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14 Jun 2018

Six Hotel Marketing Trends for 2018

Six Hotel Marketing Trends For 2018

It’s always interesting to look back on the trends that were predicted for the previous year and see how things panned out. We were told video would dominate; mobile use would surpass desktop; reputation management would take off, and that print media wasn’t dead. While the last one is still up in the air, for the most part, those hit the mark or are well on their way.
So, here we go again. Feel free to check back in at the end of the year and let me know if my batting average should put me into the All-Star game or have me sitting on the benchSix Hotel Marketing Trends for 2018

7 Jun 2018

The Hotel Digital Marketing Trends 2018

As for most industries, it’s important for the Hotel industry to adapt to the digital age in order to remain successful, especially with the expansion of people searching for the best hotel deals online. 
To remain competitive means constantly being up to date with the latest digital marketing trends. 
That’s why we have come up with what we found were the most important digital marketing trends for the Hotel Industry and how it can help your business.

The Hotel Digital Marketing Trends 2018 

Action on sustainability in tourism needs extra push, says new UNWTO report

Madrid, Spain, 6 June 2018 - In line with its vision of advancing sustainability through tourism, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) released its flagship publication ‘Tourism for Development’ in Brussels on 6 June during the European Development Days (EDD), and called for greater awareness of sustainability in tourism policies and business practices as well as in tourist behaviour.
Action on sustainability in tourism needs extra push, says new UNWTO report

‘Tourism for Development’ provides concrete recommendations on how to use tourism as an effective means for achieving sustainable development. It shows that tourism has a global reach and has positive effects on many other sectors. Not only does the sector spearhead growth, it also improves the quality of people’s lives, supports environmental protection, champions diverse cultural heritage and strengthens peace in the world.
Moreover, if well planned and managed, tourism can effectively and directly contribute to the shift towards more sustainable lifestyles and consumption and production patterns. But to get there the tourism sector must, as an agent of positive change, make evidence-based decisions that ensure a consistent contribution to sustainable development.
This two-volume report showcases 23 case studies from around the world of tourism contributing to sustainable development in all its dimensions. “This report offers tangible, wide-ranging evidence of the fact that tourism can make a meaningful and substantial contribution to achieving sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
The report portrays tourism as a driver of sustainable development and can lay the groundwork for stakeholders to build on tourism’s opportunities by changing policies, business practices and consumer behaviour.
According to the report, this requires measuring tourism’s impact accurately and regularly, and putting the results at the service of the right policies, business practices and consumer behaviour.
‘Tourism for Development’ calls for governments to establish and enforce inclusive and integrated policy frameworks for sustainable tourism development. Businesses, on the other hand, need to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability in core business models and value chains, while individuals and civil society should also adopt sustainable practices and behaviour.
UNWTO presented ‘Tourism for Development’ at EDD, Europe’s leading forum on development organized by the European Commission. More than 180 people contributed to the publication in a global consultation with governments, organizations and civil society. UNWTO gives special thanks to the George Washington University for its contribution.

Useful links:

UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme
Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 / comm@unwto.org
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28 May 2018

8 tactics you need to include in your 2018 hotel marketing plan - SiteMinder

Hotel 2018 marketing plan

Here are eight tactics you should consider including in your 2018 hotel marketing plan:

Tactic #1

Make personalisation a priority

Guests know you have the ability to personalise their experience. With technology and data systems constantly improving, there is no excuse not to understand guest preferences and deliver individually catered services.
Here are some recent stats demonstrating the opportunity:
  • Over 80% of online customers say they would be open to switching loyalties if they found a service that better catered for their needs
  • 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into customer service
  • 94% of senior-level executives believe delivering personalisation is important to reaching customers
You can use the data you collect from online travel agents (OTAs), your hotel’s own website and direct booking engine, and if you have one, your app to develop a deep knowledge of guest booking behaviour, purchase habits, and amenity preferences. Additionally you should know the complete profile of travellers including age, ethnicity, gender, and reason for travel.
With all this information in your hands, your guests should feel like they’re staying at their grandparents house, with every need anticipated and every desire fulfilled. This is what it takes to entice positive reviews from guests who are increasingly expecting more.

8 tactics you need to include in your 2018 hotel marketing plan

The everyman guide to EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) | Resort Support

This article contains information about legal frameworks and compliance related to personal data, specifically in relation to the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from the EU legal eagles. Exciting huh? Yeah, okay so maybe not, but it is vital that you know about it for your business where ever you are based.

On the 28th May 2018 the law will change in regards to personal data. If your company holds any personal information about any people within your business, this new GDPR law will affect you.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new European Union regulation that aims to protect personal data, there are only a couple weeks left for compliance; will you be ready?

