Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Hotels are losing out on metasearch

Hotels need to improve their competitive performance and monitoring of metasearch channels finds new research. 



Hotels aren’t bidding enough on metasearch sites or monitoring the space effectively, affecting their bottom lines and brand loyalty, says EyeforTravel and Fornova’s new The State of Hospitality Distribution: Metasearch white paper, which is free to download now.

Data from the white paper drawn from nearly 10 million searches on meta engines in 2018 reveals that just 34% of bids monitored featured a direct link posted by a hotel.

Across March, April, and May 2018, less than a third of the shops made by data partner Fornova on meta sites had a direct hotel option being displayed. This rate reached a low of 18% in March 2018 and rose to a high of 28% of shops made in May. Ranking for hotels was also low on the sites monitored, with hotels’ bids coming in at the sixth-ranked option on average in May 2018.

This is allowing OTAs to dominate the space, one which is increasingly crucial for attracting consumers. More than 90% of consumers report using meta sites for price comparison when booking accommodation but the vast majority of bids and outbound traffic from these hugely popular sites, including Google, TripAdvisor, and trivago are benefitting Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) finds the white paper.

Furthermore, hotels are being undercut by both their contracted OTA partners and by third parties working without agreements. The research finds that contracted OTAs are undercutting by an average of 5-6% on meta sites and by an even higher 10-11% by non-contracted OTAs. This means the consumer, who is largely driven by value, is frequently seeing better rates than hotels direct bids, meaning wasted spend and lost data and brand loyalty. When the consumer is searching 14 days or less out from their stay, the research found that they would see a lower bid the majority of the time from multiple actors.

This is a battle for hotels as the average hotel usually falls short of the labour and technological resources to do so. Furthermore, as Fornova CEO Dori Stein points out, there’s no way for a hotel’s revenue or e-commerce manager to know what meta engines are showing their guests in different countries because of the varying IP addresses. “Unless the hotel has a way to monitor its top inbound source markets, it’s a losing battle,” he added.

Chatchai Pongprapat, assistant vice president, revenue management  at Dusit International appreciates the issue, “There is crossover between all of the different players on various channels and that makes it very hard to maintain rate integrity,” he said. The company’s solution has been to partner with Fornova, which polices the rates and helps Pongprapat to maintain rate integrity and partner behaviour.

More effective monitoring and activity on metasearch sites can have a very real effect on the bottom line: “We felt we weren’t featured very visibly as their models evolved and so we hired a third party that could constantly monitor our meta campaigns and make them effective programs,” said Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Global Vice President, Revenue Optimization, Rhett Hirko. Meta-driven bookings jumped 30% after Preferred began working with a third-party partner to manage meta campaigns. They determine the best ROI from each individual meta site based on the budget Preferred dedicates to the channel, as well as meta sites’ performance for Preferred based on click-through volumes. Hirko noted that in terms of how cost effective the move was, “it took a while to tweak the program, but we’re definitely getting good returns for our investment.”

For more on how metasearch is shaping the digital accommodation market, download the free white paper now.

This white paper, made in conjunction with Fornova, gives real-world data on hotel, wholesaler and OTA bidding strategies, alongside consumer behaviours, and meta success metrics. Use these to understand the channel, the competitive landscape and build a winning strategy!

Learn the following from this white paper:
  • The state of the metasearch market.
  • Market penetration rates among consumers and hotels.
  • Consumer behaviours on metasearch.
  • OTA bidding strategies.
  • Techniques to succeed on metasearch.
  • The outlook for meta.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Why every company should put extra effort into customer analytics

The opportunities for business to extract customer data are expanding. Therefore, today’s business imperative is to enhance customer analytics. This is a guest post from Datumize.



The opportunities for business to extract customer data are expanding. Therefore, today’s business imperative is to enhance customer analytics. This is a guest post from Datumize.
Now, companies can gather data from numerous interactions and devices. ​From cell phones to tablets, computers to cashregisters, customers are continuously generating data.​ Furthermore, data is produced in both structured and unstructured forms. For example, traditional data sources like conversion records are now complemented by unstructured data generated by social media interactions. The sources are so numerous that some businesses can find processing the volume of data a challenge. Therefore, developing an integrated overview that reveals connections between these sources is crucial to enhance insights.

