How Hotels can profit from Pokémon Go


trivago-pokemon-go

“Pokémon Go: What is it, and how can my hotel profit from it?” by Jamie Patterson originally appeared on Hotelier Hub UK on July 15, 2016 and was reprinted and adapted with permission. Hotelier Hub UK is Trivago’s blog for hotel managers and THE place to learn about metasearch and hotel marketing. You can find the original post here!

As I’m writing this, Pokémon GO is being downloaded in the UK faster than you can say “Bob’s your uncle”. Chances are pretty good that by the time you start reading this, your street is enjoying an increase in foot traffic. Not because it’s summer, but because there’s something bringing people (and their cell phones) together, and luring them all out into the streets.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Take a look out of your front window or down the alleyway. Notice a bunch of people huddled together looking at their phones? How about over by the old church or next to the statues in the centre of town?

Ah, yes. Now you see them. Those packs of people leaning on the wall by the town’s ashen war memorial, looking at their smartphone and chatting animatedly.

Those people represent the biggest opportunity for your hotel business this summer. So take a good look at them. They’re probably at a PokéStop or a PokéGym. And if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, I’m here to explain.

Rather than just writing off Pokémon GO as some fad for teenagers who think socializing is taking selfies on Snapchat, pay attention. I am going to walk you through the basics of Pokémon GO as it relates to your hotel, and then I’ll give you a couple ways to directly capitalise on its soaring popularity.

What is Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO is a free-to-play game available via a mobile app that leverages GPS and AR (augmented reality). The game is being released in stages by gaming tycoon Nintendo and is being developed by the Google-backed joint venture Niantic.

This modern take on the classic RPG (role playing game) Pokémon is called Pokémon GO. It utilises Google’s GPS, bringing the gaming world and real life together through AR. This makes it exceptionally unique. Contributing to the hype is the fact that the average person can access this AR experience free of charge. What’s more, is that it’s based on a relatable set of characters brought back to life from the nostalgic childhood of the Millennial population.

The gateway to it all is the app. Through it, Pokémon trainers (players) are brought together and sent off to rediscover their hometowns and to explore new locales on their quests to virtually “catch” Pokémon (mystical cartoon creatures).

Are any businesses benefitting from this craze?

Pokémon GO may have just been released in the UK and in Italy mid-July, but by now it’s also available in Germany, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. And the impact it’s had on local businesses in this short time, particularly in the hospitality and travel sector, is inspiring.

First of all, the game revolves around the goal of collecting all of the Pokémon by “catching ‘em all”.

Because it’s an AR concept, players have to use the app to see where Pokemon are hiding in everyday life. Pokémon are now found in and around various pre-existing POIs (points of interest). You know, like historical monuments, museums, public works of art, and the like. These areas are known as PokéStops.

What are PokéStops and PokéGyms anyway?

Here players can collect in-game goodies like “candy” to make their Pokémon stronger. The stops have been pre-determined through Ingress, another AR game by the same development team. Although many stops are significant cultural POIs, there’s also a host of public buildings, cafes, bars, and even homes that are PokéStops.

And your hotel might be one too. If so, you’re sitting on a mini goldmine.

Some restaurants in the US realised very quickly, that their businesses were PokéStops and have been quick to capitalise. Other companies are benefiting just by having mere proximity to a stop. One such venue reported that it’s seen a significant increase in foot traffic since the game released and that drink sales are up by 30 percent.

If your lodgings are a stop, you’ll know. There will be people coming by in droves soon enough.

In addition to stops, there are PokéGyms. These are places where gamers can train their Pokémon and make them strong and “battle ready”. They can compete in friendly competitions with other trainers (players) of the same team (there are three teams worldwide) or can engage in “battles to the death” with opposing forces.

Either way, Pokémon GO and PokéGyms provide a huge business opportunity to you.

How do I get my hotel in on the Pokémon Go action?

There are numerous ways in which you can join in on the fun and grow your profits at the same time. First things first, I suggest that you download the app and see firsthand what it looks like. If you want a sneak peak, check out the official game trailer.

