It’s everyone’s favorite time of the week again…. Friday Fuel Time!
This week, we talk the Yahoo/Bing/Google debacle, a brand spanking new Google Hotel Ads feature, shifts in traveler booking behavior, and much more about changes within our industry.
Changing Paces = Changing Interfaces
Are you tired of hearing about how evolving technology is improving the guest experience? Too bad. Keyless entry, mobile payment systems, and interactive in-room features are beginning to become the norm at more and more hotels across the world. As technology and travel continue to grow together, so do customer expectations. Personalization and customization are the next big way in which travel is going to change in the next several years. Even if your hotel isn’t quite ready to go through a complete technology overhaul, it is important to be sure that you are up to date with what visitors are expecting in a standard hotel experience.
Celebrity Breakup: Yahoo Bing Edition
In case you haven’t heard the latest search engine gossip, the rumor mill is true: Yahoo and Bing are officially over…. Well, kind of. The industry began to buzz earlier this week when Google search results were being shows across the Yahoo platform which was formerly using Bing as their exclusive search partner. A new deal, however, dictates that Bing results must be served 51% of the time…. Leaving the other 49% open to experimentation. The real question becomes, what is Yahoo’s play here? Our prediction is that they are putting themselves in a good position to promote their new ad platform, Gemini and to slowly but surely push out their own products in lieu of others. What is your position on the recent Yahoo changes?
Resort Fees? YOLO
Hotel / resort fees have been a sore spot lately and have been gaining more and more attention with the media and federal regulation groups. Well, the gavel has finally been put down on the matter. This week, the Federal Trade Commission ruled that hotels do not have to add in resort fees to advertised rates. The reactions are mixed and I am sure you can guess where the split is…. Consumers are concerned while hotels are breathing a sigh of relief. Where do you stand on the matter?
Surprise Google Hotel Ads Feature
Google is always full of surprises and this week was no exception. Thursday morning, Google moved silently and under the cover of night to unroll a brand new Hotel Ads feature – instant booking. This new feature allows searchers to book a hotel without leaving the Google interface. Formerly, the “book” button took searchers to a hotel’s own booking engine. Now, however, searchers can fill out any required information through a Google popup. Do you think this new feature will impact the Hotel Ads user experience or hotel booking conversion rates?
Travelers Believe In Brands
A recent survey by MMGY revealed some interesting and important travel industry shifts. Notably, 64% of US travelers believe that they will get a better rate on a brand’s website versus only 15% of travelers who trust OTAs to find them the best rate. Hooray! All of our hard work is paying off. Demographic breakdowns revealed some interesting differences in how people book travel and where people believe they will get the best rates, but the fact that a great majority of travelers agree that booking directly on a hotel website will yield the best rates speaks volumes to how the industry as a whole is changing.
Wearable Tech Woes
Wearable schmearable…. Unfortunately for many who jumped on the early adoption train, it doesn’t look like wearable tech is going to be mainstream any time soon, particularly for the travel industry. Airfarewatchdog recently surveyed more than 2,000 travelers and found that almost 70% have no plans to purchase any type of wearable tech any time soon. Womp. Does this mean that wearable tech is dead? Certainly not. But, if you are working on developing a huge strategy centered around this new platform you might want to shift focus for a bit while these new gadgets gain momentum.
Loews Hotel Ad Campaign Gets Real
How real, you ask? The hotel group’s first ad campaign in two years features images that were shared on social media by actual guests –which is about as real as you can get. To quote the CMO, “The images guests take during their stay convey their actual thoughts, feelings and experiences, allowing us to show future guests what it’s really like to stay at Loews Hotels & Resorts.” The images will be used across all marketing channels – traditional and digital.
Bye Bye Buy
Do you recall all of the recent buzz about “buy” buttons that many social sites have rolled out over the past few months? Well, as it turns out, most of that buzz was uncalled for. Despite the potential that these instant transaction buttons present, a new study by Forrester Research indicated that limited availability and poor execution are leading to rather abysmal conversion rates. The whole idea of these precisely placed buttons was to take advantage of the impulse buying behaviors but little has been proved on the effectiveness of this strategy. Improvements are inevitable as more and more marketers begin to test and optimize these tricky little buttons, but this will certainly take time and effort to perfect.