What's in store for hotels in 2018?

With 2017 drawing to a close, Triptease is taking a look back at the past year in hospitality and to make some predictions for the coming 12 months.

Neither is an easy task when you consider just how different the industry looks today than it did on January 1st; who would have thought that by December we’d be talking about the potential for direct bookings to come through OTAs? But since we love a challenge, we’ve given it a go anyway. Here goes!

What will 2017 be remembered for?

The explosive growth of Google Hotel Ads.

It's been a big year for metasearch, but we’ve singled out one platform, Google Hotel Ads, because
it's now become a compelling investment for hotels of all shapes and sizes. Plus, it’s Google after all — an advertising juggernaut with the most sophisticated bidding capabilities. Hotel Ads is integrated with other Google tools like Maps, so there’s little need for consumers to navigate to the hotel website. The tech giant sees further progress in travel via its Assistant technology, which is already built into 100 million devices, so watch this space.

What event or trend do you expect 2018 to be remembered for?

The rise of messaging.

At the last count, more than one billion of us are using messaging apps. For most, the likes of WhatsApp and WeChat are primarily for communicating with friends and family, but businesses are trying to change that. They have been making inroads — the ability to chat with businesses has been creeping into search engine results recently — but we expect 2018 to be the year that messaging goes mainstream in the commercial world.

What investment should hotels think about in 2018?

Using live chat on websites.

Given the number of people using messaging, live chat is an unmissable opportunity for hotels to create direct and personal connections with guests. Hotels already using it say it smooths the booking process, drives conversions and enhances the guest experience. What’s more, with advances in technology like artificial intelligence, chat is becoming more viable for even small hotels or independents.

If you want to know how to make the most of live chat, read our interview with Thomas Griffiths, the product manager behind Front Desk, Triptease's chat feature designed specifically for hotels.

What will be the biggest challenge for hotels in 2018?

Stamping out rogue distribution.

The time hoteliers are having to dedicate to policing how their rates are being sold remains a major concern. Whether its wholesalers passing on rates to Amoma or undercutting by OTAs, its a drain on resources that detract from what hotels do best — serve their customers. It’s a long-standing problem and one we will be working with our hotel partners on in 2018.

What will be the biggest opportunity for hotels in 2018?

Improving guest experience.

Book direct campaigns so far have largely centred on price, but hoteliers are now looking at the next piece of the puzzle — competing on the entire guest experience. Technology is enabling hotels to create frictionless online interactions, analyse data to provide personalised service, better advertise their rooms and speak to their customers at their convenience. There is only more innovation to come and the most successful hotels will be thinking now about how to use that to their advantage.

If you're thinking of addressing your online guest experience, check out our introduction to user experience design.

Ok, that’s probably enough crystal ball gazing from us for now. But do you agree or disagree with our predictions? We’d love to hear what you think has left its mark on 2017 and what you will be bracing for in 2018. Get in touch at content@triptease.com.

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About The Author

Clare is Content Manager at Triptease. She'll be updating you on industry news and relaying our exclusive research and special reports. She'd love to know what you want to read so please get in touch!