Beating OTAs with real-time data

For years the OTAs have been bragging about their Big Data: gigantic amounts of data on the browsing and purchasing patterns of their website users. At the same time, the OTAs have relatively “small data” about hotel guests’ on-property behavior and activity purchasing habits while on property. Hoteliers have access to what we call “Real-Time” data, meaning the on-property data coupled with user browsing and purchasing data on their own websites. This includes user demographic information, geo location and language preferences, past booking history as well as on-property behavior such as whether or not they booked suites, or even what restaurants they frequented while on-site. This data is all instantaneously available when the user lands on your hotel website, and represents a huge advantage hoteliers have yet to effectively utilize.

Source: Beating OTAs with real-time data

My Airbnb journey: Arriving home

As the dust settles from my first Airbnb experience, I have some time to reflect on what I have learned on this journey.

For me, one of the ultimate goals that a constant traveller like myself tries to achieve is a home away from home. Traditional hotels have recognised this need and have implemented more homely approaches such as lounge and in-room check in. The fact is that no matter how beautiful the design of the reception, or how sophisticated and fancy the package, having to still make copies of my passport, getting out my credit card and signing an “agreement” procedure somehow ruins the homely arrival experience. Of course there are the types of guests that may value arriving at a premium hotel as an event of their life, and they would expect some level of visible and fancy greetings. Fine! Just make it as an option at the booking, but its simply not for me. I am pretty sure that there are many travellers like me who are spending almost or exceeding half of a year sleeping in hotel rooms. This fancy greeting, ID and credit card verification over and over again could be annoying.

To me, the most genuine home arrival experience is arriving without making it an experience. We have three offices in three different cities and I have a home in each. Usually when I travel to one of my homes, the only thing I want is to get into my own space, take off my clothes, and walk into the bathroom to get myself refreshed. The Airbnb arrival experience is very much like this. I follow the address I am given, ring the door bell, and someone over the intercom will say: “Hi Ed, come in.” The host would greet you at the door and give you a quick tour – where is the coffee, where to put the garbage, how to lock the door, the wifi password – just like as though you are staying in your friend’s house. As the end of the quick tour, they will say: “Here is the key, just call or whatsapp me if any questions, enjoy your stay.” Although the conversation is so simple, I feel that it is very attentive. First because it is genuine, and also because you know it is one-on-one.I hope one day that the hotel I am already familiar with, would just have someone to greet me at the door and pass me the room key. “Hi Ed, welcome back! You’re staying at room 1234, enjoy, whatsapp or call me if you need anything.”

Or actually I don’t even mind to have some sort of key pickup in a mailbox just like arriving home, perhaps using some kind of Smart device to open my mail box and pick up whatever the card key or info I need for my stay.

That would be a wonderful way to arrive – home.


Google turns to TrustYou for hotel review data

The Google Hotel Knowledge Panel is now showing TrustYou review summaries. The summaries show granular detail about rooms, location and facilities and replace the Google review snippets that were shown previously.

TrustYou, Google’s data source for this granular data, is a reputation management product that tracks review content, helps Hotels get reviews and provides what it calls Meta-Review data to sites like Kayak, Trivago and Sabre.

Source: Google turns to TrustYou for hotel review data

Sneak peek at Hilton’s stylish Canopy hotel rooms

Each property in Hilton’s newest brand will have a different look and feel depending on what city it is in. Hilton’s 12th brand will debut early next year in Iceland. Here’s a sneak peek on what its rooms will look like.

Guests staying at a Canopy by Hilton hotel will receive a welcome gift upon check-in inspired by the destination. In Chicago, they may get Garrett’s Popcorn. In Denver, think treats from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Each evening, they will be treated to a happy hour with local beers and/or wines. Guestroom artwork will depict surrounding attractions. Each property in Hilton’s newest brand will have a different look and feel depending on what city it is in.

Source: Sneak peek at Hilton’s stylish Canopy hotel rooms

Hilton yields concessions in talks with OTAs

Recent negotiations with online travel agencies produced several victories for Hilton Worldwide. Concessions he cited include the right to charge loyalty customers lower rates than it pays to OTAs and elimination of last-room availability clauses.

Hilton Worldwide completed a series of negotiations with major online travel agencies over the last quarter and wrangled important economic and marketing concessions, according to CEO Chris Nassetta.Nassetta said Hilton Worldwide won the right to lower the commissions it pays to online travel agencies such as Expedia and

Source: Hilton yields concessions in talks with OTAs

Is hotel brand consolidation the answer to OTAs?

Industry analysts believe consolidation is the wave of the future in the hotel industry in wake of the planned merger of Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. But that consolidation could take many forms.

Christopher Agnew, managing director for MKM Partners, described Marriott’s plans to buy Starwood as designed to combat online travel agencies.

Source: Is hotel brand consolidation the answer to OTAs?

Expedia serious about Airbnb entering hotel booking business

Speaking at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference in Phoneix, Expedia’s CFO however said that Airbnb wouldn’t find entering the hotel booking space an easy thing because of the strong presence of and Expedia.

Mark Okerstrom, Expedia’s CFO, said. “The industry structure is different. The business practices of the existing hoteliers are different. Connectivity is built between the OTAs already and the hotels there are established relationships and patterns of behavior and though I think that it’s certainly open for Airbnb to try to enter the hotel market. I think they are entering the market that has a couple of very large and established players who have a pretty amazing consumer value proposition and a pretty amazing supplier value proposition. And I think that like many before them have found, it’s not as easy as coming up with a website, it’s different.”

Source: Expedia serious about Airbnb entering hotel booking business