Oct 23, 2015 | Marketing
In our last blog we covered how Royal Caribbean is using Periscope to engage the Millennial traveler. Millennials will soon overtake the boomers in vacation spending, and their needs are quite different as this infographic by Choice Hotels International demonstrates.
The Choice hotels study reveals 10 unexpected travel habits of millennials.”Millennials haven’t established allegiance with specific hotels yet, and there is such an amazing opportunity for companies to capture and build their brand loyalty,” said Patrick Pacious, executive vice president, and COO at Choice Hotels. “As Choice continues to expand into upscale and urban markets, uncovering findings about this key demographic, such as millennials’ inclination to impress, the desire for freebies and instant loyalty program gratification is crucial.”
The Top Ten Millennial Travel Trends are not entirely intuitive. It is a very specific group with specific characteristics that need to be catered to with a different touche. They are sociable but they like their own space – they don’t talk to strangers on airlines, for example, and you will see them often with earbuds in their ears when traveling just so they don’t need to chat.
The survey was conducted in partnership with The Center for Generational Kinetics, which solves tough generational challenges with Millennials, Gen Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers.
The national survey polled 1,000 U.S. adults, ages 18-65 between September 30 – October 3, 2015.
See all details here [Infographic] Uncovering the Millennial Mindset: Choice Hotels Reveals New Travel Study
More on Selling to Millenials >>>
Oct 23, 2015 | Uncategorized
Royal Caribbean International’s latest brand campaign is aimed at urging millennials to consider cruising. The company’s new “Come Seek” campaign
“Maturing millennials in their late 20s and early 30s are looking for great experiences they can brag about on social media,” said Berra. “We want to give a preview of what you can look forward to posting on Facebook or Instagram.” Royal Caribbean is hoping to tap into this marketing using Periscope. it will experiment with live streaming video by broadcasting Periscope video from its ships to more than 200 digital billboards around New York City. It will bring social media influences from Instagram and Periscope onboard its new Anthem of the Seas vessel and have them create content on itineraries sailing to Martinique, San Juan and Barbados.
Millennials want authentic and different experiences and RC think Periscope will add just that “The most authentic thing we can do is to show live, and in real-time, what people are able to do on vacation,” said Berra. Royal Caribbean expects to reach five million commuters each day with the digital billboards, which will showcase 20 to 25 minutes of video from sailings each day.
A recent study by Choice Hotels and the Centre For Generational Kinetics shows several distinctive characteristics of the Millennials. They prefer images and visuals over text. and 59% use online ratings and reviews to select a hotel.
You can see The Millennials mindset here >>> –
Royal Caribbean is on target using video and dynamic visual billboards, according to these findings If the campaign of “Using Periscope to Sell Millennials” is a success, it is expected that Royal Caribbean will roll out similar promotions simultaneously in several markets.
For more see Royal Caribbean Using Periscope to Sell Millennials on Skift
Oct 23, 2015 | Uncategorized
In this blog we summaries the proceeding covered in this Skiff article following the Skift Global Forum in Brooklyn. As usual we add our own perspectives and examples.
Priceline.com CEO Paul Hennessy sums up what he sees in the Search engine Optimization Marketplace with the short fact that we are looking at the death of SEO as and organic results.
Piad Traffic is the New Search Engine Marketing
Hennessy has a lot of authority on the subject having been chief marketing officer at sister company Booking.com, one of Google’s largest advertisers. “As far as SEO is, my view on that is it’s more of a desktop thought because as the devices get smaller and smaller and smaller, the number of choices from an SEO perspective on mobile decline dramatically. And so I believe it is a paid world. Google is an advertising engine and they drive paid traffic to advertisers. And I think that’s going to continue for quite some time. We will do our best to play in that environment.”
