more mobile-friendly, which is increasing the amount of online bookings,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at ADI.

Despite the growth of mobile devices within the travel industry, the PC still has the largest share of online bookings, taking in 86% of the share.  Tablets have the largest share of mobile-device bookings, at just 10%.

To read more about the more summer booking trends, and to read the full ADI Travel 2014 Report, click here.

7 Trends Shaping Social Media in 2014

Social media

Social media began as a way to network with other individuals across the world. When organizations become involved with these channels, social media became a giant megaphone for marketing messages, but now these same organizations are realizing that these channels can be used for so much more.

There are seven social media trends that are beginning to shape 2014, and Media Mosaic examined these trends in detail. Here are a few of these trends you may have observed through the first five months of the year:

1) Social Listening – Brands are now realizing that social media is a two-way communication channel, not just a one-way communication method for talking to consumers. 24% of marketers plan to use a social listening campaign in 2014, up 2% from last year.

Effect on Marketing: Brands will be able to interact directly with consumers.
Effect on Users: Brands will now listen, understand, and respond quickly and strategically to consumer queries and thoughts.

2) Social Advertising – Although ROI results are still mixed in most industries, marketers realize that people are on social media channels, and social advertising at the very least ensures viewership of ads. In 2013, 57% of marketers used social ads, and another 23% are expected to start using them in 2014.

Effect on Marketing: Brands will get a cost effective and clutter-free way of engaging customers.
Effect on Users: Users will now be able to see not just posts, but Facebook-sponsored stories or Twitter-sponsored tweets.

3) Images as Marketing Tools – People hardly have extra time to spare. Hence, they are being attracted more towards content that they can comprehend within a short time. If a picture is worth a thousand words, marketers can succinctly convey their message without a lot of words when using images on social media.

Effect on Marketing: Marketers will have to find newer ways to catch attention like graphic advertisements, catchy banners, images and infographics.
Effect on Users: More information in the shortest possible time.

To read the rest of the social media trends, head to the PR Daily website.

Turning Hotel Initiatives Into Social Media Contests

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Social media plays a critical role in the way hotels and unique properties around the world market their product online.  These channels can be used as a mobile/online concierge, as a forum to discuss positive or negative experiences, or as a means to communicate with travelers before, during, and after they stay.

Advertising deals is another way that social media channels are used, but properties must be careful not to be selling hard at all times through these channels, as it will likely turn of traveler engagement.  Here are a few examples of properties that have turned social engagement into great ways to sell their deals and packages. Continue reading