China the largest contributor

While outpacing the overall international average of 4 percent, China now boasts of a yearly increase of 30 percent thereby representing the highest percentage increase in search traffic. India comes next with a year-on-year search increase of 16 percent, while Indonesia followed in third place with just 12 percent.

According to the results for the first half of the year which was obtained from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), China and Russia were revealed to be the two main contributors to the inbound expenditure and inbound tourism.

 

China and Thailand

According to the governor of the agency, Yuthasak Supasorn, “The data offered perspective information on global travel behaviour and what regions are the most searched destinations in the country. It also revealed those inbound countries that were very much interested in Thailand.”

TripAdvisor’s spokesperson, Grant Colquhoun explained that “almost every traveler is interested in Thailand’s ever cosmopolitan capital city, delicious food, heritage towns, and tropical beaches. Along with insights on consumer behaviour, the available travel data on TripAdvisor also offers travel trends that are aimed at helping local hospitality businesses capture and cater to an audience of high intent travelers on a global scale.”

He further explained how excited they are to witness how engaged accommodation in Thailand is becoming on TripAdvisor. “Just last month, 53% of them responded to travel reviews on TripAdvisor”, he added. Results obtain from Thailand’s total inbound search traffic showed China topping the list and followed by the US, UK, Australia, and Russia

There are also increased interests from Chinese people living in Qingdao, Dalian, Hangzhou and other second-tier cities, searching for Thailand. As a result of improved flight connectivity to Southeast Asia as well as an increasing disposable income, there is now an increasing interest from second and third-tier cities in China toward becoming major outbound tourism markets.

As it stands, Beijing, Hangzhou, Dalian, Qingdao, and Shanghai are the top five cities in China with the highest increase in traveler interest to Thailand. According to TripAdvisor, they have a year-on-year search increase of 102 percent, 91 percent, 81 percent, 65 percent, and 61 percent respectively.

From every indication, the total number of international visitors to Thailand is expected to increase by 5 percent which will lead to an annual growth of 8.7 million tourists thereby boosting tourism revenue by 10 percent. So, by the third quarter of this year, the country is expected to make about 13 billion US dollars (B460 billion) in revenue.

With new flights from Istanbul to Phuket, Changsa to Chiang Rai, Guangzhou to Chiang Mai, and from Shenzhen, Bali, and Taipei to Bangkok, the new access from Turkey, China, Indonesia, and Taiwan can also be considered among the favorable factors contributing to the growth.

Hotel Metasearch tips

Five Ways To Make Hotel Metasearch Ads Work Better For Your Hotel

Online travel agents have dominated metasearch sites because they have the money to pay for dominance. Everyone is paying for placement on any metasearch site so it is simple math to understand that the company with the most money gets top billing

Hotel Metasearch

The following shows that an understanding of how metasearch sites function can substitute for paying high costs and still produce a higher rate of conversion. These ideas level the playing field for small hotels so they can compete with OTAs.

 Low rates work

You do not have the money to outbid the OTAs for placement in metasearch sites. The majority of conversions happen from the top three listings in metasearches. This result is helped by the fact that phones display results three per page.

One of the criteria for placement is room rates. You can beat the OTAs and everyone else by making your room rate the lowest. You have to keep your cost per click competitive with the OTAs or your low rates will never show up. The metasearch sites have a preference for making money for themselves.

You have to pay attention to what your direct competitors are doing because this will have an impact on your position in searches. You can do the job by making constant adjustment and refinements or you can use the help of an automated metasearch campaign management program.

 The top spot question

The top spot in searches is not a guarantee of more conversions. People look at the top spot more than they convert on it. You are better off being second or third and spending your ad budget on the things that make people convert and stay with your brand.

 All metasearch sites are different

Differences in algorithms and in costs are the primary difference in the way metasearch sites can be made to work for you. A general rule for all the sites is that an OTA commission structure is a better bang for your buck that a cost per click.

Top billing on TripAdvisor does not help you a lot because this site produces the fewest conversions even though more people look at it. Google has the highest costs but does produce a significantly higher conversion.

Trivago and Kayak show all your competitors on the same page. You have to make your hotel stand out to get people to look on these sites.