Deploy customer analytics to gain the advantage
According to research conducted by Harvard Business Review,​ ​this intelligence is key to a competitive edge in today’s market.​ Harvard Business Review’s report shows how data is creating added value for both businesses and consumers. By interviewing a cross-section of academics, data scientists and executives, Harvard they found that:
Companies with comprehensive customer analytics across all sources were generating ​up to 8.5 times more shareholder value.
Whilst many companies use data to optimize operations or sales, ​meaningful differentiation comes from customer service​. Through these insights, businesses can better understand their customers’ needs and orient business operations around those needs.
60% of executives reported that siloed data was the greatest barrier to detailed customer analytics​. To overcome these obstacles, businesses are creating agile teams that develop solutions with customer experience at their core. Data is valuable, but it is of little use if businesses cannot analyze the information effectively.
Therefore, companies need to ensure they have the right toolsto visualize and interpret data. ​These tools are increasingly accessible, making it possible for less data-literate operations to leverage insights independently from data scientists, in spite of their continuing importance.

Meet customer expectations through data
Previously, many companies have adopted a product-centric attitude to data. Essentially, this approach generates value for the business as opposed to the customer. For instance, ​airlineswere trailblazers in dynamic pricing models​ that adjusted ticket prices according to demand. However, the new business imperative is customer centricity. This is because ​an increasingly competitive market means that service is now the primary product differentiator. ​Today, consumers expect every interaction to be instantaneous and seamless. Meeting these new expectations requires robust analytic capabilities that enhance customer experience. In contrast to many airlines, hoteliers are using data to strive towards meeting customer expectations. For instance,​ ​Ritz-Carlton Hotels aredeploying data to generate added value for their customers.​ Their ​data tools track customer requests, so they could predict future requirements.​ So, to illustrate, if a customer requests a hypoallergenic pillow, Ritz can ensure they have one available for every stay in the future.

Reap the benefits of advanced analytics
To ​profit from customer analytics​, ​C-levels need to implement technology and business cultures that make interfacing with data seamless.​ For example, marketing managers need to ensure data about customer interactions with marketing content is readily available. From here, they can use data to personalize campaigns and offers. Furthermore, sales departments need intuitive tools that make actioning insights more straightforward.​ Once these capabilities are in place, business can begin reaping the benefits identified by the Harvard Business Review.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Wholesalers are the biggest issue in hotel distribution

Hotels and OTAs are being undercut on the overwhelming majority of OTA searches by non-authorised players looking to capitalise on price competitiveness finds a new white paper. 



Fornova and EyeforTravel’s new white paper has uncovered that the greatest factor impacting rate integrity is contracted wholesalers, which are selling inventory to Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) that do not have direct agreements with hotels. This is resulting in lost market share and revenues for both hotels and partner OTAs. The depth of this is revealed by Fornova monitoring of nearly 10 million shops made through metasearch engines in 2018.

Contracted OTAs on average undercut hotels in 14% of the shops with leads times less than 14 days and in 26% of shops with leads times above 14 days. However, when it comes to non-contracted sellers, the share of shops that were undercut doubled or trebled, depending on the time frame. 39% of hotels’ direct rates advertised on meta were undercut by these actors for stays less than 14 days rising to 74% for those with lead times above 14 days

Furthermore, non-contracted OTAs are undercutting more aggressively than contracted counterparts. On average, OTAs working under agreements with the hotel posted rates that were 5% to 6% lower than the direct rate. This jumps up to 10% for non-contracted sellers advertising for lead times under 14 days and 11% for lead times above 14 days

The majority of this is coming from wholesalers moving on inventory, which is then posted by other sellers. Fornova CEO Dori Stein estimates that 40% to 50% of hotel inventory contracted to wholesalers is leaked online, despite the fact that they negotiate for static rates, based on the fact that those rates will be opaque to consumers who are purchasing the room as part of a package with other services included.

The growth of APIs has allowed more players to access and market inventory to more partners but this is not necessarily in the hotel’s best interest. Hotels need to have a view on who is selling their inventory and at what price to protect their brand’s integrity and also to prevent their prices being consistently undercut by wholesalers who should not be placing inventory in this manner. Failing to do so means hotels cannot understand the true effectiveness or cost of their marketing and sales efforts and for consumers to shift away from seeing value in making a direct booking.

