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Q4 2016
HOTEL
MARKETING
BENCHMARK
Compiled by Sebastien Felix @fleexit & Martin Soler @martinsoler
It’s been a while, but the industry has been busy.
We’re back with our collection of opinions, news, inspiration
and tech ...
RECENT
ADVANCES
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 3
It is finally here: Facebook Workplace. After 18 months of beta (codename Facebook at Work), the
service was just launched...
Pinterest launched the Pin Collective, a platform to reach out with influencers on Pinterest and have
them create your pub...
COMMUNICATION APPS#tech
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 6
The f...
NEW RETARGETING CHANNELS#advertising
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016...
OPINIONS
& PREDICTIONS
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 8
Trip Planning, AI and APIs#artificialintelligence
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @marti...
DIRECT vs OTAs#directbooking
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 10...
POST COST-PER-CLICK ERA#metasearch
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 P...
BRANDS TO TECH CO.#tech
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 12
In a...
Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are the big ones. Lola, Facebook
M and many others ...
If you’re into Hotel Marketing (and we assume you are), The Definitive History of Online Travel by
Dennis Schaal from Skif...
FUTURE
TECH
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 15
VR (Virtual Reality) is booming and will be one of the key topics in 2017 and the years to come. With
Samsung and now Goog...
BEACONS IN HOTELS#tech
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 17
Beaco...
Changing the business model of hospitality with a subscription model? This startup is trying. It’s only
available on the F...
FRESH
INSPIRATION
HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 19
Scandic-to-go, taking a part of a hotel to places around the world so guests can keep staying at the hotel,
a brilliant br...
Don’t go to Paris, or Tokyo, or New York - Live there. Brilliant and simple ad by Airbnb.
Watch the video here:
https://ww...
A history of advertising for the French train system SNCF (in French). The love/hate relationship between the
French and t...
This almost deserves a spot on Adobe’s Stock Photo T-Shirts, perma-smiles that won't wash off for a
concept we still don’t...
About us
Martin Soler
A passionate marketing guy with
experience in the hotel and travel
tech sector, having brought to
ma...
Hotel Marketing Benchmark #10 - Virtual reality, Chatbots, AI, hotel industry shifts and more
Hotel Marketing Benchmark #10 - Virtual reality, Chatbots, AI, hotel industry shifts and more
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Hotel Marketing Benchmark #10 - Virtual reality, Chatbots, AI, hotel industry shifts and more

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The 10th edition of the Hotel Marketing Benchmark covers recent updates, new marketing technologies, some opinions about the shifts happening in the hotel marketing industry. We've gathered some great and fun marketing initiatives of the last few month and highlight some of the future technology trends we expect will soon come to be game changers in the industry.
There is a lot happening now, the industry seems to be on a threshold shifting from the big disruption of the last decade into a new disruptive trend in the coming decade.
Will hotels be at the forefront of that shift? These are questions we always ask ourselves. After so many changes in the last few years it is time to get ahead of change rather than just following what has happened in the past.
We hope you enjoy the read.

Published in: Marketing

Hotel Marketing Benchmark #10 - Virtual reality, Chatbots, AI, hotel industry shifts and more

