Jack Ma on future of Travel and 4 more stories

The instant booking problem

Every metasearch provider now has an instant booking solution, the latest to add to it was Trivago, they've decided to make it free. TripAdvisor is trying working to fix theirs, Google has one too. Kayak tested it long time ago. But nobody has solved it yet, except OTAs. The only ones who actually do "instant booking" on their sites are the OTAs. Even hotels use third party booking engines. The metasearch providers have identified it as a problem, will hotels and booking engine providers soon catch on?


Jack Ma of Alibaba predicts AI will grow travel

There's no questioning that Jack Ma sees more than most of us when it comes to tech. Having built Alibaba into one of the largest tech companies in the world should testify to that. In a recent talk he predicts some changes that are imminent. While I'm maybe more positive on some of it, I believe he's very right about the fact that artificial intelligence will permit people to travel more. I personally believe that more travel will mean less wars, but maybe I'm just too optimistic.


Should Tech replace Humans in Hotels?

There is a conflict in the concept of technology being used by guests in hotels; hotels are hotels because of people. Sure there's the room and the bed, but since the beginning, hotels that did best did so because the people where hospitable and friendly. So the very concept of computers replacing people is flawed. The more relevant question is how can technology help make people more hospitable. The revolution of the iPhone wasn't apps or a smartphone, it was that it could hide all the technology away behind better user-interfaces so normal people could interact with smartphones. This brilliant account from a former hotelier shows how technology works in hotels, for better and for worse. 


Could OTAs eventually deliver ads?

Just like the travel sector, online advertising sector is dominated by a duopoly. But online ads are dominated by Google and Facebook. But what's interesting is how Amazon is taking a growing (albeit small) share of the advertising pie, even though those very ads compete with their own offerings. With search presumably moving towards voice, they'll have a potential to become a much bigger player, and that will be interesting for hotel companies. Could OTAs learn from Amazon and start delivering ads for hotels directly as well?That's pretty far fetched today, but who knows. But while we're waiting, hotels should start looking at how to turn Facebook advertising into a profitable ad channel. 


Attribution models... they still need work

Over half of all advertisers still use last click attribution (that's not limited to the hotel industry) there is still a lot to do to create accurate attribution models and tracking systems. It will take a while before a universal attributions tool is created, but maybe building a tool for the hotel industry might be easier because patterns in our industry are similar country to country. There are several website add-on tools that could take the lead on a project like that, who already have tons of tracking happening. 


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