Google’s highly publicized Promoted Hotels experimental ad format signals an aggressive shift in the distribution landscape, according to HotelNewsNow.com’s Patrick Mayock. The AdWords-style platform allows parties to bid for the right to have their booking channel features as the sole distribution channel for certain hotel listings.
Mayock outlines the details of the changes, along with insight from two distribution experts, in “Google’s Promoted Hotels opens the bidding war.”
And in this week’s edition of his “Checking out” blog, he argues that Promoted Hotels, which debuted this week, is just the beginning. The search-engine giant’s real-time pricing and availability information is beginning to seep across Google’s suite of products, including maps, organic search results and Google+ Local (formerly Google Places). While it offers hoteliers a new platform to reach would-be guests, it also makes it harder for the little guys to compete. The shift also takes some clout away from the meta-search capabilities of online travel agencies such as Expedia and Kayak.
But does this mean Google is positioning itself as the next big OTA? Hardly, Mayock writes. The company is making too much money in the referral business, as hoteliers and OTAs alike bid hand over fist for prominent placement.
The U.S. hotel industry reported another month of positive growth during May, according to STR’s preliminary data. Occupancy during the month was up between 3% and 5%, while revenue per available room increased between 7% and 9%.
Among the chain-scale segments, midscale hotels reported the largest occupancy growth with an average increase of between 4% and 6%. The following four segments each reported RevPAR increases of between 7% and 9%: luxury, upper midscale, midscale and economy.
The British Hospitality Association voiced its support of the British Ambassador to China, who criticized the British government’s rigid visa controls. Sebastian Wood, British Ambassador to Beijing, in a confidential letter this week said the British government had allowed a “completely self defeating” caricature of “fortress UK” to take hold in China. The result: Chinese taking their tourist dollars elsewhere.
“The government is putting every obstacle in the way of encouraging the Chinese market, which has the potential of creating thousands of jobs,” Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, wrote in a press release issued Thursday.
The emergence of technology and new communication tools has ushered in an unprecedented wave of globalization that the hotel industry is only now beginning to realize, according to panelists at the NYU Investment Conference, reports HotelNewsNow.com’s Jason Q. Freed.
“STR will tell us that in the U.S. there are just under 5-million hotel rooms, 70% of which are branded. There are only 14-million hotel rooms outside of the U.S., of which 50% are branded,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director of the Middle East and Africa regions for Marriott. “The message is clear: There are a huge number of developing countries that represent a blank piece of paper and pipelines for the global chains will reflect that.”
Relatively, Kyriakidis said the hotel industry still is in an infancy stage in becoming a truly global industry. “There is so much of the world where the industry just is not there yet,” he said. “There are robust opportunities outside of the U.S.”
De Vere Group’s new CEO Robert Cook didn’t waste any time putting a fresh spin on the company. The group’s Village hotels were rebranded into Village Urban Resorts this week to emphasize the new destination-in-itself hotel concept, which includes enhanced on-site dining and entertainment offices.
The rebranding (and accompanying refresh) also signals aggressive efforts to expand the brand by adding 15 to 18 new establishments throughout the U.K. during the next two years. There are 25 De Vere Village Urban Resorts in operation, with an additional property already signed and in the pipeline.
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.