Navigating New Hotel Technologies

By Melissa Maher Senior Vice President - Global Partner Group, Expedia, Inc | August 05, 2018

There have been many technology advancements over the years, and there is no end in sight as pace of technology development, and its impact on the industry, will only increase. How can hotels seamlessly test and integrate new technologies while also weathering uncertainty and addressing changing customer expectations? Hotels need technology partners that can help them navigate the change, innovation and evolution that is inevitable, so they can focus on what matters: customer experience and customer acquisition goals.

Trends impacting the hospitality industry can fluctuate, but some things remain constant: the rise of operating costs, increased competition, the pressure on RevPAR growth, and changing customer expectations. This is where technology solutions can play a key role and give hotels, regardless of size, a competitive advantage.

Value in a Technology Partner and Single Platform

Hotels have historically been skeptical of technology, and in turn, how they view technology providers, though there's been a shift in that sentiment as hotels are increasingly welcoming these conversations to better understand how technology can help them. A technology partner that strategically focuses on the needs of evolving businesses can help solve for any challenges they may face and surface opportunities to help them reach their goals.

When evaluating a new technology platform, it's important to have a provider that is a true technology partner, listening to your hotel's needs while leveraging world class technology to power your hotel's performance. That is how Expedia Powered Technology was created and the premise that it continues to operate on. Our technology offerings all started as test and learns with lodging partners to address their specific needs and pain points. From white label offerings to revenue management tools to guest review insights, there are opportunities across all areas of operations, and all stages of the travel journey, to streamline and drive efficiencies, which should be the number one focus of your technology partners.

At Expedia Group, this is our number one focus. Every day we put our strengths as a technology provider to work for our lodging partners, helping them drive incremental revenue and acquire new customers. To do this, we have evolved from a distribution platform to a technology platform to best provide our lodging partners with data-driven and tested technology solutions. The depth of our technology testing and innovation, and strength of our single platform, allows us to constantly evolve our tools and services on behalf of our lodging partners and travelers, to address their business needs and changing traveler expectations.

Technology Innovation and Investment

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.