What is Booking Doing? and 4 more stories
What is Booking doing?
It seems Booking knows that the OTA model will eventually be disrupted by someone or something. And it's not going to happen this year or next, but considering the fact that two large players are entering the market (Airbnb and Google's Hotel service) it seems only wise that for Booking to be testing a lot of new things. This recap by Sean at Skift should be published once a quarter to keep us normal people in the know of all that they are working on.
ITB: A lot has changed in 10 years
ITB used to have a love/hate relationship with hotel and travel tech. While being the biggest show for travel, the tech scene was pretty small and limited to the big players. The startups and other companies were relegated to side halls, really really far from the main scene. This year was quite different and it shows how much innovation in hotel and travel tech is becoming a mainstream concern. Was it all useful, no. But what is great is to see how the sector is growing and more importantly how busy the tech halls were. The keynotes are becoming more interesting as well. This article from Tnooz has a few of the best ones. Sadly, Airbnb's keynote was mainly a product pitch rather than real insights on where they are going or where the industry should be.
Having managed plenty of social media campaigns for hotels, there typically comes a time in the day, week, month or career where one runs out of ideas of things to say or do to engage with one's audience as a hotel. But here's a brilliant resource for when that creative block happens, a resource of the best hotels currently on Instagram, sortable by country. Something to bookmark.
Design in Tech Report 2018
In the hotel industry our tech companies make software and applications. Most of them look functional (barely). They look like Google of the 1990s, when the only design guide for the company was, does it work. Building a marketing and brand positioning strategy for a company that hasn't understood the fundamentals of design is hard, extremely hard. Because the more exposure they get and the more people get to see the product, the less they will want to get the products. Good design isn't the paint that goes on the house after it is built, good design is the architecture and proper thinking of the house itself. The hotel and travel tech (think GDS) needs a lot of work to level up the standard in design. This extends to processes in hotels, check-in (and out) is an extremely badly designed process that has been replicated by an entire industry. Now's a pretty good time to upgrade.
Security, The Questions Nobody Wants
In speaking with hotel tech startups I've come to see just how bad the security level is with hotel PMS. Discussions of accessing databases and exporting them with no friction are pretty scary, but also common. It seems that on premise systems are the easiest ones to access. The big hotels normally have processes in place to avoid that, the smaller ones not. Just getting a local IT person to check it out is a great start. The point being it is rarely spoken of, and most definitely a topic.
Start with What
Yes, Simon Sinek's legendary TED talk on Start with Why, is great. But it is also really misunderstood. Starting with Why is a common storytelling rule. One builds the reason for the hero's current state and thus builds empathy with the hero and where they want to go. But so many people think "Start with Why" is a marketing strategy. It isn't, it's just how one tells stories. When building a positioning strategy, a tag line, a product marketing plan one should start with What, what is the product, what is the company. Then one explains How, how the company achieves it, or how the company works. Then one explains Why one does it. And now the audience is listening and can believe. So start with Why when building the story, but start with What when figuring out the positioning strategy.