April 2018, San Francisco
Top 10: the most engaging stories of the year to date
From business travel to smart homes, the rise of voice and the value of authentic content are among the stories that made their way into the quarter’s most-read list
With April upon us, we are now into the second quarter. Here is a round up of the most popular stories of January, February and March.
One of the trends that we identified in 2017 was the growing interest in delivering a better service to business travellers. This is something that Paul English, the former co-founder of Kayak, has identified, and is trying to achieve with Lola. So no surprise that this story, which is packed with balances insights into the true state of play was the most-read story of this first quarter.
Also no surprise is another growing trend - the rise of the smart home and its potential to impact the vacation rentals sector. Steve Milo, CEO of Florida-based Vtrips, formerly Vacation Rental Pros, explains here how “the smart home is really going to transform the industry for private rentals”. And, what is more, “it’s going to be good for the guest and the property manager”.
Are you a travel company wanting to reduce dependence on Google? Then this article is for you. Holiday Pirates CEO David Armstrong, who will be speaking in San Francisco and London explains how his company “still does not spend anything on Google ads and has no plans to this year, or even the following year”. He also talks about the rise of voice, and how companies “really have to be able to handle spoken data”.
EyeforTravel regular guest columnist, Tom Bacon, is on form again in a story that considers how machine learning could address some of the current limitations in airline pricing. His view is that despite sophisticated RM systems, pricing opportunities are still not yet fully exploited by most airlines. The answer, he argues, could lie in applying machine learning, and this article explores how.
What Google is banking on will always pique interest, and here Sally White takes a look at a new feature that the search giant is adding to Google Flights. “It reckons that the aggravation and expenses involved (overnight accommodation, extra meals, flight transfer, etc, etc) make ‘flight delay’ a potentially rewarding area,” writes White, adding that Google Flights “claims to be able to predict flight delays, even before the airlines post the information”.
Everyone loves a free report it would seem, and so this piece promoting The Future of the In-Stay Experience was the number 6 most read story of this quarter. Unsurprisingly, at its heart is another rising trend – that conversational interfaces have the potential to help hotels improve the guest experience and drive revenues too. For those with little time, the piece also provides some useful Dos and Don’ts for chatbots.
Ahead of EyeforTravel London in June, GCH’s Daniel Wishnia shares his interest and insight into chatbots, and 360-degree virtual and augmented reality, which he says, is ‘absolutely working’. To back this up, he says that one hotel in the south of Germany that has been showcased in 360-degrees, received 215,000 views in just six months!
In an interview with EyeforTravel keynoter Christine Heggie, an investment principal at JetBlue Technology Ventures, she shares eight trends. Top of that list, which seems to be the flavour of the future, is voice. But data, AI, blockchain are also right up there. If you want to hear more from what airlines are doing with marketing, join EyeforTravel in San Francisco next week!
9. Lonely Planet on wellness travel and an interview with the CEO
Close enough to neck and neck in 9th place were stories with Lonely Planet in the headline! The first, published in January, is one that focused on the rise of ‘wellness travel,’ which the award-winning household name believes to be one of the fastest growing travel sectors. Later in the quarter, we interviewed Lonely Planet CEO Daniel Houghton who has the led the company into the digital age and is very clear that much of its success is down to the fact that “nobody has bought our opinion”.
It was, arguably, a hyperbolic headline that pushed this interview into tenth place, but engagement with the story was pretty high too. Interviewed here is Johnny Thorsen, VP of Travel Strategy & Partnerships at virtual travel assistant Mezi, who believes that 2017 was the most important year since the arrival of the Netscape Internet browser in 1994. And why, you might ask? Because the “combination of extremely cheap cloud computing power and AI-chatbot technology makes it possible to finally create a truly personal end-to-end travel experience”.