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  • HITEC Special: Does EU GDPR Affect U.S. Hospitality Companies?

    By Alvaro Hidalgo. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has set a path towards protecting personal data which many other countries will follow. In a global industry such as hospitality, it should be a primary objective to take the steps towards compliance.

  • HFTP Report: Hospitality Data Security — Strategy for Data Protection and Regulation Compliance

    This guide from Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP(R)) covers safeguards that can be implemented in hospitality businesses today, tips on how to continuously improve security and data regulation compliance.

  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Privacy Policies for Hotels

    This document offers points to consider in the development of a hotel’s privacy policy. In view of the multiple organisational and legal structures under which hotels operate, as well as the complexity of the third party landscape that may be part of the complete guest experience, this document serves as a guideline only.

  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Hospitality Guest Registration Cards

    This document offers recommendations for guest information collection on the guest registration card along with consent for use. It can be used as a guideline for loyalty cards, health data, export of data outside of the EU, privacy policies and direct marketing.

A free Friday video for the last mile to Las Vegas

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·12 October 2018
What are the most pressing issues facing travel marketers in a mobile and digital age? How to deliver a superior customer experience and delight your customers at every turn is the challenge facing marketers everywhere. But how do you achieve this in a mobile and digital age?

Expedia lets Google in on the voice action

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·11 October 2018
In the week that one of the world’s biggest OTAs adds Google Assistant to its voice offering, Pamela Whitby catches up with Expedia’s head of research

Ctrip: a force to be reckoned with

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·10 October 2018
It may not be the biggest, yet, but it is the world’s fastest growing OTA, and next year Ctrip will celebrate 20 years in business. To mark this significant milestone, EyeforTravel has published a comprehensive report detailing the impressive growth trajectory of China’s biggest online travel agency.

When marketing and RM walked into the sunset

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration · 8 October 2018
RM and marketing have typically been two distinct functions but with new ancillary fees, the drive towards personalisation and greater demand for clever merchandising, this is changing, writes Tom Bacon.

Mobile storytelling: the missing piece in the platform domination puzzle?

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration · 2 October 2018
There are online platforms for everything from digital media to retail, music and entertainment, but is the world now ready for a dedicated mobile storytelling platform?

Wedded to the mobile and making it work

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·27 September 2018
The battle to drive mobile engagement throughout the travel journey and connect with customers in an intelligent way is not won yet.

Words of wisdom for hotel distribution

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·27 September 2018
EyeforTravel recently interviewed distribution executives at Hyatt and Wyndham. Here is a snappy summary of just some of their insights.

Purpose of trip: it's time for airlines to get granular

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·24 September 2018
Travel purpose is sometimes categorised at a fairly high level – is the trip for ‘business’ or ‘leisure’?

How cruise liners are going high tech

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·17 September 2018
Scepticism there may be on the extent of millennials’ enthusiasm for cruise, despite lines’ expensive shopping sprees to kit their ships out with technology targeted at them. The US-based Cruise Lines International Association, however, has no doubts and certainly no one can deny that this travel sector is currently booming.

AI, machine learning, blockchain: for the many not the few

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·11 September 2018
Big, big data is needed to power worthy AI predictive models, but that is still a work in progress, says a former lead investor in Google DeepMind.

3 counterintuitive ways to drive smart travel conversions

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·10 September 2018
For almost every travel brand, the marketing and sales funnel is notoriously porous. Fickle consumers are known to hop from one site to another in the planning phase, and low numbers ultimately deliver those all-important bookings.

Customer-centricity: the new competitive edge for airline RM?

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration · 4 September 2018
Traditionally, revenue management has sought employees with expertise in pricing and economics if direct RM experience is unavailable. Understanding the basic economics of supply and demand, the application of price discrimination, different approaches to market segmentation, and the process flow of customer purchase decision-making, are all useful in forecasting flight demand, and allocation of scarce seats across different price points.
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Content and Social Critical to Converting Travelers