After you’ve got a better idea of what the hype is about, let locals Know with a Sandwich Board and classic advertising!

Sometimes the simplest approach to advertising and marketing is the best. Although this game is available from everywhere from Down Under to America to Europe—with plans to launch in Asia soon—it’s still highly local. It’s encouraging people to get out of their homes (and offices) and into the streets of their communities to rediscover cultural assets, where subsequently, they may find Pokémon. In the US, we’ve already seen museums that had been struggling to survive enjoy surges in guests and foot traffic because they happen to be stops. So let passers-by know if you’re a stop or a gym. If you’re not, offer deals to game players to encourage them to visit.

For example:

On your quest to “catch ‘em all”? Stop by for a refreshment in our hotel bar and enjoy a Pokémon trainer exclusive discount.

You can try other messages too. This game is played on smartphones and presumably, takes up a considerable amount of battery power. Encourage players to recharge at your hotel with a message like this:

En route to the next PokéStop and your battery’s about to die? We’ve got charging cables for (enter phone types here). Come on in and borrow one for a while.

Phone chargers have never been more affordable, so I suggest you stock up on several major varieties.

So, are you already out to “catch ‘em all” when it comes to converting players into patrons?

Visit our knowledge section to find more tips and tricks on how to bring more customers into your hotel by utilising the newest tech trends like WhatsApp, or excisting proven tools like our review management solution Review Analytics!


How Hotels can profit from Pokémon Go

trivago-pokemon-go

“Pokémon Go: What is it, and how can my hotel profit from it?” by Jamie Patterson originally appeared on Hotelier Hub UK on July 15, 2016 and was reprinted and adapted with permission. Hotelier Hub UK is Trivago’s blog for hotel managers and THE place to learn about metasearch and hotel marketing. You can find the original post here!

As I’m writing this, Pokémon GO is being downloaded in the UK faster than you can say “Bob’s your uncle”. Chances are pretty good that by the time you start reading this, your street is enjoying an increase in foot traffic. Not because it’s summer, but because there’s something bringing people (and their cell phones) together, and luring them all out into the streets.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Take a look out of your front window or down the alleyway. Notice a bunch of people huddled together looking at their phones? How about over by the old church or next to the statues in the centre of town?

Ah, yes. Now you see them. Those packs of people leaning on the wall by the town’s ashen war memorial, looking at their smartphone and chatting animatedly.

Those people represent the biggest opportunity for your hotel business this summer. So take a good look at them. They’re probably at a PokéStop or a PokéGym. And if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, I’m here to explain.

Rather than just writing off Pokémon GO as some fad for teenagers who think socializing is taking selfies on Snapchat, pay attention. I am going to walk you through the basics of Pokémon GO as it relates to your hotel, and then I’ll give you a couple ways to directly capitalise on its soaring popularity.

What is Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO is a free-to-play game available via a mobile app that leverages GPS and AR (augmented reality). The game is being released in stages by gaming tycoon Nintendo and is being developed by the Google-backed joint venture Niantic.

This modern take on the classic RPG (role playing game) Pokémon is called Pokémon GO. It utilises Google’s GPS, bringing the gaming world and real life together through AR. This makes it exceptionally unique. Contributing to the hype is the fact that the average person can access this AR experience free of charge. What’s more, is that it’s based on a relatable set of characters brought back to life from the nostalgic childhood of the Millennial population.

The gateway to it all is the app. Through it, Pokémon trainers (players) are brought together and sent off to rediscover their hometowns and to explore new locales on their quests to virtually “catch” Pokémon (mystical cartoon creatures).

Are any businesses benefitting from this craze?

Pokémon GO may have just been released in the UK and in Italy mid-July, but by now it’s also available in Germany, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. And the impact it’s had on local businesses in this short time, particularly in the hospitality and travel sector, is inspiring.

First of all, the game revolves around the goal of collecting all of the Pokémon by “catching ‘em all”.

Because it’s an AR concept, players have to use the app to see where Pokemon are hiding in everyday life. Pokémon are now found in and around various pre-existing POIs (points of interest). You know, like historical monuments, museums, public works of art, and the like. These areas are known as PokéStops.

