Last year, we reflected on the counter-intuitive way of looking at growing clusters of businesses as a way of identifying new trends in the industry in “9 online hotel booking trends to watch in 2016 and why”.
So, what is new this year and what is likely to take over the imagination of bookers online? Equally importantly what are the changes that are likely to impact the industry over the long term?!
1. Trip planning websites on a rocky path but stubborn in its intentions
2. The traditional hotel internet booking engine is dying
The massive proliferation of interactive technologies like messenger apps, chat bots, robots, cobots supported by machine learning and artificial intelligence is changing the way bookers interact with a product. Could this mean changes in the way one books a hotel?
3. Big data = Big (better) marketing
4. An explosion in demand for boutique hotel experiences
You may well wonder why boutique hotels feature in an online booking trend list. Agreed that it is rather unusual. However, this massive transformation in demand for boutique hotels is having an impact on how hotels and hotel brands are perceived and booked online.
5. Experiences in virtual reality and 360-degree video before booking
Travel has always been about the experience – and explains the huge amount of time spent on research prior to travel. Until recently, there were limited options to experience tantalising destinations and hotels in great detail. But now, that is all changing!
6. Business travel is really, finally, truly ready for disruption
Business travel continues to grow, confuse and excite. Everyone gets excited about the still untapped opportunities in business travel, but it is hard to pin down a great revolution. There are some signs, however, that it is beginning to change faster. Here are some reasons why we think business travel is evolving and why it is time for a real change.
7. Companies leverage Uberisation to maximise bookings
The sharing economy model has made such an impact that it is increasingly being referred to as Uberisation – an alignment of supply and demand in a free internet enabled market. It is important, however, to look beyond Uber and AirBnB and identify the underlying reasons for the success of the shared economy model. And to identify how related areas are evolving.
8. Blockchain technology to transform loyalty programmes and improve booking margins
According to the Harvard Business Review, “Blockchains ensure integrity and trust between strangers. They make it difficult to cheat”. “In other words, it’s the first native digital medium for value, just as the internet was the first native digital medium for information. And this has big implications for business and the corporation.”