The everyman guide to EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

23 Mar 2018

65 travel & tourism statistics to know about in 2017 and 2018

Travel and tourism statistics for 2018
Our travel trends content is a staple part of what we produce at TrekkSoft, from our annual trend reportsto our blog content. Through it, we want to help tour operators and destinations to better understand what's shaping the industry – and help them to respond in the best way possible.

One year on from our 70 travel and tourism statistics to know about in 2016, we wanted to freshen things up. So here you go, a selection of our own data insights plus the research we've been talking about most here at TrekkSoft HQ.
These should help you make the most of 2017, prepare for 2018 and – we hope – get you excited for our 2018 Travel Trends Report which you can download now:
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Booking trends

1. Leisure travellers put thought into big trips, but still enjoy spontaneity

  • 55% of leisure travellers take just 1-2 vacations a year, and they put a lot of thought into planning these trips. (Google/Phocuswright, 2016)
  • However, when presented with a promotion offer, 30% would take a trip when they weren't planning to. 25% would consider going to a destination they weren't familiar with. (Google/Phocuswright, 2016)

Camel ride in the desert

2. Rising travel research on mobile comes at no surprise  

  • 70% of travellers with smartphones have done travel research on their smartphone. (Google, 2016)

  • 1 in 2 traveller journeys start on mobile (Booking.com, 2016)
  • 50% of millennial travellers have discovered a new travel company while researching on mobile. (Google, 2016)
  • 30% of mobile searches are related to a location. (Google, 2016)
  • 50% of search queries are four words or longer. (Ko Marketing, 2016)

Key takeaways: It's vital that tourism websites are mobile-optimised, especially if you're a destination or tour operator selling bookable experiences. To reach your target audience while they're using their devices in-destination, mobile can also be a great place to target your digital ad spend.
For SEO benefits when creating your website content, think in terms of phrases or questions your customers might be asking, not just keywords.

3. We want to book whenever it suits us

  • Tour and activity websites are most commonly visited during the evening, with Monday and Sunday evenings having the most visits. (TrekkSoft data, 2017)
  • 59% of travellers begin researching their next trip between one and three months before departure (TripAdvisor, 2016).
  • 38% of bookings are happening same day or up to two days before the activity. Many of these bookings take place “in-destination”, while consumers are already travelling. That number grows to 53% when looking at bookings within a week, while only 19% of these activities were booked more than a month in advance. (Phocuswright, 2017).

Our take: Consumers want flexibility in when they choose to book, whether it's advance or last-minute. Tourism providers need to provide options that allow for both planning and spontaneity. For that, you need an online booking system that updates in real-time – and no restrictions on when bookings can be accepted.
Researching travel

4. More consumers are staying on mobile to book instead of device switching

  • After researching on their smartphone, 79% of mobile travelers in 2017 completed a booking, which is significantly higher than the 70% who did so in 2016. (Google, 2017)
  • Online tours and attractions gross bookings will more than double from $9B in 2015 to $21B in 2020. And most of those online options will be mobile-optimized. (Phocuswright, 2017). 

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5. Online booking channels are most important to tour & activity operators

  • Most tour operators have a distribution network that’s balanced 60% in favour of online channels. (TrekkSoft, 2016)
  • Direct bookings on a supplier’s own website are ranked as most important to tour and activity operators. This is closely followed by incoming tour operators, direct offline bookings, and online resellers (OTAs and tour & activity marketplaces). (TrekkSoft, 2016)

Online travel agents (OTAs)

  • Offline sales are still important. 45% of tour and attraction transactions are happening directly offline. This makes in-person exchanges a top channel for activity sales (Phocuswright, 2017).

Our take: A tourism business needs multiple sources of bookings to thrive and remain sustainable. Create a balanced distribution network with several strong booking sources to avoid the pressure if external factors suddenly work against your favour (which, in tourism, they often will).
There's no doubt about it: online is the future of the tours and attractions industry. You could be missing out on sales, partnerships, and those valuable last-minute bookings. Is your business ready to receive customers any time before your tours and activities?
Online booking software for tour operators  
6. Most travel bookings are done by women

  • Women are the ones booking tours and activities 67% of the time (TrekkSoft data, 2017)

Key takeaways: The numbers have shown for some time that women are researching and booking the majority of holidays. Our data shows that also applies to tour and activity bookings.

