What makes hoteliers tick? What do they care most about? What gets their blood pumping? These are questions we ask ourselves every day in the hope of bringing you all the news, data insights and industry viewpoints you’re looking for right here on our blog.
In 2017, the answer to those questions seemed to be OTAs and their tactics. How can we tell? We compiled a top 10 of our blog posts, ranked by the number of views. Posts on wholesalers, live chat and direct booking strategies also caught your attention. Check out the full list below to ensure you didn’t miss out on any of the year’s major talking points.
1. Are OTAs joining the direct booking movement?
By far our most popular post of the year investigated the possibility that Expedia could be stepping into metasearch territory. After an eagle-eyed hotelier alerted us to the fact that the OTA might be experimenting with an ‘Amazon model’, in other words letting other retailers sell on their site, we explored the potential pros and cons for hotels.
2. Booking.com’s last 10 years
It’s fair to say the hospitality industry loves to hate dear, old Booking.com. That’s not say however, that we don’t respect it. In this post we charted the evolution of the OTA and the all the fine-tuning and innovation that has built into the online powerhouse it is today. There is something we all can learn from the way constantly iterated and improved its user experience.
3. Amoma’s Google partnership
The word Amoma can send shivers down the spine of hoteliers. The site is known for unbundling and selling rates intended for wholesale and has been a thorn in the side of those trying to stay on top of their parity. So when Google announced a partnership with Amoma, it was big, concerning news. Since then, we’ve produced both an in-depth report and held a webinar on the subject, examining how to handle the issue.
4. Your hotel versus OTAs
Now’s the time when many a hotelier will be looking back at their business’s performance over the past year. It’s likely that that will involve scrutiny of OTA bills, so to help we came up with this quick way of benchmarking your commissions. If you missed it, read it to find out why commissions are up, but you're still winning.
5. Live chat: a 101
We see a big future for live chat and messaging in hospitality. As more and more travel bookings go online, we think it’s one of the best ways to bring one of your greatest assets, your staff and their expertise, online. It looks like many of you agree with us because our Hotelier’s Guide to live chat was a big hit when we released it in November.
6. Nail online guest experience
The shift to online bookings also means that your website, not your lobby, is increasingly becoming your first opportunity to make a lasting impression. We often come across hotel websites that fail to live up to the service provided in person, but there’s reason to hope that this will soon change. Our guide to online guest experience and the webinar on the same topic seemed to strike a chord with many of you. Here's to more seamless online interactions in 2018!
7. The UK investigates OTAs
Back in October, we wrote about the UK’s major investigation into hotel booking sites and their practices, including alleged pressure selling. We explained why we believed the probe would be good news for both consumers and the hospitality industry.
8. Spotlight on… Direct Booking Strategies
We weren’t surprised our Spotlight on… Direct Booking Strategies report — a handbook of the best tips and tricks in the business — made it into the top 10. It was based on interviews and surveys of hoteliers from companies big and small and covered everything from loyalty to metasearch to OTA contracts.
9. The A to Z of direct booking benefits
On-call butlers. Morning yoga. Welcome sushi. We asked around, trawled the internet and explored the farthest corners of our minds to list every possible perk you could use to reward your direct bookers. It looks like you liked it as much as we liked the idea of giving every direct booker the chance to open a bottle of Champagne with a sword.
10. Booking’s bots
Despite being a last minute entry, our take on Booking.com's announcement that it was rolling out its ‘Booking Assistant’ chatbot feature snuck into the top 10. If you haven’t read it, spoiler alert: we’re not sure it’ll be good news for hotels.
So that’s our ranking and, if we do say so ourselves, it’s a helpful snapshot of the hospitality industry in 2017. As ever, hoteliers are being vigilant about OTAs and what their latest developments will mean for their bookings. At the same time direct booking campaigns are in full swing and strategies to enhance guest experience are front of mind.
We’ll be sure to stay on top of the subjects you’re most interested in, but get in touch if there’s something you think we should take a closer look at. We’re at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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