Friday, July 31, 2015

5 travel sites UK Hotels Can’t Miss - Part II

In the first part of article (see here) we mentioned two top performing online travel sites in UK. In this part we've discussed three other channels that come in top five lists and shaping the travel industry in UK.

Skyscanner

Primarily a flight comparison site, Skyscanner has forayed into hotel industry recently, but already making significant moves. The site has been one of the top travel search sites in Europe with 35 million unique visitors, and now with separate mobile app for flight, hotel and car hire the travel major is in a unique position offering complete package to potential travellers. According to Deloitte, Skyscanner, the hotel and flight comparison site has grown by over 42% from last year, a transformational phase which saw non-flight booking contributing to 47% of its revenue.

TravelRepublic

TravelRepublic is one of the largest and most well-established online travel agents in Europe, with over 2 million holidaymakers booking annually through their websites in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Germany. The OTA major has access to approximately 300,000 hotels, apartments and villas and receives over 1,000,000 visitors a week making it one of the most sought after online travel channels in UK.                                                                                                                                      

Start-up Pitch

NuStay

Some of you are already aware about NuStay. It is a travel start-up launched in July 2015 with investors from London, Copenhagen, Oslo and Dubai aimed to provide travelers better booking rates and at the same time offering the hotels a way to submit unique offers to each individual guest, either manually or automatically, at a discounted rate. A PhoCusWright report shows that, 70% travellers prefers their suitable rooms at a discounted price and they wait for the right moment to book that accommodation. Accommodation providers consider luxury travel is their major source of revenue - around 77% accommodation providers sell luxury trips, making luxury travel one of the top revenue generating segment in online travel. This trend is the USP of NuStay- the company provides luxury rooms in budgeted price with its unique algorithm that finds best matched luxury hotels for their consumers. An interesting thing about this company is they negotiate discounted rates for its guests with their hotel partners which no other company has done yet.

NuStay Banner

You might have a team of revenue managers continuously updating your inventory on major online travel channels you are connected to but if you don’t keep an eye on these channels then for sure a large number of your rooms will remain vacant for the day- losing handsome revenue. As a major share of all hotel bookings are shifting from desktop to mobile this new types of channels are becoming a key distribution medium for your hotel distribution. Make sure your revenue managers are taking right decision and promotional tactics which is compatible to fulfil increasing demand of your potential guests.

Image Credit: NuStay

Thursday, July 23, 2015

5 travel sites UK Hotels Can’t Miss

The good time is back for the UK hotel industry. With economy firmly on the track after six years of recovery, travel mood in on the positives. However, the past few years of challenging economic condition has altered the mindset of travel consumers. They are more alert and are watching their pounds as they make arrangements for their travel. According to a Deloitte survey, 59% of holidaymakers today compare prices online, maintaining their recessionary behaviour. Historically high spenders, today’s British travellers are more likely to be influenced by peer recommendations than brand loyalty.

TripAdvisor Screen

The emergence of price comparison and review sites has changed the consumer purchase path from linear to multi-channel and fragmented. The digital revolution has empowered consumers with access to easy information, more product choices and a medium to raise their voices. It’s no wonder; TripAdvisor today is UK’s top travel site with 27.1 million monthly visitors. The evolution of travel from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market is now almost complete especially in matured markets. Hotel needs to get out of the cookie-cutter approach and relook at their distribution strategies.

Here are my picks of five channels in the United Kingdom which have set new rules.

SEE ALSO: 5 Online Travel Agents shaping the travel industry in the Middle East

TripAdvisor.com

92% UK travellers read TripAdvisor review before choosing an accommodation -making the travel giant the most popular travel site in UK. It took them fifteen years to reach where they are today, but TripAdvisor today has become the single biggest travel influencer. Last year the guest review giant launched it’s much talked about Instant Booking feature, which allows users to research, compare, choose and now book hotels, in other words, complete the buying journey while staying within TripAdvisor user shell. Much though it would like to deny acting as an OTA, fact remains that after the launch of instant booking feature, TripAdvisor now has advantage of being a review site, meta-search and booking engine – all within one platform.

LastMinute.Com


50% travellers in UK take short breaks at the last minute. The country where 6 million people use mobile phones to book getaway breaks on the same day it is no wonder that last minute travel will play a major role for generating revenue to the hoteliers. According to a recent report by PhoCusWright, about the 30% bookings that come from Hotel Mobile booking platforms; 70% of them are for same day bookings. This makes LastMinute.Com, which offers hotel rooms at a heavily discounted rate for the last minute travellers, in an advantageous position. Acquired by Travelocity in 2005 the company currently serves 17 million British travellers who rely on the accommodation provider for their last minute booking decisions.