 Tweaks can make a difference

All metasearch sites are constantly changing their physical appearance and the logic that drives placement. The changes are not made to keep you off balance. The changes have logic behind them in the site owner’s minds.

You have to look at each site that you use regularly and see what has changed. You have to change your presentation to adjust to the sites change to keep your position and costs in control.

 Test and convert

You have to constantly test your campaigns on each metasearch site that you use. Being competitive is a matter of maintaining placement and offering a better deal than your direct competition. You have to try new things to make the most of your ad budget.

Google Search Engine Dominance

How Google Takes Undue Advantage Of Its Search Engine Dominance

Google was recently hit with a whopping 2.42 billion fine by the European Commission for taking undue advantage of its dominant search engine. Google was found to have been promoting its shopping comparison service over other shopping comparison services. Google understands that most people do a price comparison check on search engines before ordering any product and the most used search engine is Google. So, when a user searches through Google, results from its own comparison shopping service will be listed right at the top of its search engine result pages.

Goolge Dominance

In Google’s new search engine algorithm, sponsored content from Google’s shopping service appears way ahead of traditional organic links. What makes this issue more worrisome is that Google shopping service has not been subjected to any restrictions. It appears at the top of a result page irrespective of its ranking.

This undue advantage taken by Google is to the extent that the highest-ranking competitor appears on page four of Google search engine result pages on the average. The question is how many people click links beyond the second page when going through search engine results? This implies that Google gives competitors negligible chances of generating leads from its search engine. This is probably the reason the fine is that much.

The fine should be a source of worry to Google as it applies the same tactics in its Hotel Ads offering from which Google makes so much money in Europe. The integration of maps and trips into its hotel ads makes Google the best hotel metasearch service provider. To underscore this, it has been revealed that Google Hotel Ads generates much more traffic than TripAdvisor and others. At this point it is not yet clear if Google’s lead in this sector is as a result of its better product offering or as a result of putting its content way ahead that of its competitors.

In a similar tactics, the results of TripAdvisor are way below that of Google+ review boxes even though TripAdvisor hotel scores are gotten from much more reviews than the results of Google+. The hotel lists from TripAdvisors are usually based on hundreds of reviews unlike Google+ that depends on a few reviews.

This is why both TripAdvisor and Expedia have accused Google of setting the competition rules while being a player at the same time in the hotel search business. Hoteliers now have to invest in search marketing like Hotel Ads to capture potential guests at an early stage. Even Google admits that about 38 percent of travelers begin with search engines and Google has taken over this area. Google has made it almost impossible for others to have strong placement in its search engine results. Unfortunately, Hoteliers have noticed this and they are paying to be placed on Google+

This may be another bad news for Google if European Commission beams tits searchlight on this industry. However, it may not be good news for hotels if EC steps in as they are already enjoying the benefits of Google’s unique metasearch feature. Meanwhile, Google is yet to respond to EC’s ruling on its shopping service.

Goolge remains the Biggest ?

We live and find ourselves in a world where every business enterprise looks to expand their customer base and reach. The competition is more fierce in the technology industry. Tech giants and other businesses are struggling to stay relevant in the market. As such, some would offer free WiFi to use as long as you take part in a survey. If not, you get charged for its use at a premium rate. It seems fair though, but it hides the obvious fact of how far businesses would go to collect data of existing and potential customers. A simple survey, freebies for joining us, gift cards and the like. The methods used are similar and endless.

Mobile travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a monopoly in the offing for these companies, every customer becomes a prized asset in the grand scheme. Evidence of this can be seen, for example, in statistics collected presently for online travel bookings made via mobile phones. Although it stands at 22%, it is expected that by 2020, 60% of travel bookings would be done directly. This statement was further iterated by President Simon Lehmann of Phocuswright Europe, during an event which took place in Amsterdam. Also, in his speech, attention was drawn to the power Google had over other search engines the world over. In comparisons made to the Asian markets where other competitive search engines existed, Google apparently dominates the European market. This goes to show the extent of monopoly Google has, and it won’t be long before it extends to travel.

While Mr. Lehmann tried to come as being optimistic in his approach to the subject, he said in a quote:

Monopolies have not ever been sustainable. The fresh customer will always remain in power. They will shape the distribution in the future.”

