Thursday, June 18, 2015

Top five trends which will shape US Hospitality industry this year - Part II

In my previous article (See Here) I've talked about Last Minute Bookings & Mobile Wallet that are the ongoing trends in the US here is the later part of the article.

Don’t underestimate the power of Meta & OTA

In the last couple of years metasearch has become a strong and separate medium for providing hotels more direct bookings – though OTAs still the largest medium for hotels to sell their rooms. But with the launch of InstantBooking by TripAdvisor last year hotel veterans prophesise this is going to change the concept of contemporary hotel distribution. Hoteliers who were present at the event stated that in the coming future more and more hotels will opt for CPA (Click per Action) model which is more cost effective and gives better ROI. The future of hotel distribution is going to be mix of OTA and metasearch- one is stand for its dominating market share and the later to give more direct booking reducing commission money paid to the OTAs.

Customer Journey: It’s evolving

An eMarketer report states that 4.55 billion people in our planets own a mobile phone. The global smartphone audience in 2014 was 1.75 billion and by the end of 2017, 50% of world population will have a smartphone. In US alone every people (327 million) own a mobile phone and more than 64% people (182 million) have smartphones – the number simply cannot be denied.   Such tremendous growth of mobile and accessibility of high-speed internet have changed the purchasing behaviour and travel journey of the people.  Over last three years US economy has reached to a stable position after its Great Economic Recession. Now, with more capital flows the middle class millenials continues its surge- spending their money on shopping and travel planning. The tech-savvy travellers with their always connected device are constantly researching about their favorite travel destination, hotels and sharing these experiences on social media. A traveller’s decision is taken much before he/she chooses an accommodation. They look for the right time to get their favourite rooms at right price doing comparison search at the very last moment.


Reputation management: It matters

While exchanging our views at the event I realized one thing in the coming years user generated content is going to be a top priority area for the hoteliers. Currently, there are total 3 billion internet users and 1.96 billion social media users in the world- it is no wonder that key hotel investment trends in 2015 would include the development of one-to-one relationship with guests through reputation management and personalized marketing. Managing reputation is no longer considered about how many positive reviews you have on TripAdvisor. It is about a conversation with your guests and what are their overall views about your property they are sharing on various social media channels.

A recent survey by Laterooms.com suggests that 90% of travellers would avoid booking hotels labelled as “dirty” in online review sites. As an increased number of travellers using Facebook, Twitter to search about hotel information it is becoming crucial for hotel operators to manage their property’s reputation through a reputation management tool. Properties who want to monitor and manage their reputation will need a one-stop solution like RateTiger Review to consolidate all online guest reviews from various travel review and social media websites engaging in one-to-one conversation. If you engage with your guests in a conversation and respond to their needs publicly will definitely help you to win the trust of your guests which will drive more loyal customers for the future.


US travel market is the most diversify market in the world. Future of travel in this country is going to depend upon data-driven strategy.  As travel market is becoming more complex you need to understand various steps of travel journey through semantic analysis based on the available data to take more predictive decision.

Jan Murza is Director of Sales- Americas at eRevMax.  He can be reached at janm@erevmax.com
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