Last year Amazon entered and left the hotel booking sphere in a matter of months. The hospitality industry is in flux with new players of all kinds entering the hospitality industry at different angles.
Google has also made several ventures into hospitality with its now defunct hotel finder page, and more recently added hotel booking function on Google Maps.
When companies from outside the industry enter hospitality, this brings new challenges and opportunities. In these videos hospitality experts share their reactions to new entrants:
In April 2015 Amazon opened its amazon.com/destinations page, on which customers could browse and book accommodation form a variety of brands. However, this service was stopped just six months layer on 13 October 2015. No reason was given but a message was placed on the website and booking that had already been made where honoured. This was not the only change in Amazon’s business last year, in December Amazon Local also stopped its daily deals.
Google has made several ventures into hospitality with its hotel finder, and Google Hotel Ads through which hospitality companies can buy ad space that appears globally on google.com and Google Maps, wherever customers look for hotels.
A search for a hotel on Google Maps brings up a list of hotel and price estimates, in the side bar and on the map. An extra search bar allows the user to select holiday dates and then click through to a hotel site to complete the booking.
With these frequent changes, and more sure to come from big digital players, the industry must continue to keep its eyes open and be ready to adapt.
Video clips produced by ybc.tv for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.
Online reviews continue to influence customer decisions. Data from Deloitte shows that 81% of general consumers read reviews and check ratings. In the hospitality industry these reviews are being published on different social media sites, direct on hotel and booking sites, and are frequently being written on mobiles and on mobile apps. Knowing that fake reviews are possible, trust between companies and consumers is becoming increasingly important.
In this briefing four experts discuss credibility and making the most of reviews.
According to Deloitte 42% of holiday makers use review sites. But companies are also looking for ways to show reviews on direct platforms. As discussed in the above videos, Choice Hotels is verifying reviews that are posted on its website, and TrustYou is a company offering tools and solutions for Travel and Tourism companies to display credible reviews to customers. Expedia is also taking step to ensure only true customers can leave reviews, whilst also displaying TripAdvisor posts alongside these.
Foursquare is a mobile app and review site for food, drink, activities and shopping, on which comments are always linked to specific locations. The site has more than 55 million users worldwide who have ‘checked in’ to locations over seven billion times. Business can ‘claim’ their locations in order to interact with the customers who are posting on the site. Two million businesses have done this so far. Research shows that connecting with customers who are leaving reviews can have a positive impact on business.
One review site that covers all industries is Yelp. In the first quarter of 2015 more than 50% of Yelp content (reviews and photos) was generated on mobile devices and 65% of searches came from mobile devices. Interestingly in the first quarter of 2015 there were many more positive reviews posted than negative ones with 42% of reviews giving a 5 star rating, 25% giving 4 stars and only 14% of reviews giving 1 star.
Validity and trust is of course important to the success of review sites themselves. Yelp has a review filter which it says helps to spot fake reviews. It has taken legal action against people trying to buy and sell reviews and has recently filed a lawsuit against a company which falsely said it could remove negative reviews form the site. Yelp is not the only company taking this kind of action. Amazon too has recently taken out a lawsuit over fake reviews.
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Video clips produced by yBC for the Hospitality Channel, including interview from industry conferences such as the IHIF conference as well as specific Hospitality Channel shoots.