Still, it remains to be pondered upon if, over time, choices available to customers become limited as big companies get bigger.

According to statistics in America, the last six months has seen increased bookings made using brand.com in comparison to OTAs. While this cannot be said in other parts of the world, the number of people doing it keeps growing. Another point being noted was the growth of direct bookings. However, it was still small compared to OTAs and indirect distribution.

In the debate on the media used for bookings, CitizenM’s Lennert De Jong stated that it shouldn’t be the focus. Though important in its way, the focus should be more on people’s commitment to the product being sold. He said in a quote:

“The most profitable customer is the business traveler frequently traveling to our cities, and they come through GDS or direct,”

He went further to say that “Averages are destroying our industry, these averages make you average.”

To further buttress this, Google is ranked as the go-to search engine for travel with TripAdvisor in the shadows.

Kayak’s co-founder, Peter English, in his speech talked about his brainchild, Lola. Lola, being artificial intelligent, serves to provide travel services mainly focusing on frequent travelers on business trips. Admittedly, bots are limited in the things they can do compared to humans including situations involving stress.

Lola is ideally suitable for people who frequently travel because it works as an assistant that knows their preferences. Since business travelers are more than likely to pay for subscriptions, this can be added to the model. Reason being that they are offered a service which has them in mind, and they are not regarded as data.

Read more on WIT

Tourism arrivals Thailand Q1 2017

There was a 1.7 percent increase in international visits to Thailand from January to March. This was reported by the ministry of tourism and sport in Thailand. The international visits are estimated at 9.19 million which is more than the visits last year.

This data was gathered from the number of international passports that pass through the sea, air, and land international checkpoints. According to the permanent secretary to the ministry of tourism and sports, the country’s main source market that assisted in improving their tourism in the first three months of the year is Malaysia, Russia, and Chinese market.

They recorded 2.1 percent visits which translate to 3.007, 833 in March only as opposed to the 2, 948, 690 visit recorded in March the previous year. Regionally all the markets recorded increase in visits except Africa, the Oceania, and East Asia.

Thailand Tourism Arrivals

Here are the highlights;

  • Europe had an increase of 3.85 percent from 632, 223 to 656, 554 visits. The markets that showed visible improvements were the Netherlands +1.25 percent, Russia +43.76 percent, Finland +8.05 percent, France +4.23 percent, and East Europe with +22.73 percent.
  • South Asia had an increase of 14.47 percent from 117, 557 to 134, 564 visits. The markets that showed improvements were Bangladesh +31. 48%, Nepal +28.36%, Pakistan +29.82%, India is led with 103, 634 visits to make 14.22% and finally Sri Lanka -22.68%.
  • The Middle East had the highest increase with 25.41% from 60, 400 to 75, 747 visits. And Israel was up there with one of the highest recorded increase which displayed the highest arrivals of 33.78% from 14, 134 to 10, 565 visits. Egypt had +1.71% of 2,138 visits, Kuwait had +13, 69% of 4, 226 visits, United Arab Emirates had +22.36% of 13, 809 visits and Saudi Arabia with a +25.71% of 2,425 visits.
  • America recorded an increase of 11.51% from 130, 112 to 145, 085 visits. They recorded more arrivals than others, which means they have the highest arrivals of with 11.51% from 130,112 to 145, 085 visits. Argentina +54.83% of 9, 762 visits, Brazil +97.30% of 8, 981 visits, Canada +1.17% of 25, 40 visit.
  • A few markets showed a decline markets like Africa, East Asia, and the Oceania here they are;
  • Africa recorded a decrease of 5.95% from 14, 998 to 14, 105 visits. South Africa which is the main Africa market witnesses a crash of 13.33% from 7,170 to 6, 1214 in visits.
  • East Africa including the ASEAN also recorded decrease of 0.45% from 1,922, 203 to 1,913, 482 visits. Malaysia -4.97%, china -7.85% and Honk Kong -19.92%.
  • Oceania had a decrease of 4.07% from 71,197 to 68,296 visits. New Zealand 1.05% and Australia 46.2%.
  • Some markets that also recorded a decrease include; Germany-1.56%, Denmark -20.42%, UK -13.21%, Austria -4.09%, Switzerland -15.69%, Belgium -10.27%, Sweden -7.65% and Italy -4.67%.