What are PokéStops and PokéGyms anyway?

Here players can collect in-game goodies like “candy” to make their Pokémon stronger. The stops have been pre-determined through Ingress, another AR game by the same development team. Although many stops are significant cultural POIs, there’s also a host of public buildings, cafes, bars, and even homes that are PokéStops.

And your hotel might be one too. If so, you’re sitting on a mini goldmine.

Some restaurants in the US realised very quickly, that their businesses were PokéStops and have been quick to capitalise. Other companies are benefiting just by having mere proximity to a stop. One such venue reported that it’s seen a significant increase in foot traffic since the game released and that drink sales are up by 30 percent.

If your lodgings are a stop, you’ll know. There will be people coming by in droves soon enough.

In addition to stops, there are PokéGyms. These are places where gamers can train their Pokémon and make them strong and “battle ready”. They can compete in friendly competitions with other trainers (players) of the same team (there are three teams worldwide) or can engage in “battles to the death” with opposing forces.

Either way, Pokémon GO and PokéGyms provide a huge business opportunity to you.

How do I get my hotel in on the Pokémon Go action?

There are numerous ways in which you can join in on the fun and grow your profits at the same time. First things first, I suggest that you download the app and see firsthand what it looks like. If you want a sneak peak, check out the official game trailer.

After you’ve got a better idea of what the hype is about, let locals Know with a Sandwich Board and classic advertising!

Sometimes the simplest approach to advertising and marketing is the best. Although this game is available from everywhere from Down Under to America to Europe—with plans to launch in Asia soon—it’s still highly local. It’s encouraging people to get out of their homes (and offices) and into the streets of their communities to rediscover cultural assets, where subsequently, they may find Pokémon. In the US, we’ve already seen museums that had been struggling to survive enjoy surges in guests and foot traffic because they happen to be stops. So let passers-by know if you’re a stop or a gym. If you’re not, offer deals to game players to encourage them to visit.

For example:

On your quest to “catch ‘em all”? Stop by for a refreshment in our hotel bar and enjoy a Pokémon trainer exclusive discount.

You can try other messages too. This game is played on smartphones and presumably, takes up a considerable amount of battery power. Encourage players to recharge at your hotel with a message like this:

En route to the next PokéStop and your battery’s about to die? We’ve got charging cables for (enter phone types here). Come on in and borrow one for a while.

Phone chargers have never been more affordable, so I suggest you stock up on several major varieties.

So, are you already out to “catch ‘em all” when it comes to converting players into patrons?

Visit our knowledge section to find more tips and tricks on how to bring more customers into your hotel by utilising the newest tech trends like WhatsApp, or excisting proven tools like our review management solution Review Analytics!


Looking back at a successful ITB Berlin 2016

With blisters on our feet from all the walking and dry mouths from all the talking, we at Customer Alliance reflect upon the truly inspiring and successful days of the ITB Berlin 2016!


Post-ITB 2016

It’s the year for anniversaries and records — as ITB Berlin celebrated its 50th anniversary stronger than ever! According to the Messe Berlin GmbH, this year’s fair counted some 10,000 exhibitors from 187 countries meeting with 120,000 trade visitors from the 9th-13th of March – the largest number of trade visitors since the ITB launched in 1966, according to the fair.

The ITB Berlin has always been THE meeting point for our customers, partners, and, of course, our competitors. It is where we strengthen existing, and establish new, long-lasting relationships. Where we discuss the issues our industry faces and how our solutions help our customers and partners tackle those issues even more successfully in the future. First and foremost, it is where we discover and seize new business opportunities.

This year’s numbers report an increase in business conducted during the trade show from 6.7 billion euros in 2015 to 7 billion euros in 2016, from which we partook and confirmed our strategy.

Post-ITB 2016

Overall the message for us is clear:

Even in times of uncertainty end-consumers care about their vacations and keep the travel industry on their toes to continue improving the travel-experience.