In the later part of the article we'll discuss about three more top performing online channels in UK which you need to focus on.

Image Credit: TripAdvisor

Friday, July 17, 2015

Stay Connected with latest news: Update from eRevMax- July 17, 2015

5 Online Travel Agents shaping the travel industry in the Middle East

One of the youngest regions of the world with over 50% of the population aged between 18- 34, travel in United Arab Emirates is largely influenced by digital experience. Always connected and eager to research, millennials in the country have become trend setters in the online travel segment. Empowered with easily available information, they are forcing hospitality brands in the region to realign their marketing strategies according to their preferences.

See more at: eRevMax Blog

Trending news of this week

Quantitative data-driven insights to make better business decisions

Data analysis is not new, yet everyone seems to be talking about it. What is new is the way companies are approaching using data as a core element in their day to day decision making. What is also new are the variety of tools available to measure and report on data. Whether you are a large enterprise company or an SMB, there are four key elements a company should embrace to execute better business decisions using quantitative data -training, measuring, balancing, and choosing.

See more at: Hospitalitynet

Google quietly adds instant booking for hotels, copying TripAdvisor

For the first time, Google users can book a hotel room without ever leaving the search giant’s familiar desktop interface. The addition of assisted booking to Google.com/hotels, the search giant’s metasearch tool, hasn’t been officially announced. But the Google-faciliated bookings appear to be slowly rolling out across a select handful of listings in U.S. desktop search.

See more at: Tnooz

A cheat sheet to drive direct business

Hotel marketers can take a page from most of the OTAs’ playbook and apply those lessons to their own direct presence. Here are six e-commerce tips that can help you shift share away from OTAs and drive more direct business for your hotel.

See more at: Hotel News Now

Thursday, July 9, 2015

5 Online Travel Agents shaping the travel industry in the Middle East - Part II

In the first part of article (See Here) I mentioned two top performing online travel sales channels in the Middle East. In this part I've discussed three other channels that come in top five list and shaping the travel industry in the Middle East.

Agoda.com
Increase number of smartphone adoption, growing middle class and millenials getting online- these factors are creating more opportunities for travel agents to adapt new strategy to reach out new age customers. Agoda, a Priceline company is one of the most popular online travel agency in the Middle East.  According to a recent report by Skift, Agoda receives total 30.7 million unique visitors per month to its website of which majority of traffic comes from APAC and ME. The channel is gaining preference as a leading site among Middle-East bookers by adding inventory, enhancing mobile functionality and localizing content. Agoda has listed 1,211 properties in its website out of which 846 for Dubai only.

Agoda home page screen



Cleartrip.com
India based Cleartrip launched in the Middle East in 2011 with a $10 million investment and has become a key channel since its inception. Here travelers are more comfortable with the idea of booking online. Due to increase of smartphones and more online travel brands coming into the market, educated travelers comfortable with modern technology are visiting OTAs for travel arrangements rather going to traditional travel agents. Cleartrip which is new in this region has impressively acquired a large customer base, especially millennial travelers. Over 113,000 hotels worldwide are currently connected to Cleartrip and receives over 6 million unique visitors per month, while growing at 30% year-on-year. Quarterly Mobile Insight for Q4’ 2014 of Cleartrip shows over 53% of the total traffic emanates from the mobile channels overshadowing the desktop channel and over 70% customers use mobile as their only channel for transactions.  The more interesting fact is 15% of Cleartrip’s bookings in the Middle East and 25% of searches come from mobile as customers seem more confident of booking on mobile than on the website.

Asiaroom.com
Online commerce in the Middle East is still in the early stages of development, but the region's travel industry is growing fast, both online and offline. Online travel sales in Middle East in 2013 were US$ 2.3 billion which grew at whooping 17% last year. AsiaRoom is largely focus on the APAC and Middle East and provide destinations in the premium location Singapore, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Dubai for quick booking. AsiaRooms operates in approximately 180 countries, serving more than 30 million customers in over 20 source markets.

