Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Fuel! We have lots of Airbnb news to discuss in addition to some cool marketing stats and new on a Hilton Hotels Wi-Fi jamming scam.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
The Two (Ugly) Faces of Airbnb
There has been a ton of media coverage on everyone’s favorite travel disruptor lately – and for good reason. The TL;DR version of the situation is that some cities, San Francisco being the main area of distress lately (though New York City doesn’t look far behind it’s west coast counterpart), are concerned that the travel site is taking much needed housing inventory off the market and entering it instead into the lucrative travel market. The result is nothing short of a housing crisis as landlords shift their focus to tourists and travelers, some offering hundreds of units for short term rent via Airbnb. San Francisco recently voted on new restrictions for the short term rental industry but the regulations were defeated, meaning a win for Airbnb – at least in the short term. However, other markets are sure to follow suit and fighting these regulations is costly. What are your thoughts on the Airbnb / housing shortage debacle?
Related: Airbnb’s Toll on NYC Hotel Industry
How People WANT To Be Marketed To
New research from MarketingSherpa reveals what type of marketing communications people actually prefer to receive. Shockingly, not all consumers absolutely hate all forms of advertising. Can you guess what channels performed better? According to the study, 49% of people prefer to subscribe to emails at a frequency of their choice while only 24% of consumers prefer to subscribe to emails at a pre-determined frequency. Additionally, consumers generally prefer to learn about new products via in-store browsing or via word of mouth. Check out the full survey results and let us know your thoughts!
Best Western Taking New Approach To Independent Partners
As the needs and wants of travelers have evolved, independent hotels have found a comfortable niche in the accommodations segment. Independent hotels have the unique opportunity to offer a one of a kind experience that might be different than what one might experience at a traditional chain hotel, and many chains are beginning to pay attention to this. Best Western, in particular, is beginning to brand out by offering partnerships with top tier independent hotels and is offering a rather unique pricing model to entice participation. The BW Premier Collection is targeting independent hotels top markets across the globe and functions on a pay-for-performance model versus a percentage of total room revenue, meaning hotels only pay a commission on bookings that come via Best Western. This opportunity seems like a truly beneficial relationship for all parties involved – would your independent property ever consider something like this?
TripAdvisor Too Good For TV
We’ve all seen at least one version of TripAdvisor’s aggressive TV ad spots at some point or another this year. The ads did a fairly effective job of increasing traffic and sales, to the dismay of many hotels, but the numbers were not impressive enough to justify the massive cost of the ad buys. Because of this, TripAdvisor has decided to pause all TV advertising effective 2016 and will focus that spend on other advertising channels. According to Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor CEO, the 350 million unique visits during peak months is strong enough to sustain current revenue and the results from the TV advertising were not strong enough to show any direct growth from an earnings perspective.
Hilton Gets Slapped With FCC Fine
Hotel Wi-Fi scamming isn’t a new phenomena but it certainly doesn’t seem to be going away either. Just last year, hotel giant Marriott was fined $600,000 for blocking guests’ Wi-Fi. This year’s offender? Another giant – Hilton Hotels. Two separate cases were involved this time – Hilton Hotels and M.C. Dean, the provider of Wi-Fi for the Baltimore Convention Center; fines for both cases exceeded $750,000. The Wi-Fi scam worked by intercepting guests personal Wi-Fi devices and creating an endless “trying to connect” loop, forcing the users to pay fees to access the venue Wi-Fi. What are your thoughts on hotels’ providing free Wi-Fi as a service versus charging for access?