Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Fuel. We have a packed roundup for you today with news on a new Starwood Hotel brand, tips for a flawless hotel PPC campaign, and much more.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Hotel PPC Made Easy
Many hoteliers may already be familiar with the concept of pay per click advertising and may already be running a few campaigns on familiar platforms like AdWords or Bing. But, how familiar are you with pairing the correct type of PPC campaign with different levels of the customer journey? Advertisers offer many different campaign types and it takes a truly savvy hotel marketer to match these with the appropriate stage of the conversion funnel. Fret not, though, we’ve made this easy for you with our latest Hotel PPC post that can help you reach the right person with the right ad at the right time.
Marriott Has #NoRagrets
Marriott International has gained attention for their new direct booking campaign, particularly from OTAs and other alternative booking channels. The campaign featured a series of YouTube ads with comedian Grace Helbig communicating that “it pays to book direct”. The brand issues a statement supporting their choice to encourage direct bookings, clarifying that the goal of the campaign was to simply raise awareness about the benefits of booking direct rather than aiming to undercut agents. What are your thoughts on their approach?
Pick & Pay Is The New Way To Play
In order to remain competitive with more affordable vacation rental sites and other increasingly affordable accommodations options, some hotel brands are taking an entirely new approach to the traditional hotel experience. “Pick and pay” is a new concept that allows guests to pick and choose exactly what amenities they’d like to enjoy, and pay for, during their stay. Air travel is another industry that is taking a similar approach by “unbundling” products and services that might normally be included with a more traditional experience. Optional amenities might include toiletries, towels, wifi, and even an in-room TV. Guests have the option during the check-out process to pick which amenities they’d like and which amenities they can live without. What are your thoughts on this new approach to travel?
Could the rise of booking alternatives like Airbnb force hotels to lower their rates to stay competitive? Most likely – according to a recent study be Merrill Lynch. Currently, Airbnb listings makes up as much as 1.2% of all hotel offerings. However, the popular site is expected to see listing growth as high as 50% Y/Y and could take up to 4.3% of hotel inventory by 20/20. What could this rapid growth mean for hotel brands? A lot, particularly when it comes to remaining competitive from a price position. How will your hotel handle the growth of more affordable booking alternatives?
About That Mobile Site…
38%. That is the percentage of mobile travel shoppers that have abandoned a travel booking on a mobile device due to a poor mobile booking experience. Thought other sectors have higher abandonment rates (notably clothing with a staggering 60% abandonment rate), this percentage still represents a large number of lost revenue for hotels and other travel related businesses. So what exactly is the issue? Well, there are a few. Usability was cited as the largest issue as many mobile websites and apps are still slow to load and respond. Other common booking issues include the navigation, payment process, and screen size. Is your hotel website optimized for a flawless mobile experience?
PS – We have a pretty awesome mobile app for hotels – get your free GuestExpress quote today!
Sheraton Grand Makes Its Grand Entrance
Starwood Hotels & Resorts officially launched their newest high-end hotel brand this week, Sheraton Grand. The new brand was rolled out at 10 locations worldwide, 8 of which are located in Asia. Starwood plans on rolling out an additional 40 Sheraton Grand properties by the end of 2015 and will have a total of 100 properties by the end of 2017. Sheraton Grand will offer premier amenities and customer service and Starwood has high hopes that the experience at its newest brand will ultimately create a halo effect for the hotel portfolio as a whole.