EyeforTravel · 3 September 2018
Quality content marketing and a strong social media presence is helping brands build loyal customer bases and underpinning more effective sales and marketing funnels according to EyeforTravel's new Converting the Customer report, which can be downloaded here.Strong content can not only be used to make travellers aware of a destination or brand but it also gives brands critical clues about consumer intent that can then be used to build out their marketing. Combining this effectively with social media strategy and sharing tools turbocharges it and is giving brands a critical edge."What helped us boost conversion is that we managed to build up a sustainable brand loyalty over social media so people are in contact with our brand every day or when they see things in their news feed," says David Armstrong, CEO of HolidayPirates. "That's why we have managed to have a lot of brand traffic and organic traffic on our website and on our mobile app, which helps conversion."HolidayPirates, however, has taken social to another level building its brand almost entirely through the medium. "We invest in content and viral content on social media [and] after six years we have over 30 million monthly visits, almost 10 million Facebook fans, over 10 million app downloads and last year an estimated TTV [total transaction value] of EUR362m," Armstrong told the EyeforTravel Europe summit 2018. This growth has come despite not spending anything on search engine marketing and last year, his business reckons it only paid for 7% of its traffic.It helped, he said, that the business started as a travel blog recommending fantastic deals. Now, algorithms and technology do much of this leg work, and the results are posted on social media to hook in customers and stimulate viral sharing."Our recipe for virality has four components - an entertaining tone of voice, transparency, to be relevant with content deals and a call to action, and being controversial to foster engagement," he added. "You have to inspire people."This shows that social media advertising and viral content can draw eyes to you, even if you are a smaller operator, such as Eurail, which sells all-in-one train tickets for Europe."Our struggle is our brand awareness," said Roel Verhagen, head of e-commerce. "We are not top of mind when you think about travel...but we do have 2,500,000 in traffic a month. Our return on -investment on ad spend is hugely important."They came up with the marketing idea of creating two videos telling the story of a pair who met by chance in Amsterdam and travelled Europe together - with longer-play and short versions for paid adverts and social media pages. At the same time, the team started using Facebook Pixel to track customer response to this advertising and finding out where people fell out of the funnel through seven stages, from being made aware of Eurail, to having purchased a ticket."At a certain moment, the return on advertising spend was better on our own channels like Facebook, and we had success with the engagement rate," says Verhagen. The videos of Chloe's story and Justin's story rose to 11 million views, and now the next video is in production with the firm Boomerang, and a permanent part of marketing policy.Adding social and review functionality onto your digital experience doesn't have to be intimidating either. A growing number of new digital media companies in this space allow smart partnerships to help host, monitor and improve social interactions.Dan Christian, chief digital officer of The Travel Corporation, believes in harnessing the potential of advertising via social media recommendation. "Mary Meeker's latest trend report says selling on social platforms is very real - people see social content and make purchases," he told the EyeforTravel Europe Summit 2018 in London. "We were looking to get all of our travel directors active on social media."For his group - comprising 30 international brands - the solution was a partnership with a Toronto-based start-up, PostBeyond, which connects enthusiastic employee advocates with potential customers on social media, and Feefo, an independent online review site."PostBeyond was a tool that our team could use and with one click could share - their SaaS [software as a service] model worked perfectly. We also needed user generated reviews - independent reviews from people who had been on our trip [with Feefo]. We see consumer behavior changing and we won't be relevant if we aren't where they are spending their time, and we need the tools to do that."These case studies from the report demonstrate that content and social are intertwined with success in the marketing funnel for brands of all shapes and sizes. To learn more about how to drive up your conversion rates and revenues download the new Converting the Customer report for free now by clicking here. This report includes findings on:How to measure and understand intent to purchase.What content and marketing will drive up conversions.How to retarget and remarket in a way that brings customers back.How to use different channels effectively.Why social proof is critical and how it can dramatically raise revenues.This report is part of our Behavioral Analytics Report Series, where we seek to uncover how brands can understand the modern traveler to drive higher conversion rates, lower acquisition costs, and ultimately give them the best possible product at the right price. You can find the first report, Understanding the Travel Consumer by clicking here. You can also sign up to EyeforTravel's newsletter to be notified when our third report in the series, which covers dynamic and personalized pricing, is released.
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Why It Can Pay to Be Counterintuitive in Travel Marketing and Sales

