Friday Fuel – 3 Packs, Survey Tips, OTA Spending & More

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Google’s 3 Pack Is Dominating The Top Spot

Those in the hotel & tourism industry have undoubtedly noticed that Google’s local 7 pack has now been replaced with their new 3 pack. A new report from seoClarity has dug into this change a little further. They have found that while Google’s 7 pack of local listings used to claim the top spot in SERPs 25% of the time, the new 3 pack is taking the top spot 93% of the time. They also found that the 7 pack was in the top 2 spots 31% of the time, but the 3 pack is in the top 2 spots 99% of the time. What does this mean for hotel & tourism sites? It means that PPC and HPA are becoming increasingly important as Google pushes organic results further and further down the page. If your business needs help dominating PPC and HPA, contact Fuel today for more details.

Photo: Courtesy of MozCast

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Better Engagement For Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Like many other businesses, hotels receive some of their most useful information from customer satisfaction surveys. Surveys play an important role in figuring out what customers liked, didn’t like, and new items they would like to see. The problem is that many travel companies are not getting as much survey engagement as they could be. A recent article from Andrew King, a contributor to MarketingLand, gives some great advice on how to increase engagement and click-throughs for customer satisfaction survey emails. He touches on subject lines, setting expectations, incentives, optimizing for mobile and more.


Competition Rises As OTAs Continue To Spend More

We have been seeing acquisitions and mergers in the OTA space for some time now and hotels are putting up quite a fight to stay competitive. As OTAs like Expedia try to acquire other OTAs like Orbitz they are gaining more and more control of the market. They are also ramping up their spending making it extremely tough for smaller hotels and franchised properties to compete for bookings. Marriott recently tried to combat this by running ads with the tagline “It Pays To Book Direct,” but that was considered misleading by ASTA. As the battle for bookings continues, expect the competition between properties and OTAs to become more and more fierce.

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Aloft’s New Robot Butler

We here at Fuel love fun technology so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell you about Aloft’s new robot butler. The robot affectionately named, Botlr, is now a full time member of the Aloft staff in Silicon Valley. Botlr will be equipped with a uniform and nametag and can deliver amenities directly to guest’s rooms, which leaves more time for human employees to handle other matters. Botlr will be making a cross country tour and visiting Aloft Miami South Beach and Alost Manhattan-Downtown. We have seen similar technology in a Japan hotel, but Botlr is the first one of its kind currently operating the U.S. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before this type of technology becomes commonplace in the hotel industry.

Photo: Courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts


World’s Largest Hotel Reclaims Its Title

The First World Hotel in Malaysia has recently reclaimed its title as the World’s Largest Hotel. It held the title from 2006-2013 with 6,118 rooms but had lost it back in 2014 to the Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas, which had 7,117 rooms. Not to be outdone, The First World Hotel has undergone a massive renovation project which has increased their number of rooms from 6,118 to 7,351 to push it past its Vegas counterpart. The hotel has hosted over 35.5 million guests since it opened in ’06.

Photo: Courtesy of Resorts World Genting

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Baha Mar Continues To Struggle

We have covered the behemoth, Baha Mar Casino and Resort, in previous Friday Fuel posts. We talked about it’s proposed opening, then we covered its postponed opening and now we focus on Rosewood Hotels pulling out of its licensing agreement with Baha Mar. Originally scheduled to open in late March, Baha Mar’s opening was then pushed to May, but in June, development company, Baha Mar Ltd. Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The development company had told Rosewood that it was the legal owner of the real estate and when it was determined that they were not, and Rosewood would not receive their payment, they have since been released from their licensing obligation. We’ll be sure to keep our readers in the loop as this debacle continues to unfold.


Hilton Phases Out Hotel Room Porn

While the majority of Hilton properties have already eliminated adult video from their program offerings, Hilton has made it a point to eradicate on-demand pornography from its channel lineup all-together. In a recent statement, Hilton said “We have listened carefully to our customers and have determined that adult video-on-demand entertainment is not in keeping with our company’s vision and goals moving forward.” This seems like it could just be a publicity stunt to improve their image and be removed from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s “Dirty Dozen” list, since Hilton guests will probably still be able to access pornographic material on their phone, tablet and computer using the Hotel’s WiFi.

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Phil ForiskaFriday Fuel – 3 Packs, Survey Tips, OTA Spending & More
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