This aligns perfectly with our mission to increase customer satisfaction and bookings for the hospitality industry; as well as, our vision to give businesses control over their reputation and bookings.

We are excited about the future of our industry and thankful for the outlook gained from the ITB Berlin 2016!

Curious about how our solutions can help you take control over your reputation and bookings? Simply request a free demo!

Post-ITB 2016

Post-ITB 2016

Post-ITB 2016




Meet Kash @ the World Travel Market 2015 in London

WTM 2015 w/ Kash Patton

Here at Customer Alliance, Kash Patton is the Country Manager International and in charge of the new Global Cities Department. As such, he is especially excited about our involvement with the World Travel Market London (WTM), this November 2nd to 5th, in London. We had the chance to talk to him about expectations, goals and aims of this participation:

This is Customer Alliance’s first year at WTM. What do you look forward to with this participation?

Kash: This first attendance coincides with the launch of our new department, which I will be heading up – Global Cities. We’re looking forward to expanding our markets, and WTM is a great place for us to start doing that.

Since our official start in 2009, thousands of customers in over 35 countries worldwide have been able to improve their processes with our solution Review Analytics. Our goal is to help hotels manage and gain control of their customer relations and online reputation.

Review Analytics collects, integrates, distributes and analyses customer-centric data for hotels, simplifying their review management and reputation analysis. By working with Review Analytics, hotels can increase their visibility, build trust in their own site, and analyze their performance – which then enables them to attract more customers, increase their conversion rates and get more commission-free direct bookings through their own distribution channels.

We are constantly developing our product further, in order to offer our clients the best possible solution for hotel review and reputation management. We appreciate every opportunity to communicate with the hoteliers who use Review Analytics and get some feedback. It will be exciting to talk to customers in person at WTM to find out what we can do next.

Can you tell me more about the new Global Cities department?

Kash: We’re in the process of putting together an English-speaking team to work with hotels in international cities. Up till now, our primary focus has been on the DACH countries, France, Italy and Mexico. Now, with more and more internationally based hotels becoming our customers, it’s time to expand our reach.

With this new department we’ll have the ability to focus on these clients as they deserve, put more energy into figuring out what it is that they specifically need, and evaluate how we can make these cooperations more successful.

You’ll be in the Travel Technology section of the WTM. What would you say is the relevance of travel technology in today’s travel market?

Kash: Travel technology is a relatively new element in the travel market, but it has already become indispensable to travel, and thus to the travel industry. We could even say that it’s become central to the dynamics that exist between hoteliers and travellers. The way we travel, the way we plan our trips, the way we book… all that has notably changed with the new technology of the past 10-15 years. Even just the past 5 years!

We work with the hoteliers and business owners at the heart of the industry, and our clients are themselves directly affected by the travel technology aimed at travellers. Our review management tool, Review Analytics, is a direct response to the OTA’s and online review portals that have emerged, and the need for more direct bookings comes from the fact that travellers are using travel technology.

The nature of travel itself is changing because of new technology, so the hospitality and tourism industries need to change as well, and find their own technology in order to take part in the game. We’re happy to make our contribution to this field with Review Analytics.

The World Travel Market London is just around the corner and Kash is excited to talk to you about how you can more easily manage your hotel’s online reviews and get more direct bookings. So schedule an appointment now and meet Kash at booth TT268 in the Travel Technology Pavilion:

 


Customer Alliance enters international market with first attendance of WTM London

WTM London 2015

October 2015, Berlin. This November 2nd to 5th, Customer Alliance will be attending the WTM (World Travel Market) London for the first time. This attendance marks the launch of the company’s international “Global Cities” market.

Expert in the field of online review management for hotels, the company has recently expanded its work with hotels through its new booking engine, Booked. Now, with this new department, they look forward to bringing their expertise to a more international and English-speaking market.

“We’ve been wanting to expand our international presence for some time, and with the recent successful launch of our booking engine, the timing felt right.”
Says Torsten Sabel, co-founder and COO, who will himself be attending the trade fair.

“We’re looking forward to making new connections and bringing our solutions to the varied international community that attends WTM.”