EyeforTravel ·30 August 2018
For almost every travel brand, their marketing and sales funnel is extremely porous, with consumers dropping out at every stage and low numbers eventually turning into bookings. Pushing up conversion rates isn't straightforward either, find EyeforTravel's new Converting the Customer report, which is free to download now. To succeed, designers, webmasters and analysts will need to be ready to take a journey into the sometimes illogical and counterintuitive world of marketing and sales psychology.Understanding what does and doesn't work all starts with a strong base in thorough testing. Steven Consiglio, product performance manager at Booking.com, said that it always has "countless, ever-present" different versions of its site on trial and uses A/B testing to measure the success rate of one version against another."Most of the concrete opinions we've brought to the table have been wrong," he says. "In terms of hypotheses, we do worse than a coin flip on things that we feel will improve the guest experience - it really speaks to the importance of a testing culture. We added a shadow to the Booking.com search box and conversion increased. There are a hundred of those [kinds of example] that are nonsensical."Sam Nazari, head of solutions engineering at Sentient Technologies also finds that small changes can add up but trying to second guess which ones or why is borderline impossible: "One of our clients decided to reverse the payment and address fields. So instead of the customer filling out the address and the payment field, let them start with the payments and then the address field. We don't necessarily know why, but our AI told us that that variation is a top performer."He has also found that it can even pay to create an ugly website! "Abub Media tested very odd colors, and non-obvious combinations of colours were actually the best performing design. So, a pink background and perform widget, a white call to action with black text and a lime green banner was a top performer. They call it the ugly widget creator! We generated that design, and it was a 45% lift [in bookings] over [the] control."Product choices and menus are also a place where travel brands need to apply testing and psychological know-how. Normally, putting in more product choices and steps before the final checkout leads to noticeable drop out at each stage and reduces conversion and revenues. However, by optimising the choice presented to the consumer, there are times when this is not the case and counterintuitively the opposite is true.Take easyjet for example. They introduced new baggage options in 2018, offering consumers 15kg, 23kg and 26kg hold bag choices. This would seem to go against the grain of reducing cognitive load for the consumer by adding more choices in this instance. However, through site optimization, menu design, and some clever psychological pricing, this is paying off. Whilst the jump from a 15kg hold bag to a 23kg hold bag costs a few pounds or euros, the 26kg bag cost over 60% in the example we looked at on their website in August 2018. This is a classic pricing trick that makes the consumer assume the middle option is the best value, with the 26kg option essentially a redundant option, and the 15kg option acting as an anchor price to emphasise the value of the 23kg hold bag.These are all examples of why it is important not to assume your logic is the same as the customers and to examine any attempt to lift conversion through comprehensive testing. Whilst changing small items, such as the colour of the call-to-action, the position of menu items, or the wording behind ancillary sales items, can seem small and nonsensical, adding them all up can make a real difference to the bottom line. It therefore pays to test the counterintuitive and go against your instincts in the pursuit of higher conversion rates.To learn more about how to drive up your conversion rates and revenues download the new Converting the Customer report for free now by clicking here. This report includes findings on:How to measure and understand intent to purchase.What content and marketing will drive up conversions.How to retarget and remarket in a way that brings customers back.How to use different channels effectively.Why social proof is critical and how it can dramatically raise revenues.This report is part of our Behavioral Analytics Report Series, where we seek to uncover how brands can understand the modern traveler to drive higher conversion rates, lower acquisition costs, and ultimately give them the best possible product at the right price. You can find the first report, Understanding the Travel Consumer by clicking here. You can also sign up to EyeforTravel's newsletter to be notified when our third report in the series, which covers dynamic and personalized pricing, is released.
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Distribution dilemmas, beastly rate parity and Google 'the travel company

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·30 August 2018
A day in the life of somebody dealing with hotel distribution involves fighting lot of fires. “I think distribution teams are becoming more like guardians for rate and inventory parity as we look at what is happening across channels overall,” says Inderpreet Banga, senior director, e-distribution and wholesale strategy, Wyndham, who will be speaking at EyeforTravel Las Vegas.
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Is blockchain the golden ticket for tours and activities?

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·29 August 2018
“Blockchain is no more than a database so get over it,” says Mike Croucher, a travel industry veteran and the chief architect at Travelport. That is not to say, however, that Croucher, who has 34 years experience in IT in travel, including as head honcho of IT at British Airways, as well as in various roles at Galileo and Scandinavian Airlines, is not interested in the potential for blockchain.