Down south of Thailand, the Island of Phuket, hotels have felt the slow down in demand as occupancies levels dropped a little or, for some, remain stable. There is a certain drop in ADR as well, where hotels try to drive demand by reducing their prices. Phuket remains a very competitive market place where these market changes, such as arrivals are quickly felt in the volatility in the rates published online. The drop in arrivals from UK, which seems mainly fuelled by Brexit, will require a different approach then lowering rates for the global market. Hoteliers need to save guard their asset, (room rates) by implementing smart marketing techniques, as well as appointing a revenue manager to protect them for making such decisions in an uncontrolled matter.

Source: TTR Weekly

Get started with Revenue Management

Revenue management and marketing were at each other’s throats during the hotel slump. Now that the massive downturn has become history, revenue management must take on new and broader roles. Directors of revenue management must align their thinking and tactics to avenues that cover down times.

Revenue management and Marketing

There are three things that help revenue management get started and do things to produce more profit.

 1) Coordinate with other functions

Revenue management can no longer afford to be a stand alone function. The function never was on its own. The slump caused by the recession has made the necessity of higher levels of collaboration with marketing apparent.

A necessary part of the change is learning to understand the needs of other functions in the operation. This requires some learning on the part of revenue management and marketing as well. The two functions must understand the goals and functional language that each uses.

This coordination of functions will allow an organization to respond more rapidly to revenue producing opportunities. When marketing sees a trend then resources can be allocated to the section of the country or part of the world that is looking for your operation.

The simple idea is to cooperate to maintain revenue goals. This change will entail a change in function and a broadening in the scope of the duties of revenue management.

Google analytics for Hotels

2) Target marketing dollars

Social media and Google provide a world of opportunity for increasing revenue.

The purchase of the right words at the right time is the key to higher occupancy rates and branding. Revenue managers must understand the tools that marketing uses. This understanding can lead to the allocation of funding for Google Ad Words that produce the highest returns possible.

Marketing can target the hot spots that are looking at your property. A quick response from revenue management can provide the funds that capitalize on a blip that may not last more than a few weeks.

A part of targeted marketing is an understanding of the economies of your targeted clients. The relative values of currencies have a tremendous impact on the potential to keep a property booked to near full capacity.

The idea is to focus on short term opportunities but keep a long-term perspective that maintains the highest possible profitability.

 3) Partner with online travel agencies

You’re returning clients and potential clients are loyal to their favorite online travel agencies. Revenue management can make use of the money that online travel agencies have spent building brand loyalty. That brand loyalty can transfer to your operation easily.

Revenue management must develop a close working relationship with online travel agencies. This allows your organization to cut better deals when times are bad. It also allows you to tailor your property to a service approach that is demanded by your clients.

Source: video trendspotting in Revenue management

2017 Google Search for hotels

After a series of researches and surveys, it became obvious that the continuous formatting of search engine result pages for hotel markets has a very big influence on how users click links and ads. As much as a lot of users distrust paid ads, most of them click them out of ignorance that they are paid ads.

Google Hotel strategy 2017

The increasing number of paid ads is having an adverse effect on organic listing. The more the paid ads on a page, the less likely the organic listing on the page will be clicked. So, hotel marketers have to improvise on this if they want to continue to capture regular traffic.

Google search Hotel 

Why ad positions and search ads are very important?

Most users will generally click on either the first or second listing on SERP. Only very few users will go further to the third or fourth ad. This implies that the first two ads will capture most of the clicks while the third and fourth will capture very few. The rest will hardly capture anything.

It has been established that the less the number of paid ads on a page the more even the clicks will be. Considering the results of the survey and the research, it is obvious that the name searches for different hotel brands are at the tail end of a process. Most of the users would have been through with the browsing phase. They only come for the final search when they are ready to book. Since most users click the top paid listing, it is very important for every hotel to earn a spot in the Google Ads for them to continuously capture booking travelers.

 Does organic search still work?

