What Hotel Marketers and Revenue Managers Read most in 2015

Every year hotelmarketing.com publishes a review of the most read articles of the year just passed, these the list is emailed to the subscribers and going through the list is somewhat of a treasure of hotel marketing and revenue management data. 

Analyzing the list is an exercise in analytics and in seeing what is on the mind of the hotel marketing and revenue management industry. It may not predict future trends but it certainly helps understand what concerns the industry the most and with that maybe tailor one's offerings to meet those requirements.  

I've gone through the list and categorized each of the "Most Popular Posts of 2015" based on their content. The summaries are an interesting read.  

The End of Rate Parity caught everyone's attention

Some 17% of the most popular articles were related to the unfolding story of rate parity and how it is being taken down. Many are targeting Booking.com which I would say isn't totally fair as rate parity isn't their invention. Surely some people stand to gain or loose from this. The fact is rate parity isn't a natural equilibrium and nature has a tendency to change things like this.  

Direct Bookings are as popular as ever

Hotels love direct bookings and this is more obvious than ever. I don't recall a year where direct bookings were more popular than now. Interestingly enough Booking.com does believe they are the cheapest source of revenue for a hotel. Arguably rate parity is about direct revenue, but we've decided to split the two.  

Marketing innovations are less interesting than revenue optimization 

Interestingly marketing innovations are only third place when it comes to popular items on hotelmarketing.com, that may be a peculiarity in the hotel world or it is that way everywhere. But one would think that new ways to market one's hotel would top the list, at least in our frenetic digital society. This is a good thing in a way as optimizing certainly is an important element. But our industry could use some more innovations.  

Metasearch evolution got people worried 

To be fair, Google and TripAdvisor owned the stories on meta-search last year. Their shift from pay-per-click model to commission model concerned more than one hotel marketer, wondering if they will remain meta-search engines or if they are turning to becoming OTAs.  

OTAs dominance 

The dominance of OTAs in the hotel marketing and revenue management space has hoteliers watching. The duopoly of Expedia and Booking.com and their growing power on hotel distribution was interesting enough to keep readers clicking. Hotels are rightfully concerned, especially that there doesn't seem to be much happening to change that fact.  

Airbnb and the disruptors of the future 

Hoteliers, hotel marketers, distribution managers and revenue managers are keeping a lookout for who will be changing the future and it looks like everyone agrees that Airbnb is the big disruptor. Between Expedia buying up competitors and others having Airbnb clones (Booking and TripAdvisor) - the fact remains that Airbnb is on the path to disruption carefully following the "rules of distruption" to the letter.  

Travel Tech's consolidation didn't go unnoticed 

Thank goodness it didn't, this is the year Sabre announced they are buying Trust, Expedia bought Orbitz plus Travelocity and Marriot bought Starwood. One would have expected this to be on the top of the list as 2015 can probably go down history as the biggest hospitality tech consolidation year ever.  

 

Interesting hotel marketing news of 2015

 

Do it yourself hotel websites

The slur of do-it-yourself hotel websites. A topic that doesn't seem to be concerning too many hoteliers today, except for maybe those with too little money to invest in custom websites and those innovators who have already discovered that one doesn't need all the bells and whistles, one needs websites that work - extremely well.  

Big Data for hotels 

Some innovators such as HeBS, SnapShot, Xotels, Duetto, ForwardKeys, citizenM, Accor (yes them too) have been on that path for a while but it seems hoteliers and hotel marketers aren't yet too concerned about what to do with their data and how to use it. It could be exactly the point, nobody seems to have a broadly applicable solution that works for everyone.  

The real costs of hotel marketing 

Talks of increasing direct bookings and reducing OTA influence are hot topics. But few if any hoteliers understand or know what their real cost of distribution is. Kalibri Labs, Xotels, SnapShot and formerly Yeeld Solutions have been working on solutions for this for quite a while and hotels should begin to look into it. Once one starts to clearly look at what it really costs to pay for advertising, sales teams, commissions, transaction fees and the likes, it paints a very different picture of what is the most profitable hotel marketing channel. Some revenue managers already know their answers and maybe that's why they aren't jumping onto every shiny marketing object that comes their way.   