Middle East travel region is one of the fastest growing travel markets in the world- this gives a bigger scope to the online travel agents to reach out to the large consumer base. Although, new online booking channels are heavily investing in the region still a large number of travelers rely on the 6,000 existing traditional travel agents. As the Middle East is a diverse and complex market with unique online benefits and challenges hoteliers need to manage their rates and availability on regular basis with sophisticated channel manager like RateTiger. Contact us today if you want to connect with these channels or want a platform to manage these channels smartly.



Hisham Diab is Sales Manager, MEA/ Africa/ Turkey at eRevMax. He can be reached at hishamd@erevmax.com

Thursday, July 2, 2015

5 Online Travel Agents shaping the travel industry in the Middle East

Close to 12 million travelers will visit Dubai this year, making it the fifth most popular city in the world for international visit. In spite of the political volatility in the Middle East, the outlook for the hospitality industry in the United Arab Emirates remains strong. The growing importance of Dubai International Airport, which has become the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passenger traffic, has contributed immensely to the growth of the hotel industry in Dubai.



One of the youngest regions of the world with over 50% of the population aged between 18- 34, travel in United Arab Emirates is largely influenced by digital experience. Always connected and eager to research, millennials in the country have become trend setters in the online travel segment. Empowered with easily available information, they are forcing hospitality brands in the region to realign their marketing strategies according to their preferences.


A high spend market, OTA sales in the Middle East have reached USD$3 billion in 2014, representing about 17% of total sales. With 94% of the populating owing a mobile device, there is a clear shift in booking patterns toward mobile and tablet booking devices. Traditionally a last-minute market, the surge of mobile connectivity has also reduced the booking window considerably. Compared to the word average of 23 days, the average hotel reservation lead time for UAE is now a mere 13, one of the lowest. Online travel bookings, which represent 25% of all bookings in the Middle East, are forecast to grow in 2015 and 2016 to reach 36% by the end of 2017 when online revenue is expected to reach $35 billion.
In this article we list out five online travel agents who are playing vital role in shaping the online travel industry in the region.

Booking.com

With over 1000 listed properties, Booking.com is the most popular travel agency in UAE. The Priceline owned OTA major has expanded its listings in the region by about 25 percent over the past year, comprising 200 new properties. Dubai ranks sixth in terms of global inbound travel bookings for Booking.com, and the channel controls over 50% on OTA market in the region. With 166 million unique visitors per month to its website Booking.com still rules the online travel by a large margin over its competitors Expedia and TripAdvisor. The online travel major is not only holds number one position in terms of unique page visits but also in total room nights booking. Every day over 850,000 room nights are reserved onBooking.com through its website and mobile apps attracting travelers from both the leisure and business sectors across the globe. Though travelers in this region search their favorite destination, preferred hotel online, but when it comes to bookings, they prefer to traditional travel agents to make a purchase.

Expedia.com


In the last couple of years OTAs in the Middle East has grown rapidly at compound average growth rate of 18% with Expedia.com—the first OTA and one of the key players in the region. In 2012 online travel sales in the Middle East estimated 2.3 billion or 13% of total travel sales. To reach out growing customer base with high disposable income, familiar with advanced technology and excited about living a modern lifestyle online travel agent like Expedia is coming up with new offerings that suit their customer portfolio. With 59.3 Million monthly uniquevisitors Expedia.com is the third largest online travel agents right behind Booking.com and TripAdvisor. The company has around 800 properties listed in its website and is the second most sought after online travel agents in Middle-East.

In the later part of my article I'll discuss three more top performing online travel sales channels are shaping the travel industry in the Middle East.

Image Credit: Freepik PublicDomainPictures


Hisham Diab is Sales Manager, MEA/ Africa/ Turkey at eRevMax. He can be reached at hishamd@erevmax.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

eRevMax’s LIVE event series prove to be a great platform for London hoteliers

As part of the London Technology Week, the LIVE in London event had all the ingredients of a great networking evening. Well, it turned out to be spectacular and how!


eRevMax and Luxury Hotels Group joined forces to bring LIVE in London – an exclusive evening event to top city hoteliers at the five star ball room of The Montcalm London Marble Arch last week on June 18.

With over 150 hoteliers in attendance, the evening witnessed educational sessions covering latest market trends, new distribution techniques and consumer behaviour patterns to understand the world of BIG data and how to leverage actionable intelligence by integrating all systems to be operationally managed from one single dashboard!

The event proved to be one-of-a-kind opportunity to interact and build business relationships with top hoteliers, technology solution providers and distribution channels, all unanimously agreeing to the relevance of integrated platforms in today’s business scenario.