Even though organic results are still helpful in terms of traffic, paid ads are gradually killing organic results. The fact that 44 percent of users would have shunned paid aids had they known and about 28 percent of users are likely to click on organic results first indicate that organic listing still pulls some weight. But many of the users clicked on the paid ads because they thought they were direct links to hotel websites.

How these discoveries can be of benefits to hotel marketers

It is now obvious that the modification of Google’s SERP is to attract the attention of the users to paid areas of the SERP. From all indications, the strategy has been working. One cannot blame Google. It has to justify the payment. Why would hotel marketers pay for ads if it does not pull customers more than organic listing? Secondly, when others realize how paid ads are pulling more customers, they will be motivated to switch to paid ads too.

This is why Google has always focused on end-users and not advertisers. Google has smartly made the whole initiative appear like it is meant to give end users quicker results. Digital marketers have also evolved in the way they create their ads to attract more clicks. However, the most effective strategy is to be abreast of the regular changes in the digital technology if they want to stay relevant in the market.

Source: Travel Tripper Blog

Competition of Booking.com

It is hard to swallow the fact that your website has a strong competitor in Booking.com. And maybe sometimes people don’t even want to consider the facts. But it is good to get the facts. This will help you to be at least more aware of how to be profitable.

There are good things about Booking.com for sure. Over the past few years, Booking.com has been a real aid to hotels by providing quite a bit of value as it helped them in the transition regarding the model of distribution that each hotel that wants to be successful had to adapt to once the Internet took over the world in full force.

Power of booking.com

The main key features and positive things include the following:

♦ Clients could pay directly to the hotel. There was the provision of availability immediately and price updates were viable.

♦ Eventually quotas were eliminated.

♦ There was increased transparency, which brought hotels in closer connection with the clients.

♦ Additionally, there was the final commission that was added. For non-preferential hotels, it was set at 16.5 percent and it was as set for preferential hotels at 18.7 percent. This equated to overall increased profitability due to the reasonable cost that Booking.com insisted on.

♦ This allowed for the control of the retail price, due to the inclusion of the fact of direct payment. The hotels can control the price the client pays and therefore can know exactly how much they are selling to clients. The sad fact is that there are not many other intermediaries that can provide assurance of the same guarantee.

Also, Booking.com has been designed to provide a great platform that is considered almost perfect in respect of being able to address a hotelier’s ultra-pressing situations with simply the click of a button, without the hassle of having to bother with phone calls or emails.

There has been also a service ladder, which has been added to this technology, which is the team of account managers. They aid hoteliers in using the system and deal with their inquiries, as well as address the need for proactive changes in a helpful manner. This set up of offering both a product and service had caused hotels to continually sign up with Booking.com, meaning that hotels have truly become “bookingized.”

Booking.com and own website

The need to increase direct sales for the sake of reducing dependence

Because of dealing with overwhelmingly expensive fees for OTA, especially in relation to using Booking.com, hotels are now reverting to boosting their own direct sales. Sometimes hotels are seeking to increase sales to levels they successfully experienced in the past. On the other hand, there are some hotels who simply desires to see growth since residual times. Whatever the situation, there seems to be a sure guarantee of conflict. The reason for this is due to the presence of Booking.com and the hotel website both want the same clients.

So the truth is:

♦ If you desire to succeed at getting a client to book on your website, you must retrieve it from another website, which most frequently will be Booking.com.

♦ No client likely will book on your website without prior also having taken time to browse Booking.com along with other sites.

 

Phuket Hotels Market 2017

With over 7.5million airport arrivals to Phuket, there was a 5% increase in the year-on-year growth rate, in 2016, moving to 18% from the previous year’s 13%. This increase is principally credited to the 51% increase in the Russian source market. The strengthening of the Russian Ruble against the Thai Baht, as well as the politically volatile middle-east, might have added to the increase, particularly with the redirected Russian Tourists staying on the Island during the High Season.

Arrivals from mainland China, another important source market, were considerably affected by a government crackdown on zero-baht tourism, September last year. Chinese travel growth rate greatly reduced from 35% of the previous year to 11% in 2016. It is however expected that the enforcement of the new edict will soften the trend early this year, as more Chinese FIT coming in the Chinese New Year.

