Friday, April 22, 2016

WTM Latin America: Top Trends to Watch

The fourth edition of WTM Latin America in Sao Paulo concluded last month. The largest travel trade fair in Brazil brought more than 5,900 unique travel trade visitors and over 1,000 buyers from around the world under one roof.  The event is a platform for the world to visit Latin America – the success of which can be gauged with the fact that business deals worth US$363 million were transacted across the three event days.
 
Julian Lindt at WTM Brazil
Like previous year, I was there to meet clients and prospects and interact with peers in the industry. Given Brazil will be hosting the Summer Olympics in Rio this year, we witnessed an increased number of hoteliers at the show looking for solutions and opportunities on how they could maximise from the upcoming events.

Julian Lindt and Alex Moura with a partner at WTM Brazil
According to Brazil's state-owned tourism agency - Embratur, an estimated 380,000 international tourists are expected to visit the country during the Olympic Games. Brazil welcomed over one million foreign visitors during the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and from then has continued to see an increased number of travellers visiting the country.
With such high demand, hoteliers see the growth prospects in the region and many hotel brands have started new projects to cater to these visitors.  The total number of hotels and condo hotels in Brazil in 2015 was pegged at 10,050 and total available rooms at 500,212. Hotels are looking to increase the room supply before the Summer Olympics to ensure they meet the demand effectively.
With more than two million people visiting the country every year and over one million expected to travel, hoteliers need a strong online distribution strategy to reach out to the global travellers for maximising revenues.
Julian Lindt is the Latam & Caribe Sales Director at eRevMax. He can be reached at julianl@erevmax.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

eRevMax partners with TripAdvisor to power instant booking for hotel guests

eRevMax has partnered with TripAdvisor to power instant booking for their accommodation clients. Instant booking makes it possible for properties to acquire bookings directly on TripAdvisor.


TripAdvisor’s instant booking functionality allows travelers to make reservations directly with participating accommodation businesses without leaving the TripAdvisor website. The reservations are delivered directly to the hotel or bed & breakfast via eRevMax. This is a powerful channel for independent properties to grow their business by acquiring more direct bookings from the world’s largest travel site, through a simple, commission-based model.

Through this certification, accommodation partners are now eligible to participate in instant booking on TripAdvisor and own the guest relationships from the moment of the reservation. The benefits are numerous – it’s simple to set up, leveraging technology that is already in place, and there are no upfront costs, making it a zero-risk opportunity for eRevMax hotel clients.

To find out more, please visit www.tripadvisor.com/instantbooking and to sign-up for the channel, contact eRevMax at marketing@erevmax.com.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

ITB Berlin 2016: LIVE OS all the way!

ITB Berlin continues to be a crowd puller and this year was no different. One of the largest travel trade events globally, ITB Berlin attracted a record 120,000 trade visitors that attended the show to meet over 10,000 companies that exhibited at the event.

eRevMax ITB Stand

The event provides a platform for travel and hospitality companies to showcase their products and services and is a great place to form new partnerships and acquaintances.

eRevMax witnessed a strong response for its newly launched LIVE OS platform attracting various new partners and clients to sign up for it. Our uniquely designed stand drew a lot of attention, so much so, that SnapShot, a hospitality analytics solutions provider and an exhibitor at ITB Berlin covered eRevMax in its blog, “First off, a shoutout to eRevMax for their cafe-style stand at ITB. We also like their (relatively) new analytics tool built into their LIVE OS product. A combination of nice design and a good user base makes this a solid booking and revenue-based analytics tool.”

It is important to reiterate that LIVE OS is a first of its kind hospitality operating system that offer hotels a single point of access to multiple applications and service providers for business process improvement through relevant call to actions.

4hoteliers.com, a leading hospitality publication, featured LIVE OS for its unique proposition.

While most of the feedback received at ITB was fantastic, we have to feature what Lukas Kakalejčík from Room Assistant had to say - “LIVEOS makes it so easy for all hotels to have relevant KPIs at their disposal. The platform helps them to identify the overall effectiveness of the applications they are using and thus measure their return on investment. LIVE OS definitely helps them to make informed decisions on the performance of their technology applications. We are happy to work one-to-one with our customers, and demonstrate how our programs improve their operations, sales and marketing, and revenue. They can see the real output it brings to the table,”

More than thirty companies have signed up to integrate as partners on LIVE OS, with many more in the consultation stage. ITB Berlin continues to be a great show and we look forward to the 2017 edition.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Top three travel trends to watch in 2016

With 2016 upon us, let’s take a quick look at the movers and shakers of 2015 – TripAdvisor launched its Instant Booking service, Google announced the Google Hotel Ads Commission Program, Amazon entered the travel space and Marriott acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide! Do these ‘events’ make predicting 2016 trends any easier? We are not sure! However, based on some industry reports and market research studies, here are some trends that we have derived for 2016 –

