Dara from Expedia talks about Google and 4 more stories
How dangerous is Google to hotel marketing?
There's a lot to be said about how big and powerful Google has become. They've taken the lead in metasearch, they're the only player in the search ads space, they're a close second on Voice Assistants, they own the website analytics space and that's just the part hotel marketing is concerned with. Should hoteliers be worried? I don't think so, but OTAs on the other hand...
We are reaching peak on "Direct Booking"
Let's face it, direct bookings is a wonderful buzzword for anyone related to hotel marketing. It isn't because direct bookings necessarily are cheaper or better, but because it has become a brand. A brand hoteliers believe is their "call to freedom". The fact isn't quite a simple as that, direct bookings are mostly, but not always, cheaper than third party bookings. Now, I get it, "owning the guest" and so forth is great (just don't try to explain that to guests). But the brand is wearing thin, we risk it becoming a snake oil. Two interesting articles on the subject. And please, stop abusing the term, it took years to make it a thing.
What went wrong in the Cloud
Dozens, if not hundreds of hotel tech companies pride themselves with being cloud companies. It's cool, it was a buzzword, but still the majority of hotels haven't caught on. This most probably comes from the painful process of changing core systems like PMS and the fact that the lifecycle of such systems averages on 8-9 years. But there's a little more to it than that. Keith Gruen published an interesting analysis on the subject that is worth reading both for tech companies and hotel companies.
A marketing tax in hotels? gotta be kidding
Somehow, somewhere, someone came up with a really bad idea and managed to get it approved. The idea is to add a sort of destination marketing fee to room nights. It seems someone thought resort fees were a great idea so why not add a marketing fee. Seriously, it is not a got idea. Really not. I recently booked a hotel in Vegas, incredible deal of some $60 a night at the MGM Grand... plus a resort fee of $55. Seriously that's bait and switch marketing. Just advertise your rate, I would still take it at $110 a night. We can argue that it's not the hotels fault. Most people won't care, the hotel get's the blame.
Expedia is seriously into chatbots and voice
In an interview with the Financial Times, Dara Khosrowshahi, says two important things, Google is an existential threat for OTAs and Expedia is obsessed with voice search. The two are intimately tied. As I mentioned in the first article of this email, as voice begins to dominate search (Google says over 20% of mobile search is voice) this will slowly erode the existence of websites. So OTAs have the most to lose - well hotels too. Thus shifting to voice and bots will be the future and that requires a lot of hard work now.