Customer Alliance will be at WTM November 2nd to 5th, at Booth TT268 in the Travel Technology Pavilion. Stop by to talk to one of their consultants or schedule an appointment.

Just schedule your personal appointment at WTM here!

We are looking forward to meeting you on-site!


How online reviews can actually increase a hotel’s revenue per available room (RevPAR)

RevPar and reviews

In a post from August 2015, TravelPulse.com posted about a study on online hotel reviews, and how guests react to hotelier responses:

A joint paper created by Accenture and the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration highlights the importance of online reviews, and how a travel company’s response can affect its reputation among travelers.

The paper, “Thumbs Down…to Thumbs Up,” draws on a variety of worldwide studies to show how travelers and consumers review and purchase.
Per the paper, one Cornell Hospitality Quarterly study in 2014 showed how online reviews can actually increase a hotel’s revenue per available room (RevPAR), one of the industry’s most important performance metrics.

For the study, authors Ines Blal and Michael Sturman obtained TripAdvisor reviews from more than 300 hotels in London over a 13-week period, as well as RevPAR and occupancy data from STR Global for these same hotels. They found that a hotel’s review score increased RevPAR for higher-end hotels, regardless of the number of reviews. On the other hand, a lower-end hotel’s RevPAR generally increased as the number of reviews increased.

Read the full post on Travelpulse.com

Are you managing your online reviews already? Are you in control of your online hotel reputation? Is your RevPar up to par?

Contact us for a free demo and learn how to manage all your online reviews in one single place. Learn how to gain control of your online hotel reputation and improve your visibility across the web with our tool for 360° hotel review management. Save time in the evaluation of your guest feedback, keep an eye on your reputation and get more direct bookings!




Improved excel chain reports – to keep the overview over the performance of all your hotels!

Excel chain reports

As a manager who is overlooking the success of a hotel chain or group, you have special needs when monitoring your online presence and reputation. It is important to keep the overview over all your hotels, not just the best- or worst performing ones.

This is why our 360° Review Management tool Review Analytics offers you one login for all your hotels. Entering your “Group Backend” allows you to view and analyse all the hotels belonging to your chain – both separately and all together as a group.

Facts and figures

Let’s face it, knowing all your facts and figures is crucial. Detailed and clear structured reports about your guest reviews are what you are looking for. So far, our reporting function already generates quality reports including your review-based KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and graphs, depending on your selected categories and time periods.

But it gets even better…

We are always aiming for the best possible reporting functions. So, by taking your requests into account, we came up with even more improvements. The excel reports for your chain or group now have a range of new functions, providing for more valuable information, clear results, a better overview, and less time-investment analysing your results.

Excel chain reports

What’s new?

Your excel reports overview shows your review count and average rating over the selected period, overall and individually. Next to the overview tab, the “Further Statistics” tab now also presents you with an overview of your ratings in all subcriteria. Here you can find their overall average calculation in the bottom row and last column, enabling you to compare the single hotels performances with the average.

Your chain- or group performance on the “Further Statistics” tab not only provides you with an immediate overview of the satisfaction tendencies of your target group, but also informs you which chain- or group members understand their target group the best and which will need assistance to prevent influencing your overall customer-satisfaction-index negatively.

By popular request, you will from now on also find your reports aligned vertically, so all the chain- or group hotels are visually structured in one row and the same order for all report tables. So, go for the improved overview of all your hotels: Check out your new excel reports in the “Reports” section of your backend!

Not a Customer Alliance user yet, but interested in improving your online reputation? Get a free live demo with one of our consultants!




Simplified guest data import options – inviting your guests to leave a review has never been easier!

New CSV Upload

We have significantly improved your guest data import section within your Review Analytics backend. Sending post-stay emails to your guest, encouraging them to leave a review for you hotel, has now become even easier.

What’s new?

Most importantly, there is no need anymore to convert your Excel file into a CSV file before importing your guest data. You can now easily upload both, CSV or Excel file to your backend. This already is a significant improvement for everyone that struggled with the conversion of their Excel files.