Six Steps to Convert Travel Consumers

EyeforTravel ·28 August 2018
Converting a travel customer is a tricky business for any brand but EyeforTravel's new Converting the Customer report, which is free to download now, is here to help with six key tactics that will help you go from booking bust to a conversion king!Test and Test ConsistentlyWhat will and won't succeed in increasing conversions when it comes to site look and layout is frequently not obvious and often frustratingly irrational. A/B testing is a must in this arena, as even the most adept of web designers may miss out on a conversion positive tactic. Note that you will need good levels of traffic to the test pages, especially for more subtle changes to avoid freak results or misleading conclusions.Reduce the Steps to the Completing the Booking Once customers have reached checkout, keep it to crucial information only, or even confirm the booking and look at payments later in the case of hotels or tours and activities. This is especially true on mobile as reduced real estate makes it harder for the customer to enter details and move through stages. "On mobile, we have found that entering in credit card information, and/or address details, overwhelmingly became the highest bounce rate," says Steven Consiglio, product performance manager at Booking.com. "It was a tremendous [source of] friction once you already shrink the screen and shrink the steps to book." So, the business created a product to allow hotels to waive the need for a credit card to be entered, in certain circumstances. "It has a huge conversion-positive boost [for] last-minute [bookings]," he adds.If They Haven't Asked for the Product, You Need a Reason to Offer ItIf consumers drop off for every extra hurdle they have to jump then why put them there? Keep your extra products simple and make it obvious what the benefit is to the customer at every single stage. If at all possible use previous sales data, intent information and cookie tracking to find out what products are most likely to be taken up by the customer and also an optimal pricing level. To return to testing again, run an A/B test to see if trying to sell an ancillary product is genuinely conversion and revenue positive versus not offering it or offering it more subtly. Small page changes or product variations can lead to big jumps.Keep Friction as Low as Possible All of these points are really about keeping friction down for the customer at every stage of their journey. Think about user intent at each stage and what would get them to their desired outcome as fast and accurately as possible. ""We recommend taking a look at average order value and revenue per variation," explains Sam Nazari, head of solutions engineering at Sentient Technologies. "Maybe you increase your overall conversion rate but AOV and revenue goes down, so you need to take account of that. Typically, as a best practice, removing any kind of distraction that takes the user away from going to the end of that funnel and converting, is always a good idea." Nowadays it is very cheap to run user testing through on-demand services that can source large number of remote testers at short notice. Some have even taken it further, with Expedia running its own in-house user lab.Retarget Where PossibleJust because the customer dropped off, doesn't mean they are gone forever. Indeed, the majority of final bookers will return to the product they last viewed or a similar one. This is a golden opportunity to close the deal. If you can track and retarget them then you are increasing your probability of conversion. While using banner ads is an established tactic, you can now get even more sophisticated. Saving their search criteria and viewed items can give you a crucial advantage in reducing their steps to checkout when they return. You can serve them their searches or preferred products via a chatbot offering a discount, or push notifications on-site or on-app to bring them back to their previous searches.Give Them Reasons to BelieveSocial proof tactics are all relatively simple but are some of the most effective possible changes you can make to optimize an e-commerce process.Adding in reviews and user feedback is the main method of social proof when it comes to online travel sales, but also you can create a sense that the booking may disappear due to demand from scarcity messaging, which can be combined with a deadline to purchase for an added psychological push. A meta-analysis of 6,700 A/B tests conducted by e-commerce company Qubit across 2014 to 2017 found that social proof, introducing the idea of inventory scarcity and using messages with sales deadlines to create urgency were by far the most effective tactics from the 29 categories they tested. This is because they increased consumer perception of product value and encouraged them to push on with the purchase. They found that these tactics gave the following bump to revenue per visitor:Scarcity created a +2.9% uplift.Social proof created a +2.3% uplift.Urgency created a +1.5% uplift.Furthermore, out of all of the tactics tested, scarcity and social proof had the highest probability of creating an uplift in their experiments.To learn more about how to drive up your conversion rates and revenues download the new Converting the Customer report for free now by clicking here. This report includes findings on:How to measure and understand intent to purchase.What content and marketing will drive up conversions.How to retarget and remarket in a way that brings customers back.How to use different channels effectively.Why social proof is critical and how it can dramatically raise revenues.This report is part of our Behavioral Analytics Report Series, where we seek to uncover how brands can understand the modern traveler to drive higher conversion rates, lower acquisition costs, and ultimately give them the best possible product at the right price. You can find the first report, Understanding the Travel Consumer by clicking here. You can also sign up to EyeforTravel's newsletter to be notified when our third report in the series, which covers dynamic and personalized pricing, is released.
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What inflight WiFi needs for take-off