Balancing the two source markets ended the year on a positive note, with a 4% rise in market wide RevPAR. Development continues with lots more brand affiliated assets.

Arrivals phuket

Some of the notable trends include;

  • The United Kingdom and South Korea, both improved in the top 5 international source markets with 20 and 21% increase in passenger arrivals each.
  • Incoming domestic flights increased at almost double the rate of international routes, with an almost double year-on-year at 20%, compared to the previous 11%
  • Increased tendency towards branded properties with about 79% brand-affiliated keys compared to 21% independent made.

Looking forward into the year 2017, there are already many plans for the island that will translate to profound improvements in the tourism business.

  1. The renovation of Phuket International Airport’s domestic terminal is to be completed, according to schedule, in the fourth quarter of 2017. This will ease passenger traffic by building a link between the international and domestic terminals of the airport.
  1. An ultimatum has been placed on unregistered hotels to obtain licences within this year. This move is aimed at pushing Phuket’s low-tier hotels to function with higher standards of operation.
  1. High-end projects such as the expansion of Central Festival, Blue Pearl luxury mall, a planned light rail project, development of underpasses; are developing Phuket in a way that will drive tourism through the roofs.

Evaluating tourism in Phuket can be done on the basis of the airlines and hotel traffic.

For airline traffic; in 2016, Phuket Airlines played host to about 7.55 million inbound passengers, 56% of which were from international flights, with the remaining 46% made up of domestic arrivals. The domestic sector led the year-on-year statistical growth with about 19% increase compared to the 16% growth rate for international passengers. The top 5% destinations account for over 80% of the scheduled international flight arrivals on the island. Mainland China remains the biggest overseas source market despite a 2% drop.

In terms of hotel growth, RevPAR had an uplift in occupancy of about 2.68% last year. Within a ten year trend studied over 2007 to 2016, there was an increase in the supply of tourism, about 11% with a corresponding increase in the supply of 9%.

source: C9 Hotelworks

Revenue Management 2017

As the New Year emerges, operators, hotel owners and other revenue managers and strategists are anxiously awaiting what the New Year holds for their businesses. Will it be business as usual? Or will the demand for their services begin to drop and all operators will need to devise new ways of generating revenue? Based on how 2016 ended, here are the likely turns of events this year.

Hotel Revenue Strategy 2017

According to STR, the supply is expected to outpace demand this year even though both of them were at equilibrium in 2016. They both increased by 1.6 percent. Since supply is expected to rise by 2 percent and demand for hotel services is expected to increase by only 1.5 percent, there will be a 0.5 percent drop in occupancy. What will salvage the situation is the rate that is expected to rise by 2.8 percent.

The likely way out of the situation is consolidation. Even though there were a lot of consolidations in 2016, of which Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts was the largest, 2017 will definitely witness some consolidations too, if not more. The expected change will make revenue managers go back to the drawing board to re-strategize towards continuous profitability.

Airbnb, a company that emerged five years ago has already become a threat to other older players in the industry and considering its expansion strategies, it will definitely pose a bigger threat to several hotel owners and OTAs. The worst part is that it could also jeopardize the pricing power of many hotels thereby blocking the expected rise in the industry rate.

Having realized that Airbnb has become a force to reckon with, some industry players have decided to partner with it by advertising and selling their services through the site. That may not be a permanent solution as this major player will soon find other means to pull sales away from other players especially OTAs.

Google is already swinging towards being another big threat, even though its management claims to be planning towards partnership with players rather than going into online travel agency. While this development will help hotels retain their customers, it will also bring them closer to Google, which is already building its dominance in the industry.

Direct booking programs whereby customers who booked their reservations directly will be given some discount and other concessions are being planned as a way to gradually pull customers away from OTAs. It may not succeed because of most of these customers actually feel that the best deals can only be found on their platforms.

Corporate travel programs have also not been successful as about 78 percent of employees will rather plan their own trips individually even if it will cost them a little higher. To add salt to the injury already inflicted, popular social media like Facebook and Instagram are already making arrangements to begin to offer travel facilitation services. There is no doubt, 2017 will definitely be a crucial year for all players.