It’s finally Friday and you know what that means – this week’s edition of Friday Fuel is hot off the press.
We’ve got huge news on a giant hotel merger, stats on holiday travel trends, predictions for 2016, and much more!
Marriott and Starwood and Mergers – Oh My!
In case you somehow missed it, Marriott International agreed to shell out a modest $12.2 Billion this week to purchase Starwood Hotels. This colossal combination will create the world’s largest hotel company with over 1 million rooms worldwide in more than 5,500 hotels across more than 100 countries. Additionally, the merger will give Marriott 30 leading brands in the hotel space including The Ritz Carlton, Westin, Sheraton, Renaissance Hotels, Meridien, and W Hotels – to name a few. What implications do you think this merger will have long term on the hotel industry?
Thanksgiving Travel = #TheWorst
There’s no disputing that holiday travel is among the worst things to have to deal with in the first world (ugh, the horror). Google recently compiled anonymous traffic data from Android devices and ranked cities with the worst traffic. Any guesses on the winners for worst holiday traffic? Last year’s data put Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and San Francisco on the top of the list that you don’t want to be on. Other top offenders include Philadelphia, Miami, Austin, Charlotte, and Honolulu – the odd man out from an otherwise unsurprising list.
Related: Infographic on #TheWorst types of airline passengers… do you have any to add?
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Hotel Trends for 2016
The end of the year is quickly approaching and you know what that means… Predictions for next year are rolling in hot and fast. TravelMarket released their top 5 travel trends for 2016 this week and a few might surprise you. Disruption is the hot buzzword this season and the report does mention this recent trend, specifically in the food and beverage industry. Other predictions include massive changes to the meeting space and the evolution of legacy hotel brands. What are your travel trend predictions for 2016?
Booking.com… So Much Time For Activities!
Popular online travel agent, Booking.com, appears to be shifting focus through a new partnership with GetYourGuide. Now, guests who book through Booking.com will receive a personalized email right before check in with a detailed list of things to do in the area. This list then directs the guest to a specific page that activities can be booked. Though this may seem like a standard pre-arrival email, the partnership benefits both parties based on the sheer volume of bookings through the OTA and offers a benefit to the guest by saving them time and energy when it comes to finalizing the last details of their vacation itinerary.
The city of New York announced a plan to spend more than $10 Million to regulate Airbnb and illegal hotels. Cities across the nation with highly saturated markets are getting pressure from residents and local organizations to getter regulate the lines between housing and vacation rentals and New York is one of the first to step up to the plate. Funding will be used for an awareness campaign to educate the public about hotel occupancy laws and new technology that uses data to find illegal operations. The administration understand that illegal hotel operations run through sites like Airbnb drain the already sparse housing market of affordable housing and want to work to better handle the issues.
Hotel Apps & SEO
A new Search Engine Land article provides some insight into how Google may soon crawl and rank apps and app only content. Apps, as we know it, are all the rage lately and hotels are jumping on the bandwagon as development costs decrease and usage statistics simultaneously increase… funny how that works. However, as apps become the norm, many marketers are left in the dark about the implication from a search perspective. New insight reveals that using the app indexing API is key for ranking app content and that more information is being used than originally thought. For example, the app indexing API can send information on app usage time to help determine authority. How do you think Google will evolve to understand and rank apps? Furthermore, if your hotel has a dedicated app, is app SEO an important part of your search strategy?
Related: Fuel offers a ready to go personalized hotel app – it’s pretty nifty, you should definitely check it out.