The issue is ongoing for Thailand-based Dusit International, which operates primarily in Southeast Asia and which maintains static contracts with a multitude of traditional wholesalers. “There is crossover between all of the different players on various channels and that makes it very hard to maintain rate integrity,” said Chatchai Pongprapat, assistant vice president, revenue management. The company’s solution has been to partner with Fornova, which polices the rates and in turn, Dusit tackles rate disparities one-by-one as they arise, while also reconsidering the terms and conditions of individual static contracts in order to keep the hotels from being undercut.

However, resolving each rate discrepancy doesn’t necessarily remedy the issue in the long-term. The third-party vendor will rectify the issue at the time it occurs says Stein, but without contractual obligations, the partner isn’t necessarily obligated to maintain parity in the long-term. Plus, they will often change the rate in the local market where the hotel’s revenue or distribution team is located, while leaving incongruent rates in international markets as it’s more difficult for the hotel to verify that the changes have been made. According to Fornova CEO Dori Stein, “when hotels have a bad parity situation and they’re on meta, they’re effectively paying to tell the world that their brand.com rates aren’t the cheapest.”

For more on how metasearch is shaping the digital accommodation market, download the free white paper now.

This white paper, made in conjunction with Fornova, gives real-world data on hotel, wholesaler and OTA bidding strategies, alongside consumer behaviours, and meta success metrics. Use these to understand the channel, the competitive landscape and build a winning strategy!

Learn the following from this white paper:
  • The state of the metasearch market.
  • Market penetration rates among consumers and hotels.
  • Consumer behaviours on metasearch.
  • OTA bidding strategies.
  • Techniques to succeed on metasearch.
  • The outlook for meta.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Is Google the dominant player in hotel search?

Google is eating up more and more of the pie when it comes to hotel metasearch says new research



A new white paper from EyeforTravel and Fornova finds that Google has picked up plenty of fans in the hotel industry, with it leading the pack for hotel presence on the platform.

Fornova monitors 8,000 hotels across a number of metasearch sites, making regular searches to monitor the space. Fornova's monitoring across Q2 2018 found that when it came to direct ads from hotels on monitored sites, Google scored highest with 80% of searches featuring a direct bid, compared to 43% for HotelsCombined, 30% for Trivago, and just an 8% presence of direct hotel bids on TripAdvisor. It seems that Google has captured substantial market share, and offers a strong value proposition for hotels, as other sites appear to be dominated by OTA bids.

This added competition and is putting pressure on the results of other metasearch sites. Jafar Alam, Senior Product Manager for Fornova, expects more hoteliers will turn to Google Hotel Ads as they look to expand their meta presence because “TripAdvisor and trivago have run into financial difficulties and haven’t been making it work commercially.”

trivago has had the toughest year so far and is in the midst of adjusting its strategy. The company saw its value plummet across the middle of the year as revenue growth turned negative, reversing exceptional growth in 2017. Diminished growth has been put down to a stronger competitive environment and a pull-back in spending from some of its biggest spenders, including Booking Holdings’ brands. This has forced trivago to announce a shift away from its hefty marketing budget and instead to focus on profitability.

TripAdvisor is also having a mixed year. Whilst its stock value was up from the start of 2018 at the time of writing, results from the hotel sector across the year have been less than positive. It reported in its second quarter results that revenues derived from hotels declined by 4%. This fits into a longer-term picture of struggling to raise revenues from the hotel sector, which is especially concerning for the brand given how powerful it is for the discovery and research of accommodation by consumers.
The best performer out of this big three appeared to be the metasearch brands of Booking Holdings, which reported in its second quarter earnings call that revenues from meta and OpenTable grew 34% in Q2.

Fornova CEO Dori Stein theorized that the meta sites struggling to meet financial projections are victims of Google’s advantage as holders of what he called the most sought-after real estate in the Western World. “TripAdvisor and Trivago’s share prices aren’t doing that well and they’re spending more and more on advertising so that they can reach more consumers,” he noted. “But it’s coming at tremendous costs while Google is increasing the number of consumers exposed to their metasearch engine with no real additional costs. No one said it’s a fair world.”

