This month’s roundup of news from the technology sector includes: new sharing-economy concierge; lower rates to battle OTAs; and more.
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Airbnb testing “city hosts” program
Airbnb is currently in the beta stage of a new program designed to give guests a hyper-curated experience by assigning private tour guides to shepherd guests around their destination cities, according to a report from Tech Crunch. The program is called City Hosts and is currently only offered in San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo.
Millennial business travelers focused on connectivity
In a recent look at the changing demands of business travelers as part of a new special report on business travel, HNN contributor Brendan Manley writes technological connectivity is a priority for millennial business travelers. That includes a desire for amenities like mobile check-in, streaming-capable entertainment systems and smartphone-enabled door locks.
“People are looking to being able to check in remotely, or extend check-out, and not have to deal with people unless they want to,” said Anna Blount, director of market research and insights for MMGY Global. “That’s why at some hotels, you can use your smartphone as your key to your room. People want their time back. Whatever makes them comfortable and gives them more of their time back on the road, they’re going to appreciate.”
Marriott CIO: Apps shape guest experience
While speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Marriott International Global CIO Bruce Hoffmeister said the integration of mobile apps through the stages of the travel experience is key. He said the need to get better with technology is a driving force within the company.
“Technology is much more pervasive in the company than it once was, which allows us to have interactions with our guests at many more touch points during their stay, and not just when they’re within our property,” he said.
CEOs pushing lower rates to battle OTAs
The war to own the guest continues to wage on between hotel companies and online travel agencies. The latest shot fired seems to be a wide-spread effort by various hotel companies to offer discount rates to loyalty members to entice them away from booking on OTAs. Several CEOs of publicly traded companies discussed why they’re going in that direction during first quarter earnings calls.
“The more that we can have a direct relationship with our customers, the more efficiently we can distribute our product and our owners’ product, the better their returns are going to be, the happier they are going to be, the more hotels they're going to build into the system,” Hilton Worldwide Holdings CEO and President Chris Nassetta said.
Compiled by Sean McCracken.