The sessions were followed by great peer-to-peer networking over drinks and canap├ęs. The casino table grabbed its share of attention and people enjoyed playing with fun money. The icing on the cake was the big Prize Draw where lucky winners got to take away some valuable market intelligence reports from STR, complimentary product setup from eRevMax and AVQuest, digital marketing audit and revamp of digital strategy by Luxury Hotels Group and other treats for the summer from other sponsors.

The event closed with a thumping applause and rave reviews. A special thanks to all our partners and presenters for their contribution and for helping make LIVE in London a great evening!

Partners and presenters include Luxury Hotels Group, Duetto, Revinate, STR, AVQuest, HoistLocal, Skyware and SnapShot.




Cristina Blaj is Sales Director at eRevMax.  She can be reached at cristinab@erevmax.com



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Top five trends which will shape US Hospitality industry this year - Part II

In my previous article (See Here) I've talked about Last Minute Bookings & Mobile Wallet that are the ongoing trends in the US here is the later part of the article.

Don’t underestimate the power of Meta & OTA

In the last couple of years metasearch has become a strong and separate medium for providing hotels more direct bookings – though OTAs still the largest medium for hotels to sell their rooms. But with the launch of InstantBooking by TripAdvisor last year hotel veterans prophesise this is going to change the concept of contemporary hotel distribution. Hoteliers who were present at the event stated that in the coming future more and more hotels will opt for CPA (Click per Action) model which is more cost effective and gives better ROI. The future of hotel distribution is going to be mix of OTA and metasearch- one is stand for its dominating market share and the later to give more direct booking reducing commission money paid to the OTAs.

Customer Journey: It’s evolving

An eMarketer report states that 4.55 billion people in our planets own a mobile phone. The global smartphone audience in 2014 was 1.75 billion and by the end of 2017, 50% of world population will have a smartphone. In US alone every people (327 million) own a mobile phone and more than 64% people (182 million) have smartphones – the number simply cannot be denied.   Such tremendous growth of mobile and accessibility of high-speed internet have changed the purchasing behaviour and travel journey of the people.  Over last three years US economy has reached to a stable position after its Great Economic Recession. Now, with more capital flows the middle class millenials continues its surge- spending their money on shopping and travel planning. The tech-savvy travellers with their always connected device are constantly researching about their favorite travel destination, hotels and sharing these experiences on social media. A traveller’s decision is taken much before he/she chooses an accommodation. They look for the right time to get their favourite rooms at right price doing comparison search at the very last moment.


Reputation management: It matters

While exchanging our views at the event I realized one thing in the coming years user generated content is going to be a top priority area for the hoteliers. Currently, there are total 3 billion internet users and 1.96 billion social media users in the world- it is no wonder that key hotel investment trends in 2015 would include the development of one-to-one relationship with guests through reputation management and personalized marketing. Managing reputation is no longer considered about how many positive reviews you have on TripAdvisor. It is about a conversation with your guests and what are their overall views about your property they are sharing on various social media channels.

A recent survey by Laterooms.com suggests that 90% of travellers would avoid booking hotels labelled as “dirty” in online review sites. As an increased number of travellers using Facebook, Twitter to search about hotel information it is becoming crucial for hotel operators to manage their property’s reputation through a reputation management tool. Properties who want to monitor and manage their reputation will need a one-stop solution like RateTiger Review to consolidate all online guest reviews from various travel review and social media websites engaging in one-to-one conversation. If you engage with your guests in a conversation and respond to their needs publicly will definitely help you to win the trust of your guests which will drive more loyal customers for the future.


US travel market is the most diversify market in the world. Future of travel in this country is going to depend upon data-driven strategy.  As travel market is becoming more complex you need to understand various steps of travel journey through semantic analysis based on the available data to take more predictive decision.

Jan Mura is Director of Sales- Americas at eRevMax.  He can be reached at janm@erevmax.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Stay Connected with latest news: Update from eRevMax- June 17, 2015

Top five trends which will shape US Hospitality industry this year

The first generation travellers who are connected to the world with internet have become the fastest growing customer segment in hospitality industry. Travellers aged between 18 to 34 comprise the largest and most diverse segment of US population. These hyper-connected travellers are communicating with the entire world in a new way with their always connected device- using laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

See more at: eRevMax Blog

News Trends

THE BATTLE FOR ONLINE TRAVEL CONSUMERS: WHO WILL WIN?