Google is sitting on its laurels, however. After upping its game earlier this year by improving its mobile hotel search experience with enhanced booking capabilities, price filtering, amenity details and automated comparisons, Google, more recently bettered its hotel ads platform. In July, the search engine announced that later this year, hotel ads will become part of the Google Ads platform with a new campaign type. The change will allow management of hotel campaigns in a single platform, alongside advertisers’ other Google campaigns. A new Hotel Center, rolled out at the same time, aims to simplify the management of hotel price feeds and the company appeared to be experimenting with putting Hotel Ads above its usual top-listed paid ads in mid-2018. 

Therefore, other meta players need beware that the Google juggernaut is making inroads into this critical market and will need to fight hard to capture the critical hotel marketing spend and become less reliant on other online travel agents.

For more on how metasearch is shaping the digital accommodation market, download the free white paper now.

This white paper, made in conjunction with Fornova, gives real-world data on hotel, wholesaler and OTA bidding strategies, alongside consumer behaviours, and meta success metrics. Use these to understand the channel, the competitive landscape and build a winning strategy!

Learn the following from this white paper:
  • The state of the metasearch market.
  • Market penetration rates among consumers and hotels.
  • Consumer behaviours on metasearch.
  • OTA bidding strategies.
  • Techniques to succeed on metasearch.
  • The outlook for meta.

Monday, 26 November 2018

94% of travel consumers compare hotel prices on metasearch


Metasearch is now critical to the travel research process finds a new white paper, with 94% of travelers reporting that they use metasearch when booking hotels and 73% doing so regularly. 



A new white paper from Fornova and EyeforTravel finds that 94.4% of consumers use price comparison sites at least occasionally when booking their accommodation. Within this, 72.5% of consumers across the countries surveyed said that they regularly used metasearch sites and 43.6% said that they always used the tools. The results come from an EyeforTravel survey of over 3,000 travel consumers across Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and United States, and you can access the complete report for free by clicking here now.

This puts metasearch at the forefront of the consumer research process and makes it a critical area to compete within. “Metasearch offers price comparisons that show consumers where they can get the best deals available and there is demand for this among leisure travelers,” said Ujjwal Suri, vice president, distribution solutions at Fornova. Indeed, when consumers were asked what made them come back to travel brands again and again to use, the value proposition came out head and shoulders above other factors, with 62% of respondents saying that the companies offering the best value were where they returned to. The next highest category was the digital consumer experience at 32.4% of travelers.

Looking closer at consumer trends, Millennials and business travelers are some of the heaviest metasearch users.

Travelers between the ages of 18 and 35 are the group most likely to report using price comparison tools every time they book accommodations at 46.4% of the demographic cohort, while those aged 36 to 55 are just behind at 45%, whereas the oldest generation of over 55 years see a noticeably lower 36.8% reporting that they always use metasearch sites.  

Business travelers also far outpace their leisure counterparts for meta use, at 47.4% comparing rooms every time they shop for a room, compared with 37.4% of those who have not made a business trip in the last 12 months. Some 30% of business travelers also report using meta ‘most times’ they book lodging, compared with 27.2% of leisure travel consumers.

For more on how metasearch is shaping the digital accommodation market, download the free white paper now.

This white paper, made in conjunction with Fornova, gives real-world data on hotel, wholesaler and OTA bidding strategies, alongside consumer behaviours, and meta success metrics. Use these to understand the channel, the competitive landscape and build a winning strategy!

Learn the following from this white paper:
  • The state of the metasearch market.
  • Market penetration rates among consumers and hotels.
  • Consumer behaviours on metasearch.
  • OTA bidding strategies.
  • Techniques to succeed on metasearch.
  • The outlook for meta.

Friday, 21 September 2018

The 4 Week Countdown is on as Travel Industry Elite Set to Gather In Las Vegas On Oct 18-19 – American Airlines, Google, Marriott, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Accor Hotels, and More


Do you work in travel marketing, distribution, data analytics, partnerships, revenue management or travel technology? If you have answered yes to any of the above, then it’s not too late to secure your spot at EyeforTravel North America 2018 (Oct 18-19, Mandalay Bay Las Vegas)

Travel’s leading brands are returning to EyeforTravel’s 20th Annual North America show with the biggest guest list yet, including top executives from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Google, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Marriott International, Booking Holdings, Expedia, Accor Hotels, Choice Hotels, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, Caesars Corporation and many more.