Less people, more data

Around 40% of the world’s population is online and they are interacting in newer ways. Internet continues to generate massive amounts of information and data. An IBM research shows that 2.5 exabytes (that's a whopping 2.5 billion gigabytes (GB)!) of data was generated in 2012 and this figure will get doubled by 2016. This data is a combination of all the activities happening online across platforms – desktop, tablets, laptops, mobile apps etc. A recent TripBarometer study by TripAdvisor shows that around 42% of travellers use smartphones to plan or book their trips. As technology is leading the way in hospitality, hotels need to focus on deciphering the data trends to offer the right products to travelers through the right channel.

eRevMax big data

Consolidation continues

Hospitality professionals would agree that 2015 continued to witness the consolidation trend. Over the last three years, two of the travel majors - Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group have been gobbling up one company after another. Earlier in 2015, Expedia announced to buy Orbitz for about $1.6 billion in cash following its acquisition of Travelocity. In order to gain supremacy over each other, Expedia and Priceline has spent collectively more than $7.6 billion over the last two years in various acquisitions. Regional biggies did not stay behind in the ‘merger & acquisition’ spree – Chinese online travel giant Ctrip acquired 62.4% share in eLong from Expedia. However, Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide was perhaps the most discussed news piece, making Marriott the largest operating hotel brand worldwide. While it’s difficult to predict who’s next, there definitely will be some more in the offing for 2016.

Guests of the Future

In a world where consumers are using multiple devices and interacting on social media platforms, it has become imperative for hotels to forge relationships with them, particularly in the digital realm. Omnipresent information and instant communication has made competition even fiercer. Hotels those are quick to respond to guests and be visible at every touch point – be it guest review sites or mobile optimized brand website, will surely be preferred over their competitors.

eRevMax Guest Review Management

An eMarketer report shows that in 2013, one in four people was connected through social media – i.e. around 1.73 billion people across the globe. This number is supposed to rise to 2.55 billion by 2017. These users are actively sharing experiences and writing reviews on social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Hotels that are monitoring and responding to these reviews and employ innovative technologies to interact with guests will have an edge over their competitors.


With scientific use of big data and new technologies, hotels can attract modern travellers, manage daily operations effectively and provide best-in-class guest services.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

3 areas where Hotels need to incorporate big data analytics

If I have to choose the buzz word for the hospitality technology industry in 2015, it would surely be big data. From BI (business intelligence) to BB (Big Data) the shift is definite, and here to stay. Big Data, which Wikipedia defines as ‘a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate’ has become the central to the business strategy of a smart hotelier in the recent years. With the data volume growing about 50% a year, hotels need big data analytics to define and shape consumer behavior, and maximize their efforts to reach, engage and compel target audiences to action.

Monitor your customer at every touch point

Here’s an interesting fact from Google’s recent study on traveler. Almost half (46%) of travellers who carry out mobile for travel research make their final decision on mobile and then turn to another device to make the booking. With users constantly switching devices during the purchase journey, and getting influenced by social media, mobile and other web-based exchanges, hospitality industry is being forced to constantly adjust and refine their marketing strategies. 


Faced with a multi-faceted and multi-platform traveler whose preference would change depending on the type of trip, hotels need to get close to them by capturing prompt, accurate information – and correctly interpreting it – to change the course and outcome of interactions.

Integrate Big Data Analytics into your Revenue Management System

Revenue management is all about selling the right product to the right person at the right channel. Dynamic pricing helps hotels to optimize demand with flexible pricing, however, with the online distribution landscape continuously throwing new challenges, the complexities of managing hotel’s revenue has increased many-fold.  With each channel having its rule, segment, buying behavior and platform, managing rate and availability in real-time to these channels can become a nightmare.  Gone are the days when hotels would depend on historical data for rate forecasting – today’s revenue managers need to consider consumer’s buying behavior, search pattern, social networking habit for right pricing. This is where big data analytics come into help revenue managers include individual consumer behaviors, including loyalty and lifetime value, past purchases of ancillary services, and online shopping activity in their pricing model.

Personalized marketing for maximum benefit

Each customer is different. So treat them differently. According to an Adobe research, about 70% of today’s online buyers expect personalized service from brands. For hospitality industry, expectation is even higher. OTAs, with their scale of marketing budget and technology superiority, has been one of the earlier adopters of Dynamic Content Personalization’ which allows websites the ability to recognize a past visitor, tag them and create personalized, unique and optimized experiences for consumers – finely tuned for each individual preference. For hotels, personalization also gives them an opportunity to serve the guest better, earn loyalty, while gathering 360 degree view of the guest throughout the guest journey to provide more relevant offers, improve communications and increase engagements. Big Data involves the collection, management and analysis of multiple sources of data, both structured and unstructured, while analytics give the insight to optimize the information. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

WTM London 2015: Three hot trends in global travel industry

WTM London continues to be a crowd-puller and a great networking platform and this year is no different for us. During the four days of the event hundreds of hoteliers, travel technology professionals from all around the world gathered at eRevMax stand TT550 to witness the launch of LIVE OS and I personally got chance to interact with them to discuss more about recent trends in the hospitality industry.

