In the fast changing online world, what does 2013 have in store for your hotel? Are you targeting a bigger slice of online business? How much should you be investing in the brand website? And are you pricing your hotel right? Is the increasing use of mobile technology going to have an impact? Read on for our list of trends which will change the way you do business online this year.
Trend 1 – The three-screen battle in 2013
Hoteliers should pay special attention to desktop, mobile and tablet separately. Search engines and many major media sites already consider tablets as a distinct device category, characterised by its own unique user behaviour. According to Google’s data, 7% of all searches in 2012 already come from tablets versus 14% from mobile devices and 79% via desktops. Google also reports different search dynamics across the three device/channel categories and a dramatic increase in hotel queries in the mobile and tablet channels.
Trend 2 – Google Hotel Finder
Google Hotel Finder is going to become more and more relevant. Still in beta testing, the experiment has yet to generate high volumes
Trend 3 – Ability to book on the road
The ability to book on the road will lead to more last-minute bookings, overall will contribute to shorter booking windows throughout the industry. A related trend is the importance of same day booking – If a room is empty, and the hotel has an easy platform on which to load that room and display it to the masses, there is a huge potential marketplace there. Consumers are motivated by big discounts as well as the necessity for a bed for the night.
Trend 4 – Role of brand website
The typical travel shopper visits 22 websites in “multiple shopping sessions” before booking a trip but “travellers relying solely on third party websites would not receive all the information needed to make a fully informed purchase decision.” This means more opportunities for the hotel to improve conversions from their own website.
Trend 5 – Opaque listings
These are evolving as the answer to negate parity strict hoteliers not giving exclusive deals. Hotwire, the first site of purely opaque listings, and now also Secret Escapes (less relevant in Asia at the moment) show there is consumer appetite for the bargain, and they don’t care where they are staying as long as it’s perceived to be great value for what it is. Other OTAs continue to push secret listings, some more than others (ie: Lastminute Secret Hotels, Wotif’s Wot Hotels). With parity policies not disappearing anytime soon, neither will opaque listings.
Trend 6 – Channel Managers
Channel Managers and full service portals are becoming very powerful and collectively driving strategy trends in terms of their distribution. This in turn gives independent hotels a lot more power and know-how in terms of how they manage their distribution and will mean that certain OTAs can’t be so aggressive with small chains or independents, as their distribution will be spread more intuitively and evenly. Hotels are now able to update prices for all future arrival dates to match market demands each day, via advanced market intelligence applications.