Emerging Trends in Hospitality
How to Profitably Navigate the Changing Landscape
By Suresh Acharya Vice President of Product Development, JDA Software Grou | March 10, 2013
In recent years consumer behavior in the hospitality industry has changed dramatically. Easily available information coupled with economic uncertainty has made today's travelers extremely discerning in their choices with regard to the hotel properties that they book and how they book them. Meanwhile, hoteliers are under great pressure to maximize occupancy, fight for every customer and earn their loyalty. Simply relying on traditional marketing practices, offering a promotion or two, or counting on online travel agencies (OTAs) to fill rooms is not enough anymore. It is clear that this is a disrupted marketplace for hoteliers.
The question is: How does the industry adapt its go-to-market strategies to remain profitable? The emerging industry trends provide an answer.
Marketing to the Hyper-Connected Traveler
Consumers' increased use of social media has created both challenges and opportunities for hoteliers, as they determine how to participate in and respond to the growing online buzz. Travel-focused blogs feature consumers' experiences (sparing no details), while social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter provide a forum to share travel stories and photos. Websites like TripAdvisor offer customer opinions, ratings, reviews and comparisons of hotel stays, impacting consumer choices.
A recent Cornell Center for Hospitality Research study showed that incorporating the information collected from social media sites would have a measurable impact on a hotel's performance and on its ability to capture this hyper-connected traveler. Hotels cannot ignore the fact that today's traveler would choose to stay at a hotel that has favorable guest reviews and ratings. This suggests that hoteliers have to invest in technology to analyze this "big data" and make profitable customer-centric decisions continuously, for every customer.
Selling to the Price-Conscious Traveler