  1. 1. Q4 2016 HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Compiled by Sebastien Felix @fleexit & Martin Soler @martinsoler
  2. 2. It’s been a while, but the industry has been busy. We’re back with our collection of opinions, news, inspiration and tech for the hotel marketing industry. We quite think this is the best edition of the Hotel Marketing Benchmark yet. Dozens of great and innovative tech and news that are changing the industry. The big shift in hotel marketing was undoubtedly the shift to online. But a big if not bigger shift is about to happen with the shift to artificial intelligence. But we’ll let you read about that in the pages to come. Enjoy. Sebastien Felix Founder and CEO of Buzz&Go - buzzandgo.com Martin Soler Hotel and Tech Marketer - martinsoler.com HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 2 INTRODUCTION
  3. 3. RECENT ADVANCES HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 3
  4. 4. It is finally here: Facebook Workplace. After 18 months of beta (codename Facebook at Work), the service was just launched early october. The familiar Facebook interface but now for work. Can it help distributed teams, internal communications or reduce lengthy meetings? The jury is out on that. But it certainly could assist, not needing to teach teams to use other tools. FACEBOOK WORKPLACE#work HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 4
  5. 5. Pinterest launched the Pin Collective, a platform to reach out with influencers on Pinterest and have them create your publicity campaign for you. A novel way to give publicity a much more authentic feel and without the grey-zone of “sponsored influencers” that forgot to say they got paid a hefty check to post that picture. Honest publicity is the best publicity there it. And while we never advise to chase shiny object in marketing - being in the loop of those shiny objects is a good thing. OUTSOURCING PUBLICITY?#publicity HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 5
  6. 6. COMMUNICATION APPS#tech HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 6 The facility with which guests can communicate has never been greater. Not just to each other, to hotels as well. They can log-on to a hotel’s Facebook page and instant message to the hotel, they can use WhatsApp to send a message instantly to a hotel and they can message through Twitter buttons on a hotel’s website. Even Google recently launched a similar service of their own. The question remains, are hotels listening? Is there someone to pick up all those instant messages? Do guests believe someone is listening? With tools like these, hotels have a unique opportunity to service guests and eventually remedy anything that isn’t going right, before, during and after the stay. So, no more excuses for bad reviews?
  7. 7. NEW RETARGETING CHANNELS#advertising HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 7 Pinterest recently launched a retargeting program and it is good news for hotel groups, boutique and luxury hotels. The ability to retarget visitors who haven’t booked, either with an alternative hotel or remind them to stay with the hotel they just visited. Retargeting isn’t the new news but the fact that Pinterest offers it is. Pinterest is a great platform for travel inspiration and inspiration is the one part of travel advertising that still needs work. Retargeting isn’t the solution since it happens after inspiration but being able to get back there if a traveler may have forgotten is worth it.
  8. 8. OPINIONS & PREDICTIONS HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 8
  9. 9. Trip Planning, AI and APIs#artificialintelligence HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 9 Google Trips has the possibility of becoming the most intelligent online travel planner, with deep access to email for reservation data, pictures for all the moments that matter most (and this could be a huge factor in travel suggestions), location and history, coupled with some smart predictive algorithms. Google Trips’ potential for inspiration and online reservation is a force to be reckoned with and one that very few, aside from maybe Apple or Microsoft could compete with. The alternative of course would be that all providers create open APIs from which data could be shared, which wouldn’t be bad either.
  10. 10. DIRECT vs OTAs#directbooking HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 10 Direct Bookings finally became a big deal in 2015. A big deal not because nobody was doing it before but because the media started reporting on it. The important point with direct bookings is what is in it for the guest. That OTAs take a commission isn’t much concern for guests and the facility to have a single place to check all hotels is a convenience that direct booking doesn’t have. It is no secret that OTAs aren’t too happy and some reports of penalized rankings are cropping up. Someone said rather than bickering over rate parity issues, if hotels really want to make a statement to OTAs all they’d had to do was end availability for a single day. Guests would book, but not through OTAs...
  11. 11. POST COST-PER-CLICK ERA#metasearch HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 11 Meta-search platforms are continuing their shift from clicks based advertising to commission based models, blurring the lines between meta-search and OTAs. Two of the largest platforms have pretty much completed their shift (Google and TripAdvisor), Several others are bound to follow. Commission based models would be good for the industry once every platform has shifted. As discussed in a previous article on attribution models, travelers go through multiple sites before booking and hotels are liable to pay for clicks on each step for the way, whereas if they were all commission based - hotels would only pay for the one that brought the reservation.
