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 June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.