Googles Monopoly Under Fire
Travis Katz CEO of Gogobot, asked “Google’s obviously been a tremendous funnel for the Priceline Group” But “In the last couple of years Google has become much more aggressive at taking up a lot of the organic inventory for its own hotel metasearch product. How big a threat is that to the Priceline Group? Do you think Google is a monopoly in search and are they abusing their monopoly in what they are doing in the travel space?” “No” – says Hennesesy “I wouldn’t say they are a monopoly. They have great competitors around the world. We have been able to take the traffic off of Google and do a great job turning that traffic…customers into converted bookings for us. We will continue to do that.”
But the fact is that, on the question of monopoly: The Federal Trade Commission unanimously agreed that Google met the standard of a monopoly under U.S. law, but also that they are illegally abusing their monopoly in a way that harms competition and consumers and as such they did not take action after a lengthy investigation.
SEO Strategies Might be Very Risky Now
Many of the travel executives in the audience shared the sentiment that SEO is not as effective as it was previously and may well have its day limited.
Johannes Thomas, said: “Building a business on SEO traffic might be very risky nowadays, which was the case for Trivago several years ago.”
Johannes Reck, the co-founder and CEO of Berlin-based tours and activities provider GetYourGuide, argues that the search engine optimization versus paid search debate is not especially relevant anymore because “we’re already nearing the end of the purely search engine-dominated online travel world.” Reck doesn’t mourn the development, though, saying the advantage will go to travel companies that can pay for the top spot because they provide the best customer experience and are especially adept at converting lookers to Bookers.
Google Controls Travel Search to Its Advanatage
Many also agreed that Google wants to control local search and shopping for travel. They have are tweaking the display so that consumers only see content from Google or ads. Its worse on mobile, where the entire first screen is ads, the entirety of the second screen is Google results. Only on the 3rd screen can a user find organic search content. The problem is not limited to mobile. On desktop, we are seeing a similar trend. with no organic search content above the fold for many travel related search, at least on the big ticket search words.
What we are seeing is Google using a monopoly to turn the web into their own walled garden where you may in the future you may only see content that Google control. And a lot of what we are seeing is advertisements. In 2012, Google started to penalize sites with many ads above the fold. Their statement was ‘As we’ve mentioned previously, we’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away…If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.’
“So what do they do on their own site?” Katz adds. “Tons of ads, no visible content.”
End of of Search Engine Dominance in Travel Marketing
Johannes Reck, Co-Founder and CEO of GetYourGuide puts it in perspective: “In my honest opinion, the question of SEM versus SEO is not highly relevant any longer. We’re already nearing the end of the purely search engine-dominated online travel world. The future will be much more centered around truly unique brands, differentiated inventory and strong mobile customer propositions.”
See full article Priceline.com CEO on the Death of Search Engine Optimization – Skift
For more on Googles domination of search see https://marketinghotelsandtourism.com/new-google-hotel-finder-looks-like-an-ota/
Oct 23, 2015 | direct bookings, Uncategorized
Booking.Com – “The Cheapest way for Hotels to do Paid Marketing”
CEO of Booking.com Darren Huston on Direct Bookings vs OTAs says emphatically that Booking.com is the cheapest way for hotels to market: “First of all, we always pride ourselves on being the cheapest way to do your marketing. If you ask any owner, or any hotel, why they’re all on Booking.com, when they can all leave tomorrow, the reason is, it’s the cheapest way to do paid marketing.” He says.
Well that is a bold statement. But is it true?
Is he saying that OTAs are the cheapest paid marketing, or that his company, an OTA, is a better deal that all the other OTAs. The later is simply not correct, I know of hotels that deal with both Expedia and Bookings.com and both require the same 15% commission. Now that 15% can vary, and it does, across the landscape. 15% is just a starting rate, it goes up for better placement and additional marketing options, and there are differences in the way they work. But, I think we need some more comment from Darren if he really means Booking.com is a cheaper than all OTAs and all other alternatives.
OTAs are a vital part of the marketing mix, but are they cheaper than all direct marketing? Maybe yes if you are comparing to Google Adwords paid adverting but what about Social Media Ads, Search Engine Marketing (SEO) and content marketing. Maybe in some cases but not in all. Its also important to remember that hotels need to build their own brand identity, integrety and loyalty and that means having a direct marketing plan.