7. Younger generations most likely to book online

  • 75% of end users who book a tour or activity via TrekkSoft are aged 34 or younger. Of that percentage, 41% are aged 25-34 and 34% aged 18-24. (TrekkSoft data, 2017)
  • 12% of people who book a tour or activity via TrekkSoft booking systems are aged 35-44. The smallest proportion of bookings are from older generations - just 6% of our bookings come from customers aged 45-54, and another 6% are aged 55 and above.  (TrekkSoft data, 2017)

Online booking process 

Tours & activities
8. Activities is the third largest sector of travel

  • Activities is the third largest segment of travel at $129B and is growing faster than the total travel market. It will reach $174B globally by 2020 (Phocuswright, 2017). 
  • Online tours and attraction gross bookings will more than double from $9 billion in 2015 to $21 billion in 2020. And suppliers need to be ready: online and on mobile. (Phocuswright, 2017).
  • Since 2005, Phocuswright has noticed a huge influx of investment and innovation in travel activities. This includes more than 90 online resellers, 42 P2P marketplaces, and over 20 B2B reservation software startups. (Phocuswright, 2017). 

Paragliding company
9. But is the activities industry still stuck in the Stone Age?

  • Tours and activities still have to emerge from the Stone Age. Phocuswright shares how 55% of tour and activity suppliers do not have a third-party reservation system, and of those who don’t, 67% use email or calendar to manage their bookings. (Phocuswright, 2017).
  • Tour and activity suppliers cite "growing online sales" as their number one priority, and 3/4 say they will have live online booking before the end of 2017. (Phocuswright, 2017).
  • Most suppliers are manually validating reservations, which is a risk as well as tedious. The larger suppliers ($1m+ revenue) are being hit hardest by fraud, among which 38% reconcile later. Geographically, emerging markets are worse off. (Phocuswright, 2017).

Our take: Suppliers need to see the urgency of investing in tech and working with online resellers, even if they think "we're doing just fine without it". This is especially the case for smaller suppliers and those in emerging markets. Consumer behaviour has shifted online (and increasingly last-minute and in-destination when booking), and suppliers have to be fighting against inertia and "how we've always done it". Tech is the enabler here.
 Manual and digital booking processes 

Trending markets and experiences

10. Sustainable organisations are reaping the benefits

  • Booking.com found that only 42 percent of those questioned considered themselves to be sustainable travellers. This number increased from last year among travellers from Italy, Germany, and China, but Australia, Brazil, Japan and the US have seen a decline. (Booking.com, 2017). 
  • According to the U.N.W.T.O., sustainable tourism has three guiding principles for hotels, tour operators, airlines and cruises (as well as destinations and tourists):
1) Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.
2) Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance
3) Ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.
  • Eco-friendly tours are increasing. Intrepid Travel, for example, now offers more than 1,000 group tours a year that are fully carbon neutral. (NY Times, 2017)
  • Booking.com predicted that the number of travellers staying in an eco-friendly or ‘green’ accommodation at least once could double in 2017. (Booking.com, 2017)

Key takeaways: In terms of setting goals for 2018, making your tourism business more sustainable is a great choice. While we should all be doing our bit for the planet, it also makes business sense. Now is the ideal time to solidify your reputation as a conscious organisation and set yourself apart from local competitors.

Sustainable travel

11. Trending destinations and brands aren't always predictable

  • Emirates was chosen as the top airline worldwide for 2017 by TripAdvisor users in the platform's Travelers' Choice Awards (TripAdvisor, 2017)
  • Top destinations on the rise are San Jose del Cabo (Mexico), Whistler (British Columbia), and Jericoacoara (Brazil) (TripAdvisor, 2017)
  • The top landmarks in the world according to TripAdvisor users are Angkor Wat in Cambodia followed by Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center in Abu Dhabi (TripAdvisor, 2017)
  • Airbnb ranked as the most visited accommodation website in Q4 2016, receiving nearly 88 million visits, up 42% from Q4 2015. Booking.com came in second, with more than 82 million visits and a 24% growth rate, while Expedia-owned Hotels.com was fourth, with more than 65 million visits, up 25% YoY. (CMO, 2017)

12. The Chinese market is changing

  • Less shopping, more experiences. In ITB's World Travel Trends report, tourism expert Professor Zhang Guangrui says the "crazy" spending habits of Chinese travellers might slow down sooner than expected.

Key takeaways: The Chinese market is becoming more segmented with a lot of diversity in travel habits. We're beginning to see a clear distinction between first-timer travellers and matured travellers, and they're not necessarily looking for the same things. In any case, it's important not to stereotype Chinese travellers when advertising to this market – especially as their travel preferences are changing so fast.
Read next: Here's what's changing about Chinese travellers in 2017
Changing Asian travel market 
13. The industry is still trying to understand millennials

  • Staycations make up 43% of all trips taken by Millennial families, especially those who wish to reduce environmental impact or save for a larger trip in the future. Not all millennials want to travel to exotic destinations. (Skift, 2016)
  • Millennials don't always want to book a trip on their own. In a survey by MMGY, 34% of Millennials were found to use a travel agent and they're more likely to turn to professional planners when the upcoming trip is more expensive.