  12. 12. BRANDS TO TECH CO.#tech HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 12 In a previous edition we touched upon how hotel companies, the big brands, are turning into hotel tech companies. There is a huge opportunity for the industry there, if they can successfully merge between being a procedures company to a procedures, know-how and tech company they can bring great new opportunities for hotel owners. Most recently The Standard launched it’s own “last minute” booking app and opened it to boutique hotels. AccorHotels launched their booking platform and Marriott Hotels started their travel incubator/accelerator. Is this the future of hotel brands? It certainly has the potential of becoming that. [Image by Skift]
  13. 13. Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are the big ones. Lola, Facebook M and many others are being created through Chatbot platforms. The fact is the future of travel search is going to shift into a more narrative and artificially intelligent model. Fewer choices but more relevant choices. The platforms will shift, of course those who have availability, rates and inventory data (ARI) will be pushing through those platforms, but there will only be one spot available. Which is both good and bad for the consumer - faster reservations but the risk of less competition on commissions and distribution. So while OTA vs Direct is being “battled” don’t forget the whole system is about to change. ASSISTANTS & BOTS#tech HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 13
  14. 14. If you’re into Hotel Marketing (and we assume you are), The Definitive History of Online Travel by Dennis Schaal from Skift is a must read. Whilst we have passed the era of converting travel from offline to online, there are still many, many things that can be made better in travel. What will the next big shift in travel be? For example. could we use technology to change the industry from being the best “firefighters” to being able to predict trouble and errors before guests even notice them? MODERN HOTEL MARKETING#history HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 14
  15. 15. FUTURE TECH HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 15
  16. 16. VR (Virtual Reality) is booming and will be one of the key topics in 2017 and the years to come. With Samsung and now Google launching their mobile VR headset we can expect to see an explosion of new travel apps. Ascape.com aims to become the number one travel website dedicated to VR. You can already download the app on both Android and Apple appstore to start the experience. ASCAPE#futuretech HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 16
  17. 17. BEACONS IN HOTELS#tech HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 17 Beacons, turning guest TVs into communication channel that actually make some sense. Beacon technology will most definitely help hotels - the larger ones at least - understand guest movement, assist operations to provide services and people in locations that need it. But what about communicating to guests things that are most relevant to them. It is nice when a hotel’s TV system knows one’s name. But that’s about all they know, how about showing the minibar prices when a guest moves there, or the room-service menu when going to the desk? And those are the easy ones.
  18. 18. Changing the business model of hospitality with a subscription model? This startup is trying. It’s only available on the French market for the moment but we really believe in this startup: Supertripper. Travellers pay a monthly subscription (starting at 139€/m) and have unlimited travel within the portfolio of hotels. Could this be the future for hotels? UNLIMITED HOTEL STAY#businessmodel HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 18
  19. 19. FRESH INSPIRATION HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 19
  20. 20. Scandic-to-go, taking a part of a hotel to places around the world so guests can keep staying at the hotel, a brilliant brand awareness campaign by Scandic. See more here: https://www.scandichotels.com/landing-pages/scandic-to-go YOUR ROOM, EVERYWHERE#inspiration HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 20
  21. 21. Don’t go to Paris, or Tokyo, or New York - Live there. Brilliant and simple ad by Airbnb. Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNCJh9WwU6w DON’T TRAVEL!#inspiration HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 21
  22. 22. A history of advertising for the French train system SNCF (in French). The love/hate relationship between the French and their (rather large) train system has gone on forever. Even their first commercial right after WW2 is about someone complaining. Some great, some corny but all interesting ads. (12 minutes) Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkEvnrNPPps LOVE/HATE FOR FRENCH TRAINS#inspiration HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 22
  23. 23. This almost deserves a spot on Adobe’s Stock Photo T-Shirts, perma-smiles that won't wash off for a concept we still don’t quite understand (a stand-in for birth?!) but it is worth the watch just for the weirdness of it all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbpunPd8PIw WEIRD BUT WORTH IT#inspiration HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 23
  24. 24. About us Martin Soler A passionate marketing guy with experience in the hotel and travel tech sector, having brought to market multiple hotel technology products to market in record time. I work as an advisor and marketing agent to hotels and hotel technology companies around the world. Reach out on martinsoler.com Sebastien Felix Formerly head of online marketing for a luxury hotel group, I co-founded Buzz&Go the first influencer marketing platform for hospitality. Currently building what will be the new generation of storytelling and content for travel brands. Reach out to me on my About.me/sebastien-felix page. HOTEL MARKETING BENCHMARK Sebastien Felix @fleexit • Martin Soler @martinsolerQ4 2016 Page 26

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