Hoteliers Beware of Google Analytics

Yes it’s true that Google is a powerhouse and offers many "good" and "free" tools to maximize any hotel’s website revenue.  However, be aware that Google is not in the business of offering charity and has positioned itself to learn more about your on-line business than YOU might possibly be aware of.

Last year Google purchased Urchin a really cool website stats software provider.  Google has since offered their version of Urchin called Google Analytics for free to any webmaster who is willing to drop some simple code onto their website.  So while the free Google Analytics tool is great and saves hoteliers money by not having to buy website statistical software, it also provides Google with an advantage on your business you may not want them to have.

Through Google Analytics, Google can now see your sales conversion rates when you’re running an AdWords PPC campaign, and they can get a pretty good idea as to what your profit margins are.  If you have a great profit margin, well Google can now raise the click cost and take more of your money.  That’s the big "AHA!"  Did someone say "wolf in sheep’s clothing".

American Airline to Restrict Sales on Expedia

“Domestic coach tickets on American will still be available through
Expedia. American’s full content — including all international,
domestic first and business class tickets — is still available for
purchase through a number of outlets, including its own award- winning
website, AA.com, its professional reservations agents, travel agencies
in locations worldwide, and other online travel agencies. Tickets
already purchased remain valid for travel on American,” stated the
company.

Humm….the hotel industry usually follows the airline industry.  Potential cost savings now that brands are getting stronger online??

Reports Find Good News for E-mail

Two separate
studies on the effectiveness of e-mail communications have found that
recipients generally find e-mail from businesses useful, but that a
higher level of targeting is still needed.

The first, conducted
by Harris Interactive for digital marketing firm Acxiom Digital, has
found that three in four online adults value e-mail from companies they
frequently patronize.

The Acxiom study found 30 percent of those
people went on to purchase a good or service after receiving an e-mail.
It also found 94 percent of online adults have received an e-mail
solicitation from a company.

Separately, on-demand e-mail and
marketing provider company Responsys has released its first annual
study on e-mail personalization through surveying marketing executives.
The firm found relevant e-mail campaigns increased net profits 18 times
more than broadcast mailings.

Click here to read more.

Online Travel Bookings Will Surpass Offline Bookings for the First Time in 2007

According to a new report from PhoCusWright Inc., next year for the
first time transactions on the Internet will account for over half (54
percent) of all U.S. travel bookings. The report, PhoCusWright’s U.S.
Online Travel Overview, is now in its sixth edition and is used by
members of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries to assess the
domestic leisure/unmanaged business online travel market. It analyzes
this market by segment, channel and major players, projecting trends
through 2008.

Click here to read more.

2007 Wisdom Report

Marketers from 110 organizations contributed test results and
lessons-learned stories for our fifth annual Wisdom Report, including:
BMW, Motorola, GMAC and Savvy Tot:

  • Email campaign segmentation tests and results
  • Blogging, podcasting and mobile marketing tips
  • Search marketing tactics and offline advertising
  • Web site design and social networking done right

            Plus, B-to-B marketing campaign lessons and getting around office politics.

Click here to download the full FREE report.

Select Your Room Online @ Hilton

Homewood Suites by Hilton is unveiling a "Suite Selection" program that
will allow guests to view floorplans and room photos and choose where
they’d like to stay. You’ll be able to check in online within 24 hours
of arrival, see the exact room you’ve been assigned and change it if
you want.

Click here to read more.

Trademarked Keywords?

Over the last few years, there
have been a variety of cases brought before the courts both in the US
and overseas relating to search engines selling trademarked words as
keywords. For example, is it legal for Coca-Cola to buy the keyword
"Pepsi," so that every time a user types in "Pepsi" she receives the
sponsored advertising listings of Coke?

Click here to read more.

Subject-line branding one key to e-mail marketing campaigns, study says

Branding in an e-mail subject line is
critical to campaign success – in fact, it’s worth an open rate that’s
32% to 60% higher than when the e-mail doesn’t have such branding,
according to a new study from e-mail services provider Silverpop
Systems Inc.

Click here to read more.

Wikipedia plans search engine to rival Google

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, is set
to launch an internet search engine with amazon.com that he hopes will
become a rival to Google and Yahoo!

Mr Wales has begun working on a search engine that exploits the same
user-based technology as his open-access encyclopaedia, which was
launched in 2003.

The project has been dubbed Wikiasari — a combination of wiki, the Hawaiian word for quick, and asari, which is Japanese for “rummaging search”.

Mr Wales told The Times that he was planning to develop a
commercial version of the search engine through Wikia Inc, his
for-profit company, with a provisional launch date in the first quarter
of next year.

Click here to read more.

Research firm notes hot trends for 2007

During 2006, travel suppliers such as airlines and hotels found little need to offer discounts as consumer demand continued to outstrip supply, a trend that shows few signs of abating next year, according to the research firm of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell.

Identifying several hot trends for 2007, YPB&R said it expects travel suppliers to continue passing on higher rates in the New Year, thanks in part to the continued growth of leisure travel.

YPB&R said the industry should be on the lookout for a spike in Internet bookings, "but at a significantly lower rate than we have observed during the past three years."

The firm added, "The incidence of Internet usage by both business and leisure travelers to plan some aspect of travel will remain flat."

YPB&R also is projecting that travel suppliers will increasingly lean towards bundled, "inclusive pricing". Already a popular pricing scheme for resorts, YPB&R believes it will become a popular pricing option for commercial hotels "seeking to provide road warriors with good value."

The strong leisure travel trend, which has been in place for several years, is expected to continue to outpace that of business travel, YPB&R said, where technology, such as video conferencing, will continue to be used as a "surrogate" to business travel.

Spas, already popular with travelers due to a larger trend toward "wellness," should see a boost in interest next year as more consumers seek ways "to manage the mounting stress in their lives," YPB&R said.

The arrival of new ships and the aging U.S. population will keep the cruise industry sailing smoothly next year, YPB&R said. The firm anticipates cruising will become "an even more formidable competitor to land-based resorts and hotels.

On the opposite end of the age spectrum, YPB&R said, so called "lifestyle" hotel brands such as NYLO and aloft, Starwood’s W Hotels offshoot, will gain in popularity as generation X, now referred to as "Millennials" continue to be a larger portion of the travel market.

That said, according to YPB&R, another trend to watch is family travel, which became particularly noticeable after 9/11.

YPB&R forecasts that it "will continue to grow at a faster rate than all other forms of leisure travel," as part of a larger trend, in which families — parents, children and grandparents — are increasingly attempting to reconnect with each other.