Monday, 24th October 2011
Starwood adds hotel reviews to their corporate website and is the first global hotel company to do so. The new function will let Sheraton, Westin, W and other Starwood hotel guests write an assessment of their recent hotel stay directly on Starwood websites. Like TripAdvisor, Starwood will first check reviews for bad language before publishing. Then, Starwood will take the added step of confirming the reviewer’s stay. The process could take 2 or 3 days. Once a review has been vetted and confirmed, Starwood will publish it – no matter whether good or bad, they say.
Tuesday, 25th October 2011
Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts is adopting a new brand positioning, targeting ‘strivers’ who are ‘traveling for success’, a group they say represents 9% of all annual hotel stays and is currently unsatisfied with available options in the marketplace. Strivers are defined as individuals who are climbing the ladder to success but have not yet arrived. Crowne Plaza will adopt its new positioning during 3 phases to be completed in 2015.
Wednesday, 26th October 2011
OTAs are now part of the deal at Google Flight Search. Intermediaries are no longer completely shut out of the service. Although airlines are still more prominent, all 4 major online travel agencies now advertise on Google Flight Search, for example Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity as well as Cheapoair and Kayak.
Thursday, 27th October 2011
Google is taking its Street View feature indoors. Last May the company announced it would be taking interior shots of stores, but now it is moving out of this pilot phase with more 360 degree interiors showing up online. In order to have your hotel’s interior photographed, you must fill out an application with Google. If chosen, you will be contacted by Google’s photographers to set up a time for the shoot. Google owns all rights to the photos, though including the right to keep an image up, even if you object to it. In order to have an image removed, you must submit a request for it to be taken down. According to a Google spokesperson, the company has already worked with thousands of businesses to shoot these 360 degree interior views. Photos will be available on your Google business page as well as the Google Maps Street View.
Friday, 28th October 2011
The European Travel Commission (ETC) publishes its third quarterly report on European Tourism in 2011 for the third quarter of the year. According to the report, travel recovery is continuing. However, the rate of expansion is slowing with few exceptions because of the economic landscape which presents a challenging environment for travel. Through August, room demand has grown nearly 4% and been particularly strong in Eastern and Southern Europe, with occupancy rates up 7.3% and 5.2%, respectively. Although occupancy growth has been relatively weak in Western Europe (2.4% YTD), room rates have performed well above average, growing 4.8%. European inbound travel is expected to slow markedly, to 2.3% in 2012 from 5.6% in 2011. The core Eurozone countries are most exposed to the downturn.