Will the Internet – and online travel in particular – end up being dominated by juggernauts? Do online travel agencies (OTAs) stand a chance in a world where search engines offer e-commerce facilities, and giant retailers get into travel?

See more at: Web In Travel

Pushing Rates: Getting More Out of Every Room Night

The major hotel brands are assembling integrated software systems for their hotels that are stocked with advanced revenue management tools that automate the pricing process as much as possible, allowing operators to be much more strategic in their distribution and room rate decisions.

See more at: Lodging Magazine

Website, GDS and OTA: the right mix in hotel distribution channel investments

Investing marketing dollars in these online distribution channels is becoming essential if hoteliers want to retain customers, improve hotel positioning, and gain a competitive advantage in markets that are sometimes saturated with hotel supply. The Internet has made marketing more measurable and accountable with different metrics and analytics that show the contribution of marketing to the bottom line.

See more at: HVS

Hotel brands must travel cross-channel route to bookings

To engage consumers on their path from discovery to purchase, hotel marketers must sell the way their customers wish to buy and ultimately, that means distributing the brand effectively across all consumer facing touch points.


See more at: Mobile Commerce Daily

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Top five trends which will shape US Hospitality industry this year

The first generation travellers who are connected to the world with internet have become the fastest growing customer segment in hospitality industry. Travellers aged between 18 to 34 comprise the largest and most diverse segment of US population. These hyper-connected travellers are communicating with the entire world in a new way with their always connected device- using laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

In the LIVE in New York, an event organized by us to discuss the hotel technology trends, from our partners BookingForce, HRS and roomlia to hoteliers from Hilton, Marriot, Wyndham, Warwick Hotels, Wellington Hotel all talked about the challenges of dealing with the hyper-connected segment. With the advance of technology, the shift towards mobile is dramatic and disruptive. According to a PhoCusWright report around 75% of U.S. travelers own a smartphone and the numbers are continuously increasing with 4 out of 5 mobile travel booking are being made for hotel accommodation. With half the year gone, here are five definite trends that I reckon, are shaping the US hospitality industry this year.

Mobile does not mean last minute

The growing popularity of HotelTonight and BlinkBooking is a testimony to the growth of last minute bookings. PhoCusWright reports that one in four mobile bookings are made at the last minute, where OTAs with stronger presence score high against the brand sites. In fact for every 10 last minute bookings, 7 are being made at the OTA sites. This has prompted major OTAs like Booking.com to invest heavily in this segment. Earlier this year, Booking.com launched Booking Now, a mobile app which lets guests book up to 48 hours in advance.



However, mobile’s influence on traveler goes beyond last minute, and now has impacted all phases of the travel life cycle. Research says, about 37%of US travelers use a mobile device in their trip planning – with a significant majority of them switching between the tablet and smartphone. Interestingly, a significant 27% of the mobile travel audience belongs to the high income category earning over $100,000 per year. Clearly, if you have not yet invested in your mobile channel, it’s high time to do that.

Mobile Wallet: New smart payment option

You might have your hotel in finest location and offer the best rate on your brand.com site and pride yourself of providing superior facilities to your guest, but have you integrated the mobile wallet?




Today’s modern guests want a hazard free travel experience- expects not to face front desk of the hotel to check-in or pay bills. According to a recent survey by SmartBrief and The Wall Street Journal shows more than 75% US travellers carry a smartphone and 50% travellers carry at least two devices while they are on vacation. This means your guests expect there should be an arrangement so that they can use their technology at your hotel- whether to conduct business, contact the valet, request service from housekeeping or pay from their mobile device. Here comes the mobile payment option which eliminates unnecessary delays. One of the largest hotel groups in the world Marriot Hotels was first to launch mobile check-in and check-out options on its mobile application back in 2013 and now offering its guests Apple Payment option. Another big name in Hotel industry Starwood Hotels is also offering the same service to its guests- now guests have the ability to pay accommodation charges using their mobile wallet, Apple Pay. This means hotel guests will no longer have to carry their credit cards or cash in their wallet. As smartphone going to replace physical wallet more and more hotels in the coming years will implement this medium to enhance their guest experience.

In next part of the article I'll talk about three more trends which are shaping the US hospitality industry.


Jan Mura is Director of Sales- Americas at eRevMax.  He can be reached at janm@erevmax.com