Here I find these are top three trends which are influencing the global travel industry at this moment.

Online Travel Leads the Way

Online travel channels (OTAs) continue to outpace other distribution channels, and the two giants Priceline and Expedia dominating the show by no small margin. According to a PhoCusWright estimate, close to 50% of the total OTA bookings are controlled by them. For Europe, the figure is even more skewed, with the duo controlling over 70% of the market. With smartphones and tablets in nearly every consumer’s hands today, bookings from this  channel is growing faster than any other channel, and currently accounts for 12.5% of overall bookings. By 2017, Euromonitor predicts that more than 30% of online travel bookings by value will be made on mobile devices. The emergence of mobile as a serious channel has also forced the hospitality industry to focus on a seamless experience for travellers as they switch devices on the road to purchase. The OTAs have been frontrunner, and with big hotel chains also joining in, it’s only a matter of time before the personalized marketing strategy becomes the norm for the hospitality industry.



Smart Travel is the new regular

As the travellers’ personal preferences are changing constantly hoteliers are also incorporating new technologies to transform the travel experience of their guests. Hotels are now investing on the big data analytics to identify future trends and changing preferences of customers. Analytics also provide a better sense of direction for the hotels to segment guests according to booking trends, behavior and other factors in order to reveal their likelihood to respond to promotions and emerging travel trends.

The understanding guest preferences, purchase behavior like frequency, length of stay, booking channel and profit potential are critical for hotels to increase the brand loyalty and upsell opportunity of their most valuable guests. Global hotel chains are already experimenting with personalized pricing based on customers’ online activity, preferences and predictive analytics. One of the challenges hotels face today is the dependence of multiple systems which produce own reports. A single platform, offering integrations of all technology solutions, and actionable intelligence based on data is the future. 

CPC to CPA

Hospitality industry is constantly evolving - this year we’ve seen big players have changed their business models. Now the travel giants are shifting from CPC (Cost per click) to CPA (Cost per action) model and this is welcomed by the hotel industry due to its cost effectiveness. Recently, TripAdvisor announced Instant Booking feature – now consumers can book their accommodations right from the TripAdvisor site without leaving the booking window. Google has also followed in the same footsteps of TripAdvisor, killing its metasearch site Google Hotel finder. Earlier last month, the search engine giant launched Google Hotel Ads Commission Program allowing hoteliers to take full control starting from a guest’s search process to the completed booking contrary to the OTAs. As in this new meta-OTA model, hotels only have to pay to Google after a successful booking this will help hoteliers to increase their revenue and lessen dependence on online travel agents.

Global Travel is Booming

Though the economic condition across the globe is uncertain due to rising geopolitical unrest, a potential US interest rate rise, oil price volatility and the Eurozone crisis, growth of travel industry were remain the same. In 2014 international tourist arrivals was 1.1 billion up by 4.3% and by the end of this year the figure will be slightly down. Despite recent economic slowdown travel expenditure is rising, with the Asia Pacific region predicted to see the fastest growth in inbound expenditure over the next five years.

The global hospitality industry has become more competitive in last five years. Organizations which are responding quickly to the technology led opportunities are creating new revenue streams and driving higher profits than ever before.

Image Credit: WTM Trends Report
**With inputs from PhoChusWright & Euro Monitor International




Claudia De Leo is the Sales & Marketing Manager at eRevMax. She can be reached at claudiad@erevmax.com






Tuesday, November 3, 2015

WTM London: Launch of eRevMax’s Partner Program

WTM London continues to be a crowd-puller and a great networking platform and this year is no different for us. Over the next four days we'll be at WTM London, you can witness the launch of our next generation LIVE OS and Partner Program.

Hundreds of hoteliers, travel technology professionals gathered at eRevMax stand TT550 to witness the launch of LIVE OS and eRevMax Partner Program. Here are some glimpses of our stall at WTM on day 1.




The LIVE OS platform makes it easy for hotels to access the providers they work within one solution with single sign on.  The provider retains a stronger relationship with the hotel and gets the opportunity to reach out to thousands of hotels globally through the built in marketplace in LIVE OS.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

TTG Rimini: Three trends shaping the travel industry in Italy

The fifteenth edition of TTG Incontri took place at Incoming Hall, Italy. With over 2,400 exhibitors and more than 1,000 top-quality buyers representing 85 countries, the exhibition was a milestone for the travel and hospitality enthusiasts.