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·28 August 2018
Not all airlines are ready for take off when it comes to introducing WiFi. A recent survey from satellite group Inmarsat says that around one-in-four planes currently in service offer some form of WiFi onboard. It continues that less than half of passengers surveyed (45%) have had access to inflight WiFi in the past year. However, it is clear that the demand is there. The survey finds that 65% of passengers who found WiFi connectivity available in-flight elected to use the service.

Why there should be no boundaries for travellers with disability

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·21 August 2018
In London’s Kings Cross station a real-world marketing campaign seems to be resonating strongly with passers-by. A pop-up exhibition titled ‘No Boundaries’, featuring the works of 20 artists living with disabilities – both visible and invisible - was commissioned by National Rail to coincide with the launch of the ‘digital disabled persons railcard’.

Why applying probability to personalisation could be the answer

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·21 August 2018
‘Personalisation’ is terrific in concept. The idea is to create a highly targeted campaign – including the ‘right’ price, product, messaging, channel – that is customised to the desires and needs of an individual traveller. Certainly, this is the way to drive higher conversions, and with a strong probability that the traveller will respond positively with a purchase.

Hyatt and Wyndham share views on recent industry consolidation

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·20 August 2018
With Amadeus’ recent acquisition of TravelClick, is continued consolidation big news, bad news, good news or just another sign of the changing times? Pamela Whitby hears from two hotel heavyweights.

Expose the fakes, shut down the influence factories

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·17 August 2018
Social media platforms are viewed a valuable marketing tool and reviews are crucial to travel bookings, but the growing numbers of suspicious accounts is cause for concern.

Privacy vs security: first fines reveal shift in data protection landscape

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·15 August 2018
Over two months since ‘GDPR Day’, most organisations are still successfully processing personal data, but travel companies beware. With regulation now enforceable, consumers more empowered and security – a small part of GDPR – becoming an increasing focus, the Information Commissioner’s Office is keen to show it has teeth. Since May, several fines have been levied against companies making everything from annoying sales calls to not being rigorous with privacy and security. While the ICO has not fined any companies under the EU GDPR or UK Data Protection Act 2018 yet (the breaches happened before May 25), the value of these fines does appear higher.

How hospitality is using Instagram to spin from generation show-off

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·14 August 2018
Hotel G in Singapore has put Instagram at the forefront of its marketing machine. Its quirky vintage aesthetic and cool décor, like the crafted colourful Native American dream-catcher which fast became the most Instagrammed objet in the hotel, is what makes this hotel, well, so 'Instaworthy'. Not to mention that it has placed an iPhone X in every room for guests to snap the perfect selfie! Related Content: Starwood on being mobile first, its social success and an Instagram flopImage: Primary Event: EyeforTravel AmsterdamArticle type: Industry InsightChannels: Social Media and MarketingTags: hospitalityInstagramsocial networkMarketingSocial MediaHotelsrestaurantsdataanalyticsRevenueMobile

Forget point-to-point, think trip purpose, says Japan Airlines

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·13 August 2018
At EyeforTravel Amsterdam earlier this year, Akira Mitsumasu, VP of products & services planning Japan Airlines was tasked with answering the question: Is hyper-personalisation the new force changing the air travel experience?

Converting the Customer

eyefortravel.com·Requires Registration ·13 August 2018
From understanding where the customer is in their journey, to delivering personalized content, to creating fantastic digital experiences, we are investigating exactly what will drive customers towards your brand and push them over the line to make a booking. Download this completely free report now to optimize your conversion process and generate higher revenues.

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