It’s that time of the week again – Friday Fuel.
This week, we have news on the shrinking hotel booking window, talks of a mega hotel merger, a leak that Google is testing a hotel price drop alert feature, and much more.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Be On Alert For Hotel Price Alert
Google is at it again. Ok, Google is pretty much always “at it again”. But this time they are testing out a new feature that could have a pretty big impact on the hotel industry: hotel price drop alerts. Assuming a person uses gmail, Google will now know if and when a person receives a hotel confirmation and will then alert that person if the price drops. Though Google has not confirmed, it is pretty obvious that they are tracking rates via their Hotel Ads platform. The new program, which is currently in beta, is only being tested internally and Google will not release any further details.
Mega Hotel Merger On The Horizon
InterContinental Hotels and Starwood Hotels & Resorts met late last week to begin tentative talks about a possible merger. Though the talks were just that – preliminary talks – the deal has the potential to create the world’s largest hotel group if it does go through. Starwood is reportedly considering several other hotel groups and several other strategies and consolidation is not set in stone. What implications do you think this mega merger could have?
Travel Trends – Shorter Booking Windows
Fuel is in a unique position within our market (Myrtle Beach) that allows us to capture and analyze data for a large percentage of hotels in our area. Our analysis has led us to stumble upon some interesting trends with regard to the hotel booking window: it’s shrinking. Data for June indicated significant increases in the 1-3 day booking window with simultaneous decreases for the 31-60 and 60-90+ day booking windows. We plan on keeping a close eye on this trend to see if holds true long term. Are you seeing similar patterns with your hotel booking windows?
Hotel Scams On The Rise
Consumers are being warned to be on their toes when it comes to booking travel plans online. According to a new study, the amount of fake / scam hotel websites is one the rise – big time. These phony sites often steal images and content from legitimate hotel websites to appear more legitimate and offer rock bottom rates to entice consumers to “book” – which really just steals personal and financial information. Why the sudden uptick? Well, the rise of mobile certainly seems to have a lot to do with it as the smaller screens make harder to spot the bogus websites. If anything, hopefully this will teach more people to book direct!
Amazon Travel Expansion
Amazon Travel, whoa, that’s still a thing? Yes – despite the lack of recent news about this up and coming OTA, particularly when you compare it to giants like Google, Amazon Travel is still indeed alive and well. In fact, Amazon Travel is slowly but surely on the rise and just rolled our availability in several new markets including San Fransico, Houston, and Atlanta. Additionally, they expanded the brand to “Amazon Destinations” to reflect the new growth. Unlike other travel sites that focus on pushing bookings for anyone and everyone, the focus of Amazon Destinations is to help consumers find weekend getaways within a driving distance, a market that was somewhat untapped prior to Amazon’s launch. Do you think Amazon’s approach will be successful?
AdWords Keyword Trivia Time
Can you guess the most expensive PPC keywords for 2015 so far? Perhaps something pharmaceutical or law related? Something related to New York of California? Well, those would all be good guesses. Spoiler alert: apparently everything really is bigger in Texas, including keyword bids. Check out this infographic from WebPageFX to see the full list.
The Do’s and Don’t’s of Instagram For Hotels
Instagram is the perfect platform for hotels to connect with guests and to showcase their unique features and amenities. So why aren’t more hotels jumping on the visual media bandwagon? Well, time and resources are a few reasons but that doesn’t make them good reasons. Marketing managers who use this simple platform can promote not only hotel but their destination, hold photo contests to promote engagement and sharing, and connect with key demographic – particularly millennials. Is Instagram an important social channel for your hotel?
Related: Instagram Rolls Out Advertising API