Last month saw the travel and hospitality industry gather at ITB Berlin, one of the world’s leading travel shows. As well as soaking up the latest developments from the industry, OTA Insight, together with Traveltripper, hosted a series of Tech Talks in partnership with other leading hotel technology companies including Mews, StayNTouch and IDeaS. These Tech Talks provided an educational outlet for hoteliers to get more out of ITB and looked at a wide variety of topics, including future-proofing hotels, revenue management, using guest data to gain loyalty, and parity performance.
Here’s a snapshot.
According to a hospitality technology study, in 2019 34% of hotels said they are looking to change or upgrade their business intelligence reporting. With the role of data becoming more and more integral as technology fuses with hospitality, our session aimed to help hoteliers not just monitor Big Data, but also understand and manage it.
Our talk discussed: data efficiency in the battle against ‘analysis paralysis’; optimising guest segmentation and the value of distribution channels; and revenue managers being able to strategise instead of analyse.
An effective understanding of how best to examine data is essential in the coming years; according to hoteliers in an OTA survey soon to be released, the highest ranked tech affecting the market will be data analytics/business intelligence.
Revinate spoke about using data to drive a personalised guest experience. Personalisation remains a hot topic in the travel industry despite the idea originating over 10 years ago. albeit in a different industry. The changing distribution landscape sees OTAs, who are also using personalisation, challenging hotels for consumer loyalty. This means hotels need to push even more to make their guests feel unique. This topic was also discussed at WTM Latin America earlier this month, illustrating the global scale of this strategy.
The talk itself emphasised driving higher guest satisfaction by delivering value at key interactions across the entire customer journey. Further topics included giving guests flexibility in updating or changing personalised experience and rewards, and creating a network effect to make it easier for guests to promote your brand experience.
Revenue science is the infusing of mathematics with industry expertise to transform data into accurate, automated, and actionable revenue-enhancing decisions. This has permeated the hospitality industry, its impact being recognised by hotel industry veterans such as Lee Pillsbury, who expressed last month that Marriot, Hilton and other major players in the hotel industry are destined to become “data science companies in five years or less”.
Founder of Opinosis Analytics, Kavita Ganesan, comments: “We have barely scratched the surface. As we get more and more data in the form of feedback via phone and email, reviews, blogs, etc, extracting insights from these scattered sources is going to be paramount in improving user experiences and coming up with new hotel features that customers would absolutely love.”
These fast moving industry developments set the stage for this talk from IDeaS, who looked towards how data science could be applied to assist with revenue management in future.
Encouraging their audience to think about booking behaviour, pace and length of stay, IdeaS explored the present state as well as the next frontier in revenue science. Looking ahead: “with all this data we should even be able to predict loyalty. And this knowledge can help us with things like revenue forecasting,” sums up Ganesan.
A further talk from us delved into point of sale and the battle for international travellers, given that globally, international trips are set to increase by around 6% according to the. We detailed the key markets to monitor for inbound tourists, as well as popular 2019 destinations according to outbound search trends by region.
Our look at targeted guest marketing explored the rise in OTAs share of the online travel market, currently set to reach 41% in 2020, with gross bookings also set to grow until 2022 and beyond. This illustrated the clash between OTAs and hoteliers when looking at BAR,
We also discussed geo-targeting; a marketing technique in which ads content, and campaigns are tailored to potential customers based on their geolocation data (IP, Wi-Fi, GPS, etc.) to deliver location-specific experiences.
These insights make it all the more important to know your source markets in order to target the right audience via the right channels and capitalise on the opportunities arising from different regions.
This session explored the growing consumer fatigue with commodity travel, which sees travellers looking to have a more active role in curating their experiences. This desire coupled with the rise in ‘transformative travel’, brings consumers to digital platforms that more seamlessly mediate in-trip discovery, and requires a hotel to not only knows its customer on a more personal level, but to use that knowledge to take advantage of those who are looking to book relevant services in the moment.
The talk looked at how mobile affects all stages of the customer journey, particularly the dreaming and planning stage, which are both increasingly occurring on mobile devices. Also covered were the benefits of a mobile PMS, and online reputation management in the age of the social media influencer.
StayNTouch also spoke about how mobile influences the post booking phase in a webinar in partnership with OTA Insight and TravelTripper.
With hoteliers increasingly reluctant to work with closed vendors and sub-par tools that bolt all functionality into the property management system (PMS), “marketplaces” have been created by cloud PMS companies. A marketplace facilitates seamless integrations and eventually the ability to easily try new products with the click of a button. There are a number of new entrants into the marketplace space, with Booking launching their hotel software marketplace/app store at ITB. The increase in marketplaces brings more attention to integrations that seek to break down the data silos within business intelligence.
Mews, another fresh marketplace entrant, delivered a session on hotel connectivity. This covered taking a look at the whole picture in terms of how everything is connected within hospitality - PMS to RMS, BI tools to guest data and beyond - all requiring different apps. The session also detailed how API fits into the guest journey, as well as a look at both the micro and macro integration landscape.
The need for API will continue to grow as research indicates nearly a quarter (23%) of hoteliers who have not upgraded their PMS within the past three years plan to do so in the next 12 months.
Our final Tech Talk examined the European hotel parity landscape and how it might affect hotelier pricing and distribution strategy. We provided an introduction to parity and its causes, with the battle for parity between OTAs and hotels coming down to the fight for customers and lower cost of acquisition.
We assessed European parity performance amongst major chains versus independents and local chains, as well as giving a channel performance overview. We also revealed the top five undercutting wholesalers and assessed the real cost of disparity.
For a closer look at this topic, read hoteliers’ views on parity and deep dive into European and Northern American parity performance with our yearly roundup of exclusive parity analysis.
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