EyeforTravel know it’s not always easy to get in front of the right people, but they’ve gathered over 300+ senior travel execs for you to meet over two days! Click here to view the line-up of the year you cannot afford to miss!

Aside from making valuable contacts, attendees can expect to leave with a firm grasp of the latest opportunities and threats facing the industry, with leaders across all areas of travel presenting their answers to the most pressing questions including:
  •         Delivering a superior CX to delight customers at every turn
  •         Personalization in marketing and driving ancillary revenue
  •          Navigating the crowded field of distribution
  •          The intersection of the world of loyalty and your digital strategy
  •          The future of CX when it comes to travel tech
  •       Artificial intelligence in travel – going beyond the hype; and much more!

Hear case studies and practical insights from the game-changers in travel, and ditch the myths about buzzwords such as personalization, AI, Blockchain, and more – finally come to grips with the truth to enhance your strategy in 2019 and beyond.

There's plenty to be nervous about when it comes to enabling a frictionless CX, but don’t let the future scare you – The last chance discount expires at the end of this week (Friday 21st Sep!) so click here to secure your spot now.

It’s not too late yet, so don’t risk on missing out on insights that will propel your business forward.
Contact the team directly at – renu@eyefortravel.com 

EyeforTravel is a community where the world's top online travel brands – from hotels to airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more – come to meet to drive forward growth and innovation in the industry. We aim to provide you with industry focused news, events, reports, updates and information. EyeforTravel Limited is a registered company. The Company Registration number is 06286442. It is also registered in England & Wales. Registered office is 7-9 Fashion Street, London E1 6PX, United Kingdom.

Renu Kannu
EyeForTravel | Project and Research Director (+ 44 747 118 7217 |renu@eyefortravel.com)


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Online travel and the customer experience: Is your organization's strategy equipped for 2018 and beyond?


2018 really seems to be flying by, and that’s not the only scary thing.

Delivering a frictionless customer experience is, and it continues to keep travel executives up at night. The online landscape is constantly evolving, disruption is abundant, and the customers of today are more demanding than ever before. Is your organization’s CX strategy equipped for 2018 and beyond?

Benchmark your CX strategy once and for all, at EyeforTravel North America 2018:
  • What do you need to be looking out for in 2019 and beyond? Hear from Barry Goldstein, Executive VP & Chief Commercial Officer at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts as he takes attendees through the threats and opportunities in travel, and more importantly the collision of distribution, marketing and digital
  • Want to hear from leading travel brands who have excelled in their CX strategies: Get insider tips from Caesars Corporation, Jet Blue Tech Ventures, and Hopper; who have delighted customers at every touchpoint. Hear case studies from brands who’ve not just done it but nailed it!
Click here to get the most up-to-date info on our world-class attendee list
  • You’ve heard the saying ‘personalization is king’, but what does this mean? Hear from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Marriott, Spirit Airlines and MyFlightSearch as they take you through their multi-channel engagement strategy, using data to personalize and successfully driving loyalty to their businesses
  • Ever thought of taking your CX strategy to the next level but not quite sure how to? Learn from Marriott, Choice Hotels, and Tesla as they discuss Reimagining the Customer Journey and Taking your Brand to the Next Level through UX, design-led innovation and tech innovation to give your business an edge
  • Ditch the myths about AI, VR, and Mobile Messaging: Listen to what Google, Cathay Pacific, and CruiseBe have to say in these emerging tech sessions and come to grips with the truth
There's plenty to be nervous about when it comes to enabling a frictionless CX, but don’t let the future scare you.

Attend the EyeforTravel North America Summit (Oct 18 – 19, Las Vegas) and leave with a firm grip on the latest opportunities and threats you need to be aware of. Take back top-class insights from travel’s leading influencers and implement them as soon as you’re back in the office.

Contact the team directly at – renu@eyefortravel.com  


EyeforTravel is a community where the world's top online travel brands – from hotels to airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more – come to meet to drive forward growth and innovation in the industry. We aim to provide you with industry focused news, events, reports, updates and information. EyeforTravel Limited is a registered company. The Company Registration number is 06286442. It is also registered in England & Wales. Registered office is 7-9 Fashion Street, London E1 6PX, United Kingdom.
Renu Kannu
EyeForTravel | Project and Research Director (+ 44 20 7375 7197 |renu@eyefortravel.com)