Dubai Hoteliers are Advanced
In the interview with Sarah Williams, October 21st, 2015 Daren is speaking about the experience in Dubai where he was Huston explore new venues, and about “Priceline Group’s recent activity includes launching a new B2B booking vertical, Booking for Business, as well as restaurant booking site OpenTable.com”. The group’s websites include Booking.com, Priceline.com, Agoda.com, Kayak.com, Rentalcars.com and OpenTable.com. It is an interesting discussion from the point of view of what is happening in Dubai and how advanced hoteliers are there in understanding the online and e-commerce perspective.
“The amazing thing about Dubai is that it’s one of the most mobile cities in the world. In fact, for [Booking.com], we get a higher percentage of mobile bookings in Dubai than any big city in the world.” he told Sarah Williams
Understanding Direct VS OTA Distribution Trade-offs
Marketing and Brand Integrity
From an international marketing perspective we were interested in his comments on markets and the ongoing discussion of balance for hotel direct bookings vs OTAS. As he put it: “The hospitality industry has often discussed the Booking.com vs OTA struggle, as well as brand.com vs Booking.com, but it’s also true that OTAs struggle to sign up hoteliers.”
He also commented that “anyone who really knows the industry knows it’s about getting a healthy balance” and offers “even direct bookings aren’t free. You’ve got customer service. You’ve got maybe a points or a mileage programme. You’ve got all sorts of things you do on that side, too.”
Hoteliers big and small are trying to build their direct business as it has a number of advantages and its not all all all to do with price. It’s actually more to do with control, and brand integrity.
Ownership of the customer base, maintenance of Brand identity and the ability to resell, up-sell, head of objections and capture leads and convert prospect is not something that hotels should give up even if they love the OTAs. OTAs are quick to offer alternative hotels and often treat rooms as a commodity across all brands.
See our Previous Post on How to Target direct bookings at https://marketinghotelsandtourism.com/how-to-target-direct-booking-travellers/
For the full article on Bookings.com Daren Huston on Direct Bookings vs OTAs and his visit to Dubai see the article on www.hoteliermiddleeast.com
Oct 23, 2015 | direct bookings
If you want to book a hotel room online, watch out for fakes and phones.
Source: Bamboozled: Did you just book a fake hotel room? | NJ.com
Hotel booking and vacation rentals scams are on the rise driven mostly by unscrupulous on line agents offered fake rentals for properties they had no right to rent. This is especially true where travelers pay up front on the old merchant model. It is true for rental apartments and villas as well as hotel rooms.
Maryam Cope, vice president of government affairs for AH&LA commented “The study revealed that nearly one-third of consumers who have booked online using an online travel company booking website say they worried about it, have personally experienced a multitude of issues from not getting what they wanted to losing their reservations altogether,” Maryam Cope, vice president of government affairs for AH&LA. Travelers are reporting finding hotel’s web site on searches and finding out later that it was a fake. In addition travelers report of arriving at a hotel and being told they have no reservation. others are charged fees they did not authorize with credit card charges from 3rd party sites. Many report issues canceling or trying to change reservations or are charged a higher rate than advertised. If that is not enough many also did not receive loyalty points confirmed or get requested services, disability access, or special packages offered.
The AH&LA 15 million bookings per year are by travelers who think they are dealing with a hotel only to find that they are not and are in fact booking with someone posing as the hotel itself.
32 percent got a room that was different than what was expected
17 percent were charged unexpected or hidden fees
15 percent did not get their rewards points
14 percent were charged an extra booking fee
14 percent could not get a refund for a cancellation
9 percent had reservations that were lost or cancelled
3 percent had their identity or private information stolen.
The AH&LA report offers good advice to travelers on how to avoid a scam and recommends booking directly with a hotel to avoid misunderstandings and outright scams.
see the report here >>>
More on direct bookings >>>