New CSV upload improvements

We further simplified the upload function altogether, which now also allows you to upload even unadjusted data sets. The Review Analytics guest data import allows you to enter big number of guests at once. So far, you had to make sure, that the uploaded file contains exactly 5 columns with information on the name, gender,email address, language and the departure date of your guests.

The improved guest data import function still requires the same information, but does not only allow you to upload CSV or Excel files with up to 30 columns, but also matches the required information for you. This way you do not need to clean and create fitting data sets beforehand anymore.

CSV upload

Guest data upload 2.0

The simplified upload options in your guest data import section are designed to save you even more valuable time by speeding up the import of your guests data. This way, initializing the sending out of your review invitations has become even easier and generating the feedback from your guests that determine your online reputation is only a few clicks away.

Check out your new guest data import functions in the “Guests” section of your backend!

Not a Customer Alliance user yet, but interested in improving your online reputation? Get a free live demo with one of our consultants!

 




The Triumph of Customer Reviews – Airlines are next!

Airline Reviews

The importance of reviews

With the continuous growth in interaction between companies and their customers off- and online, the importance of “worth of mouth” has reached a new height. These days, recommendations come in the form of online reviews and studies have shown that internet users place a very high value on these reviews, generally treating them with the same amount of respect as they would a friend’s recommendation*.

Hoteliers know that, for today’s traveler, online reviews are an important part of the decision-making process leading to the final booking decision. A tangible guarantee in an intangible industry, in which you cannot return your holiday and get your money back if it does not meet your expectations. Holiday-makers thus value the experiences of other travelers, as they provide more guaranteed certainty of what they might expect. Reviews increase travelers’ confidence that you and your staff genuinely care about your guests and the quality of their stay, or even just their travel experience. Collecting these reviews is therefore the first vital step for a hotelier. Making them visible to future potential guests, is the next step towards effectively managing your reviews and, subsequently, your online reputation. Read more about it in our Whitepaper on Review Management!)

Airlines are next!

While this concept of online reviews has been dominating the hospitality industry for years already, the airline industry is much more of a late-comer to this field. But the industry and its target group is changing. While travelers used to focus on looking for flights based on price, with the airline offering the lowest airfare coming out ahead, nowadays travelers are beginning to select their flights based more on amenities. In-flight services such as wifi, comfortable interiors and fresh food are of increasing importance and often decisive for the final decision on where to book. With the increasing amount of business travelers, flight durations also play an important role in the customer’s choice.

Customer reviews triump as the best instant-feedback form, to find out what a company should focus on in order to keep existing- and attract future potential guests. And how do travelers inform themselves about in-flight amenities? On the internet, on review- and feedback portals! So for Airlines, it is not only important to stay on track with latest product developments, but also time to create a functioning review management system for their business.

There is no doubt that the airline industry can easily learn from and adopt hospitality practices to better deal with customer outrage. In the end, most common airline customer complaints and comments are very similar to those received in the hospitality industry.

So 2015 definitely is the year, that airlines should be reaching for the stars!

Find out how Customer Alliance’ Software Review Analytics automatically surveys guests, distributes the reviews on different platforms, and offers a wide variety of statistical analysis that helps any customer-focused service business manage their reviews, reputation, direct bookings and correspondingly, their revenue. Ask for a free demo here:




New player enters Online Travel Business – What to expect from Amazon’s new Hotel Bookings Service?

customer-alliance-booking-possibilities-amazon

Heading for new shores…

With the launch of their new online hotel bookings service Amazon Destinations, the world’s biggest online retailer has entered the online travel business. Amazon Destinations, part of the Amazon Local site, is looking to capture the niche market of short-term local getaways. Clever as always, Amazon has chosen to venture into an area which, up till now, has been largely overlooked by its competing booking sites. A choice all the more clever considering the current travel trends, with their emphasis on authenticity and adventure travel.

Their new venture is all over the news, but so far, Amazon Destinations is focused solely on travellers in the United States and only offers hotel breaks in the Pacific Northwest, California and the Northeast. Most of the 150 hotels currently listed on Amazon Destinations are in close proximity to New York, Los Angeles and Amazons company base, Seattle. The product focuses on independent properties, with some larger brand names here and there.