 

Who dominated

54% of the most popular list mentioned one of more brands in the title proving the fact that people like big names. Posts that were "pseudo-branded" with words such as OTA weren't taken into account. Of the most popular, the brands that took home most visibility in 2015 were:  

Booking.com with 38%  
Google with 20% 
TripAdvisor with 15% 
Airbnb with 13% 
Expedia and Marriot with 5% each 

Those with a single mention weren't taken into account.  

Overall, what a year for hotel marketing and revenue technology.  

For the full list check it out here, courtesy of hotelmarketing.com  

Most popular posts in 2015

Booking.com alarmed by France’s new hotel rate parity plans

Booking.com officially launches BookingSuite, creates free websites for small hotels

Google expected to roll out new “captive demand” platform for hotels

Marriott launches “it pays to book direct” campaign

France bans all hotel rate parity clauses by law

Google Hotel Finder officially retired, Hotel Ads Commission Program now open for all hotels

Study ranks world’s most popular luxury hotel brands for 2015

Google Hotel Finder adds direct hotel booking

New study confirms Airbnb’s negative impact on hotel industry

OTAs see chaos when rate parity ends

The TripAdvisor effect

Sabre acquires Trust Group, creates world’s largest hotel CRS provider

Booking.com to abandon rate parity in Europe

OTA consolidation bad news for hotels

Amazon closes hotel booking service

Airbnb is the next big hotel distribution channel

Booking.com to amend parity provisions throughout Europe

Why “Book on Google” and “TripAdvisor Instant Booking” are bad for hoteliers

Beating OTAs with real-time data

Why consumers abandon their online travel bookings

TripAdvisor and Booking.com enter Instant Booking partnership

Two subtle OTA booking secrets to copy for your hotel website

OTAs have a new demon to battle: Google!

Is it the end for ‘rate parity’ in hotels?

Expedia launches tool for same day hotel booking generation

Is hospitality ready for the post-rate parity era?

Booking.com shows true colours of a dominant player

Hotels fight back against OTAs, seeking direct bookings

6 key travel trends for 2016, according to TripAdvisor

Booking.com has a new take on last-minute hotel bookings

Germany rejects Booking.com proposal on hotel rate practices

Google confirms global rollout of new Hotel Finder interface

How millennials killed travel marketing as we know it

Rate parity: The battle to determine how hotel rooms are bought

The hotel billboard effect is dead

Accor to transform its distribution platform into an open market for independent hotels

Hotelier’s action plan to win back market share from the OTAs

Airbnb launches global product suite for businesses

Hotels have lost the traveler relationship to OTAs

Why Google/TripAdvisor is a blessing for hoteliers willing to embrace a new paradigm

What the Expedia and Priceline duopoloy means to an independent hotel

A boutique hotelier explains what’s wrong with the state of online booking

Expedia buys HomeAway for $3.9B as Airbnb threat grows

The continuing battle for direct hotel bookings

Priceline CEO explains its landmark TripAdvisor deal

Booking.com rate parity settlement only a half-step forward

OTAs report double the profits of hotel websites

Booking.com threaten legal action against Triptease

Marriott buys Starwood, creates new powerhouse in hotel marketing and distribution

Google to blame for empty hotel rooms?

How guests select hotels online

Booking.com-TripAdvisor deal showing impact

TripAdvisor transformed: Instant booking is now in full swing

Booking.com enters corporate travel market

Five lies hotel marketers need to unlearn

Booking.com claims to be cheapest paid marketing channel for hotels

Business demand for Airbnb surges as company sees record corporate signups

Top 10 luxury hotel brands in digital

Battle of the travel perks: Hoteliers vs OTAs in loyalty program fight

Reactive pricing strategies don’t work in hospitality, new Cornell study finds

Martin Soler