14. Travellers are merging business and leisure

  • Business trips to attend conferences/conventions are more likely to turn into bleisure trips than client meetings or team offsites. (Expedia Media Solutions, 2016)
  • Path to booking is short (1-4 weeks), especially the inspiration and research stage (Expedia Media Solutions, 2016)
  • Bleisure travellers visit OTA sites the most on mobile devices, closely followed by Events. (Expedia Media Solutions, 2016)

Destinations & experiences  

15. Destinations are becoming more digital, but they're not always finding it easy

  • 56% of DMOs focus their program budget on digital - and a majority expect to focus on it more in 2017. (TrekkSoft, 2017)
  • 73% of DMOs say a lot of effort is required to stay digitally-relevant. That increases to 76% for organisations in Europe. (TrekkSoft, 2017)
  • Only 9% of DMOs believe they have “a cutting edge digital strategy”. 55% try their best to stay digitally relevant but struggle. (TrekkSoft, 2017)
  • 65% of DMOs say they enable some form of bookings on their official website. (TrekkSoft, 2017)
  • Just 15% of organisations in our study said activities are bookable as real-time inventory on their official website. 8% are planning to change this and enable real-time bookable inventory in 2017. (TrekkSoft, 2017)

Key takeaways: The tourism boards that we see driving results are using a digital-first strategy to build an emotional and inspirational brand instead of focusing the majority of their efforts on broadcasting information. Rather than informing visitors, they are engaging and inspiring them with a content- and experience-rich approach online. 

16. Experiences is still our favourite word in travel

  • In a 2014 paper called Waiting for Merlot, psychologists Amit Kumar, Thomas Gilovich and Matthew Killingsworth show how experiential purchases (money spent on doing) tend to provide more enduring happiness than material purchases (money spent on having). Yet there are also differencesbefore consumption. People report being mostly frustrated before the planned purchase of a thing, but mostly happy before they bought an experience – such as a trip or an activity.
  • 56% of DMOs consider experiences to be “a vital part” of their destination marketing. Only 7% consider experiences to be “somewhat important”. (TrekkSoft Destination Report, 2017)
  • The most forward-thinking DMOs use a digital and content-first strategy to build an emotional & inspirational brand with experiences at its centre. (TrekkSoft, 2017)
  • 73% of destination budgets are spent on marketing experiences, yet these are rarely online as real-time inventory. (TrekkSoft, 2017)

Key takeaways: We're in an experience economy. As the Guardian neatly sums up, "there is science behind it, but it’s also very simple: regardless of political uncertainty, austerity and inflation, we are spending more on doing stuff, choosing instead to cut back on buying stuff".
Travel brands can make inspiration the centre of their marketing and get consumers even more excited about their upcoming experience. With a positive guest experience, they can also encourage feedback, sharing, and word of mouth marketing.
Experiences in destination marketing - TrekkSoft Research

Marketing insights

17.  Social media is still dominated by a few giants

  • 72% of adult internet users use Facebook (Pew Research Center, 2015). The platform now has over 2 billion monthly users, compared to Twitter's 328M.
  • Instagram has over 400M daily active users and 700M monthly active users. More than 250M stories are shared every day (Instagram, 2017).
  • Beyond YouTube (with 1.5bn users), only Facebook’s other apps have more than 1 billion users, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, with 1.2 billion each.

Read next:

18. Tourism companies need to consciously manage their reputation

  • It's all about the guest experience. Leaders in customer experience reach an average of 17% on revenue growth within 5 years, whereas poorer customer experience attain only 3% over the same period (Forrester Research, 2016)
  • 9 out of 10 travellers think that reading online reviews is important, but 45% of tour takers don't trust reviews on tour operators' own sites. Most important are reviews by third parties: 95% of travellers trust tour & activity reviews on third party sites (Stride Travel, 2016).
  • 76% of travellers will pay more for a hotel if it has better online reviews (TrustYou, 2015).

Key takeaways: As we recently said to GuestRevu, the online reputation management platform, one of the things that can distinguish the best tour and activity companies from the competition is not just to provide a great tour, but to encourage guest feedback and use those insights to keep improving their offering.
Stay on top of your guest feedback, reviews, and online reputation and you'll be in the best position to help word of mouth spread about your business.

Read next: 

19. Good marketing has visuals, creativity and a digital focus

  • Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images. (Buzzsumo, 2015)
  • 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. Brands need to get creative instead of being pushy and disingenuous (The McCarthy Group, 2014).
  • Mobile’s share of total digital ad spending in the travel industry (49% vs 51% for desktop ads) is creeping ever higher and in the future will represent a majority of the industry’s ad spending. (USDM)
  • 69% of travelers are more loyal to a travel company that personalizes their experiences online and offline. (Google, 2017)
  • 1/3 of DMOs cite content-centricity as the main way their organisation has changed since 2015. (TrekkSoft, 2017)