Sabre has released a new travel trend report with advice for hoteliers on how to sell to modern travellers.
The Future of Hotel Booking – A Guide to Hotel Retailing, explores recent technological innovations within the retail, tech, media and travel industries and offers practical recommendations to help hotels apply these to a retailing strategy.
The report, which was prepared with the help of some of Sabre’s hotel customers, identifies ten distinct trends within three categories – World as Media, Intimate Intelligence and Instant Service.
Sabre said the growth of consumer-facing technology services has “inundated consumers with a flood of information” from price comparisons and reviews to promotions and deals.
This can present a challenge for hotel brands looking to connect with their guests in a meaningful way, particularly when it comes to booking a stay.
Sabre’s report concludes that hotels should develop retailing strategies across channels, including online, social media, mobile apps and aggregation websites, in order to meet connected travellers’ growing demand for interactive, personal and immediate services and offerings.
Alex Alt, president of Sabre Hospitality Solutions, said: “Technology presents the single largest untapped opportunity in the hospitality industry today.
“The goal of this report is to help hotel owners and operators leverage the retailing best practices of other industries into successful strategies to grow revenue and cultivate loyalty.”
The report’s key recommendations on hotel retailing success include:
• Convert through context
Whether offering deals or perks at the right moment or providing relevant follow-ups or reminders, technology increases conversion rates by capitalizing on moments when travellers are more inclined to complete a transaction.
• Reduce friction
Technology that identifies pertinent booking details, uses known data to auto-fill forms or creates one-click transactions can close the gap between discovery and purchase and smooth the booking process.
• Sync the cross-channel experience
Integrated technology systems can share data across channels and devices so travelers have a unified and consistent experience at every stage of the purchase path regardless of where they book.
• Help guests envision the ideal trip
Virtual reality and live-streaming platforms allow hotel brands to immerse their guests in the sights, sounds and feel of a destination before booking.
• Use customer data and preferences to treat guests like old friends
Every interaction that a customer has with a brand’s digital or physical property gives the hotel insights to uniquely tailor every touchpoint with that individual guest.
Kristie Goshow, senior vice president for commercial at Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, said: “Our goal is to engage consumers on their path from discovery to purchase.
“We must sell the way our customers wish to buy and ultimately, that means we need to distribute ourselves ‘brilliantly’ across all consumer facing touch-points.”
Nadine Pagel, distribution director of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’, added: “In the decision-making process, first impressions are paramount.
“We believe in delivering highly personalized guest service anchored by local insights and recommendations, all before you even walk in the door – that’s what makes the Kimpton experience truly unique.”
The full report, carried out by PSFK Labs, can be downloaded from the Sabre Hospitality website.