To date, Amazon has kept quiet about whether or not – not to mention how much – commission they would charge Hotels for rooms booked through their service. But since an Amazon spokesman described the service as “competitive” with such Online Travel Agents as Expedia.com and Booking.com, it is to be assumed that commission rates will be between 10% and 25%.

Additional competition – a chance for hotels?

With the rising distribution costs charged by the main Online Travel Agents, hoteliers are desperate to lead customers directly to their websites for commission-free direct bookings. And while it becomes increasingly important that hotels regain their independence from the Online Travel Agents in the long-run, a first step towards a detachment might be made now. (Find out why it is so important for hotels to stay independent. Click here to read our Blogpost about the implications of Booking.com’s anonymization of guest email addresses!)

Numerous hotels have voiced their approval of Amazon’s new online hotel bookings service. Because let’s face it, Expedia and Priceline’s Booking have only strengthened their position of monopoly in recent years and will undoubtedly keep growing in the near future. Adding competition will stir up the market and hoteliers are hoping to eventually get more for the commission they are paying.

What do you think? Do you agree that the current Online Travel Agents position of monopoly damages the hospitality industry? And do you welcome Amazon’s new hotel booking service as long needed competition?

 

– All questions that will surely keep the industry talking in the future!

While a competitive market for Online Travel Agents is invaluable for the hotelier, becoming independent from those external booking portals is equally important.
This is why Customer Alliance is launching Booked – our very own booking engine, designed to help hoteliers more easily convert website visits into commission-free direct bookings with an integrated Booking Widget.

Be courageous like Amazon, and sign up for our exclusive Booked Beta Test here:

 


Online Travel Agent Booking.com has made guest data anonymous

hotel guest data anonymization

Online Travel Agent Booking.com has made guest data anonymous

As of this month, Priceline’s Booking.com has implemented rather drastic changes in the way hotel guest data is handled. Booking.com has made guest email addresses anonymous and therewith unavailable to Hotels. This is, according to the Online Travel Agent, to provide an extra level of security for both hotels and guests. As stated in an email, sent to their customers, Booking.com sees the biggest current challenge in protecting the personal data of individuals and companies from the evolving threat through cyber attacks, and that it would be essential to take actions now to find appropriate solutions, both for hotels and their customers.

What are the implications for the hotels?

Hotels can continue communicating with their guest, through the booking.com Extranet. The difference is that their identity, as well as the identity of their guests, will be hidden. The bottom line is simple: Booking.com takes the ownership of guest data away from the hotels, strengthens their Extranet as “the most secure environment” for hotels “to communicate directly with guests”, and creates even further dependencies.

While nobody will deny that it is important to increase online security, there is also no doubt that owning guest data is of fundamental value for hotels, and that giving up ownership will require additional efforts from the hotels to make sure they capture their guests data.

What becomes important now?

It will become more important than ever, that hotels regain their independence from external booking portals like booking.com. Why should you give up on your guest data on top of paying commission? Instead it’s all about encouraging direct commission-free bookings, by keeping the attention where it belongs: on your own website!

With that in mind, Customer Alliance is launching Booked – our very own booking engine, designed to be simple and responsive for both hotels and their customers. The ultimate goal is to convert website visits into commission-free direct bookings more easily with the integrated Booking Widget. Get a first insight yourself and sign up here for our exclusive Booked Beta-Test

Another powerful tool, which helps hotels to increase direct bookings, is our Review Analytics. It supports hotels to manage their online reputation by facilitating the analysis of online reviews and by collecting more guest reviews through a personalized automatic guest survey. It further increases the hotels visibility by embedding the reviews on the hotels own website and is also ensuring that reviews are collected across the web on all important hotel-search-websites. The increased visibility then leads to higher conversion rates through more direct bookings. Learn more about it and sign up for a Free Demo here:

For hotels, time has clearly come to break out of old dependencies and go back to being the rightful owner of their own guest data!