November 2017, Amsterdam
Top 10 online travel tales from Q3
From Google to Microsoft and Expedia, we’ve got big names and big tech issues in the top 10 from this past quarter. Read on to see what you’ve missed
In the ten stories below we summarise the key points from our most read stories of the last quarter, many of which feature in depth interviews with speakers from our upcoming events.
The travel industry is always interested in what Google is up to, and this guest post was penned by outspoken industry veteran Bobby Healy following the European Commission fining Google for unfair play in the retail space. Here Healy outlines why he thinks Google will face similar heat in the travel arena.
In an exclusive interview with Stuart Greif, Senior Executive, Travel, Hospitality, Transportation, Retail, CPG, QSR Industry Solutions at Microsoft - we hear how the technology giant is moving into the brave new world of AI, machine learning, augmented reality and more. Greif believes that the potential exists “for a complete disruption of the current search and distribution paradigm” and going forward expects a ‘wild west’ with multiple strategic tie-ups and no one player dominating.
Not quite as advanced as Artificial Intelligence, but certainly gathering limelight is blockchain, another technology that is being touted the next big thing. Quoted in the piece is Wilhelm Weber, partner at Swiss Hospitality Solutions, who says that although “it might not sound spectacular, the beauty of the idea is that it allows trade in an environment where trust is given to the technology instead of the institution!” With organisations like TUI saying they are buying into it, perhaps then it is not to be ignored. But the question remains: when will private blockchains become private?
Ahead of Eyefortravel North America in November we put questions to speaker Daniel Holl, Head of Global Hotel Sales, trivago. Among the opinions he shared are: you need to act on data not intuition; that the lines between metasearch and OTA aren’t blurring; a clear product focus and value proposition is crucial and; first and foremost technology should enhance the guest experience.
Also an upcoming EyeforTravel speaker but this time for the Smart Travel Data Summit 2017 in Amsterdam is Trainline Head of Data Science Fergus Weldon. In this piece he shares what it means to be in a role that is growing in importance. Frankly, it’s a tough job, he says, “and definitely not for the fainthearted!” Importantly, he says people need lots and lots of practical experience to work in the field.
Again it’s Google in the headline and more analysis of what the European Commission retail fine means for travel. The general consensus seems to be that while the Commission may move slowly, the signs are postivie. After all, Google has been fined for “promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors”. And you only have to enter ‘Flights to Barcelona’ or ‘Hotels in Berlin’ to know that Google is doing exactly the same thing with Google Flight Search and Google Hotel Finder.
The fast-growing Meetings Incentives Conferences and Events (MICE) segment is said to be worth anything worth anything between $200 and $500bn to the global travel industry. Interviewed is Felix Undeutsch, Head of MICE & Groups at Expedia who says that in order to automate the process of automating inventory hotels needed to identify the core issues namely: i) Inefficient processes; ii) No dynamic pricing; iii) Missing customer expectations. Get it right though, says Undeutsch, and the possibilities for driving revenue from MICE are worth pursuing.
Read the full story for more insight but to summarise among the things you need to take note of are: images, social media and reviews, the room experience, being eco-friendly, loyalty and the same-day browse and stay culture.
In a round up of a recent EyeforTravel report we hear that revenue managers need to build a comprehensive set, set prices carefully and consider the unique advantages of each property.
The aim of Arrivedo is to organise one neighhbourhood guide for every hotel in the world. The objective being, says the company’s CEO and co-founder, to claw back hotel business that is being taken by Airbnb from travellers who are looking for that hyper-local experience. Hotels can add their own guides to the platform, but Arrivedo also links hotels to expert travel writers. It’s early days and not there but Arrivedo is aiming to have a neighbourhood guide for 90% of hotels by 2019.