Welcome to this week’s Friday Fuel roundup!
This week, we have news on a huge Google announcement, additions to the HHonors App, a case study on Marriott’s email marketing strategy, and much more.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
G Is For Google, That’s Good Enough For Me
Tech giant Google just announced that they are going to be rolling out a new operational structure. Wait, what?! Indeed, Google is going to be part of a larger parent entity called Alphabet. Larry Page will run the company as CEO and Sergey Brin will serve as company President. Alphabet will serve as a collection of all Google companies and Google will be the largest product of the group. Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly traded entity and all shares will convert to the new company name. According to the founders, the change will allow them to take a more ambitious approach to exploring new opportunities and improve the transparency across all companies…. which is a pretty generic answer, to say the least. What is Google’s real play here?
Related: Google Local “Snack Pack” Rollout
This Just In: Responding To Guest Reviews Actually Matters… Like, A Lot
Though responding to hotel reviews online has always been a best practice, regardless of whether the review was a rant or a rave, a new study provides proof that these responses can actually make a huge difference in the long run. The study, conducted by Cornell University, found that a positive review score led to a higher RevPar for hotels, regardless of the amount of online reviews. Similarly, the RevPar of lower-end hotels increased as the number of reviews increased. Additionally, the study showed that a response by management could sway a person to change their negative review to a positive review and that ignoring a review could lead to guests going back and leaving an even worse review. Making sure your management team is trained and ready to respond to all reviews in a timely manner is an essential part of your online reputation management strategy.
The Key To Hilton’s Heart – Er – Rooms
Hilton is the latest hotel giant to introduce an express check in and keyless room entry feature, Digital Key. The new technology was rolled out this week as part of the Hilton HHonors app and gives guests the ability to bypass the front desk and to access their hotel rooms and other hotel areas that require a room key without having a physical key. Hilton is leading the way with their wildly popular hotel app. To date, there have been more than 5 million digital check-ins and the HHonors app has been downloaded more than 5 million times, all while maintaining an impressive 93% guest satisfaction score.
Where Is The Love?
Dear travel industry – quit hate selling me into everything. Sincerely, Everyone. This new term, “hate selling”, perfectly describes an emerging trend across many websites across the travel industry. The airline industry, for example, has unbundled everything to – in their eyes – create a more simplified travel experience. However, this over-simplification has led to a surcharge for virtually anything extra you could need, like carry-ons or special seating. Car rental sites are another notorious offender in the travel category that often treats customers like the bad guy and implement overly pushy sales tactics throughout the booking process. When did conversion rate optimization cross the line into being blatantly rude and obnoxious?
Email Marketing That Works – Marriott Case Study
Marriott International recently undertook the grand task of re-asserting itself as the world’s favorite travel company. While that may seem like s stretch, the massive marketing campaign that followed led to an 86% increase in Y/Y revenue, which is inarguably tremendous growth. To re-enforce their brand and achieve such growth, Marriott targeted their core customers – the frequent business travel sector and paid special attention to their Marriott Rewards customers. Email was an essential portion of the marketing campaign and included the creation of “year in review” content that was customized to each customer and advanced targeting techniques that reached the right customers at the right time. The precision and planning paid off and Marriott not only increased their revenue by over 80% Y/Y but also increased their email open rate by 20% and increased their email conversion rate by almost 10% Y/Y.
Related: Fuel Email Marketing Tips
World’s Longest Flight Debut
Emirates, an airline company based in Dubai, just announced plans for the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight. The new route, which will fly from Dubai to Panama City, Panama, clocks a whopping 8,588 miles in distance and will last approximately 17.5 hours. This beats out the long-standing winner, a Qantas flight from Sydney to Dallas, by 11 miles. Thought Emirates does provide in flight movies and meals, you might want to pack a few extra crossword puzzles and snacks for long haul. Do you think you could tolerate air travel that long?