TTG Rimini Stats


I attended the event with my colleague Francesca Stagi to establish new contacts and generate new business in Italy. Thousands of hospitality and travel technology professionals from all around the world gathered under one roof to find new partners thus proving to be a meeting place between supply and demand. It was a great opportunity for us to understand new trends in Italian hospitality industry and pitching latest offerings from RateTiger.

Team eRevMax at TTG Rimini

Here are three trends I find the most important that are shaping Italian travel industry.

Influx of Inbound Tourists

Despite the slow economic progress, travel and tourism in Italy has seen a positive growth – thanks to influx of inbound tourists to the country. Italy is the third most popular destination in Europe in terms of tourist arrivals. In 2014, a whopping 48.6 million tourists crossed the borders to travel to the country and this number will only grow bigger this year thanks to a wide range of offers from hoteliers and online travel agents. This has made a positive impact in attracting large numbers of inbound tourists and the potential impact on Italian travel and tourism industry.

Mobile travel matters
While interacting with visitors and industry veterans in the exhibition, the one thing I observed is that the rise of mobile phones is the most prominent force behind the change of travel scenario in Italy. In particular, mobile transaction in travel generated a double digit value in 2014 led by widespread use of smartphones and tablets in Italy. Young and affluent travellers in the country are more comfortable with mobile apps and websites that forced the large number of hotels and online travel agents to use mobile as a channel to reach higher number of consumers.
Oh! Online travel is booming

Last but not the least; online travel agents in Italy are the largest source of revenue generator when we talk about online travel. Booking.com is undoubtedly the king of online travel agents in Italy with 63% market share controlled by the OTA giant. Though three major OTAs (Booking.com, Expedia and HRS) rule the country, emergence of new travel agents in the Italian market and the rise of peer-to-peer services is going to influence the travel scenario in future.

The event was the cornerstone for us to showcase our recent developments in RateTiger products. This was also an opportunity for us to meet new partners and we are excited to start collaborating with them!


Claudia De Leo is the Sales & Marketing Manager at eRevMax. She can be reached at claudiad@erevmax.com.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Google’s direct commission-based bookings – 3 things hotels should know

Let’s demystify the big news from Google who has changed its business model for hotel bookings yet again! Google Hotel Finder has been silently sun-setted; Google is now pushing what it calls the Hotel Ads Commission Program. This is an attempt to enter the OTA space however shying away from being an intermediary; rather Google aims to be a facilitator of commission based bookings.

Contrary to the OTA models where the channel “owns” the guest relation, through Google Hotel Ads, hotels will be in full control starting from a guest’s search process to the completed booking. And most importantly, hotels only pay to Google for successful bookings.

Here are 3 things that you should know to make this new platform work for you -

More revenue for small and independent hotels

Everyday millions of people search for various destinations and hotels on Google - that means millions of potential guests for your hotel. In 2013, Google launched its cost-per-click model of Google Hotel Ads which small and independent hotels used to get more direct traffic to their brand.com website. But with this new commission-based model which is similar to TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking feature; Google aims to take out the complexity of the bidding process and charge hotels direct commissions only for completed bookings. This will help hotels confidently use Google as a distribution platform. With over 340 million monthly unique visitors, TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking feature has become a big hit and Google needed to widen its offering to stay in the game – which it has done now with this new development. It’s time for small independent hotels to take the first mover’s advantage and leverage Google’s huge audience base.


Converting guests within the same booking window

Today online consumers want quick information and simpler booking processes - which means they prefer to get information in one place instead of having to look around on different websites. In the Cost per click (CPC) model, guests are re-directed to the hotel website – which takes some time and ultimately frustrates the guest who might not complete the booking process. With the new book on Google, the search engine major facilitates the complete booking process within the same window without the guest having to visit the hotel website. The process is seamless between the hotel, Google and the guest. As soon as a booking is made, the hotel sends a booking confirmation email directly to the guest thereby owning the guest relationship from step one. The hotel also answers post-booking queries and handles changes to the reservation or cancellations.


Booking through multiple devices

Though mobile booking is growing exponentially among online travellers, desktop still holds number one position when it comes to hotel bookings. Perhaps this is the driving force behind Google’s move to launch this feature on desktop and tablet as well besides mobile devices- making it easier for more hotels to participate. Another interesting fact is travellers can avail information about hotel amenities within their search results. This added feature is an upsell opportunity for hoteliers to keep their potential guests updated on all the amenities that the hotel provides including Wi-Fi, free breakfast, parking availability, swimming pool, business centre etc.

With the exit of the Hotel Finder programme, Google is trying to reposition themselves as a ‘big brother’ in the travel industry – and is already becoming a threat to the online travel agents.

Image Credit: Google Blog