Online hotel bookings have moved forward swiftly in recent years, making it even more difficult to track changes and innovations. Even when we do pick up on the latest trends, it seems that we blink and consumers are on to the next, newer way of doing things. How about you try and look at things a different way?
A recent trend briefing from Trendwatching.com provided a useful perspective – “Why watching businesses, not customers, is the counter-intuitive secret to anticipating what people will want next!” Think about it … consumers are only following clusters of new innovations from businesses that can make things easier for them. So, looking at the hotel industry, what clusters of trends can you see?
Well, we’ve had a look for ourselves and picked out a few that seem particularly pertinent at the moment.
Group booking platforms
Booking a holiday for a large group can be very difficult, both for the people making the booking for the hotel. As such, hotels and travel providers tend to arrange these in person or over the phone rather than using an online platform. However, a few new players have entered the market, which are developed specifically to manage group bookings, both for leisure and business travellers.
Roomblocker makes it easy to book and manage room blocks for a group, while Triporama provides a free website that makes it fun and easy to plan a group trip with friends and family. Especially if you’re a hotel in a big city then this is the type of platform where you’ll want to gain a presence. For business travellers, a few different options have entered the market that are focused towards the various needs that businesses might have.
Okanda lets you book your meeting room instantly without requests for proposal. Book2meet has a very wide reach, allowing users to discover and book from over 32,000 meeting rooms and conference venues with no extra costs and a flexible cancellation policy. For global requirements, Meetingrooms can search and compare the rates and availability of thousands of available meeting rooms from numerous brands across the globe.
Price is usually important to travellers, so it’s no surprise that they shop around and try to find the cheapest deal. As a hotel, you obviously want to make a good profit, but you need to offer competitive deals or else you’ll soon find yourself priced out of the market by your competitors. Instead of having to spend hours trawling through the internet to see if they can save some cash, travellers are now turning to rebooking websites to do the leg work for them.
Dreamcheaper is a key player in the market at the moment. It asks you to book your hotel anywhere in the world, on any platform and make sure that your reservation can be cancelled for free – the price is less important. Users then just forward the confirmation to them and they’ll then continuously compare prices, rebook and cancel old reservations to get the best price. While this obviously isn’t the best news for hotels, it’s certainly important to be aware that this service is out there and to keep an eye on it. Like most services that save people money – it’s probably here to stay, at least for now.
Online itinerary building and booking sites
With so many options for things to see and do when travellers visit a new destination, more and more people try to plan ahead. They can also often save some money by booking excursions and attractions in advance too, which, as we already know, is an attractive option for money-cautious travellers. There are now a variety of websites and mobile apps that help to create itineraries for a trip and even allow bookings from a variety of different providers.
Hello Gbye is a new online and mobile travel booking tool which lets you build even complex travel itineraries within minutes, but it’s still in beta testing. When it hits the market though, this is expected to quickly become popular, so keep an eye on it and make sure your hotel is visible to users. Other websites that are growing in popularity are Inspirock and Tripcreator, which allow you to build a day-by-day schedule for your trip and collate all of your bookings.
These are obviously just a handful of the trends which consumers seem to be following right now, but new ones will emerge in the market regularly. Keep an eye on your competitors to see what they’re doing, as this is the best way to see which trends are gaining popularity and what you need to do to become more visible to potential customers.