It’s the biggest event in the Direct Booking Summit’s illustrious history - so it goes without saying that expectations were through the roof ahead of today’s event in Miami. With over three hundred delegates and an abundance of stellar industry speakers leading insightful debates and discussions, we can confirm with confidence that the bar has yet again been raised after an incredible sellout first day at the Summit.

However, we couldn’t give a roundup of today without mentioning our big news: the launch of Triptease Retargeting.

While eagle-eyed Content Hub regulars may have noticed a few hints in recent articles, Product Manager Scott Stirling took to the stage to showcase the new product for the very first time - including our market-leading ability to show live price comparisons within an advertisement.

Nine out of ten guests who walk through your door have previously visited your website - but hotels still struggle to convert. It’s more important than ever to ensure that your conversion strategy stretches beyond the walls of your website, and Scott demonstrated how every part of the guest booking funnel can be empowered and connected with a data-led approach.

Retargeting serves as the final touchpoint of a complex, lengthy customer journey, allowing hotels to give a real incentive to high-value guests to return and book direct. With some impressive results with a wide range of clients in our successful beta launch, we’re excited to see how Retargeting empower more hotels in their drive for direct bookings. By the reaction here in Miami, it seems our Summit delegates are as excited as we are.

But enough about us. To kick off the day, keynote speaker Rob Torres, Managing Director at Google Travel, kicked off the conference with a fascinating perspective into how the search engine giant is planning to shake up the future of hospitality. In an exclusive deep-dive into the workings of one of the most influential forces within travel, Rob shed light on why the tech behemoth has fully immersed themselves in the hospitality realm, and how independent hotels can hone their metasearch strategy to stand out amidst growing competition from OTAs. ‘We don’t want hotels to spend on Google just to spend on Google. We want to help them with their strategy across those 45 touchpoints in a booking journey,’ Rob confided.

Another early highlight was the return of our budgeting building blocks session, after a successful debut at the Direct Booking Summit: Paris back in June. Pablo Delgado, CEO at Mirai, and Stuart Butler, COO at Fuel Travel, constructed their ideal marketing budgets using life-size foam blocks in real-time on stage. From staff training and the website experience all the way to brand marketing and CRM, Stuart and Pablo deconstructed an overwhelming concept to its constituent parts, giving delegates an actionable plan for the twelve months ahead.

The first day of the Miami summit also featured a keynote on distribution from Hotel Hero Indepreet Banga, VP Channel & Distribution Strategy at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Using his extensive experience and knowledge of the ins and outs of the hospitality industry, Inderpreet provided delegates with another essential perspective on how to deal with the challenges brought about by the rise of marketplaces and increased intermediation.

‘Intermediaries love to play hotels against each other. Industries that lack consistency are ripe for exploitation,’ Inder shared. ‘We have to make sure that we don’t just share ideas here today but take them back to our hotels, our colleagues and our competitors too. We’re all in this together.’

One clear highlight of the day was a fascinating case study shared by someone who took on rogue third-party partners head on - with incredible results. Colette Labis, Director of Partnerships & Distribution at Westgate Resorts, described how she took legal action against Amoma after they repeatedly violated their terms, and explained how to straddle the fine line between keeping crucial distribution partners but also ensuring they follow the rules. With many of Westgate’s hotels being based in Florida, Colette provided a unique battle plan that resonated across the hoteliers in attendance, inspiring many to start taking action of their own.

With 15 panels, keynotes and presentations across two conference streams - and hundreds of questions being asked through the app over the course of the day - there were countless conversations for hoteliers to take with them to the networking party after the conference came to a close. From a panel led by Hilton’s Head of Offer Strategy, Stevie Stevenson, on the definition of loyalty in the new technological age, to discussions on how marketing, sales and revenue teams can break down silos and work better together, the first day in Miami was certainly one to remember - and has laid down the gauntlet for a stacked second day of direct booking secrets, stories and solutions.