Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Hotel Chart of the Week: Europe’s Rising Room Rates Are Tolerated by Many Travelers

11 months ago

How are hotels doing post-pandemic? It all depends on the market and the type of hotel. In the U.S., average hotel rates nationwide have barely recovered to 2019 levels after accounting for inflation, but individual markets like New York City are performing better than before, while other individual markets, like San Francisco, are doing worse. But overall, it’s not price gouging.

In Europe, there’s a similar market-by-market dynamic at work. In the highest-demand markets for leisure travelers, especially Americans, hotels have been able to hike prices above inflation.

An article in Friday’s Financial Times had a compelling chart to make the point.

“Hotels in London, Rome, Madrid and Paris are enjoying a boom even when compared with the pre-pandemic era. Revenue per available room rose the most of the four cities in Rome, where it was 60 per cent higher in June than in the same month in 2019, according to hotel data provider STR.”

—Eri Sugiura and Robert Wright of the Financial Times
Read more at the FT's article: Can the post-pandemic travel boom endure?

Business Travel

Business Travel Poses Biggest Challenge Globally for Hoteliers — Survey

1 year ago

Hotels have mixed feelings about business travel in 2023.

On one hand the corporate travel and groups segment is the main area of focus for hotel revenue teams this year.

But rather than staffing issues, business travel also represents their biggest challenge, according to a new Outlook & Trends 2023 Survey from revenue management software company Duetto.

When hoteliers were asked how they planned to optimize business mix in 2023, the top responses were group business (59.5 percent) followed by corporate business (51.9 percent).

Channel management (48.1 percent), online travel agencies (38 percent), then tour operator, wholesale and fully independent travelers (30.4 percent) followed.

Business travel is returning this year, but Duetto believes the fact it’s unlikely to return 2019 levels weighs heavily. for example, only half of companies located in North America are seeing international bookings recover to their pre-pandemic levels according to the Global Business Travel Association.

When it comes to the challenges hotels face in 2023, business travel came top at 60.8 percent.

Staffing followed at 55.7 percent, ahead of increased costs, government restrictions, lead times and cancellations.

As expected, seeking out sales digitally is a priority when it comes to channel management efforts — but revenue execs could be focusing on the wrong channel if they want to boost their business travel bottom line.

Their top focus for channel management in 2023 are metasearch websites such as Google, TripAdvisor or Kayak. This came out highest at 75.9 percent.

Other areas including loyalty (57 percent); online agency (55.7 percent); “own website” (54.4 percent); and global distribution systems (53.2 percent). Yet it’s these global distribution systems that are commonly used by corporate travel agencies.

Duetto’s survey was carried out from Dec. 1, 2022, to Jan. 16, 2023.

Respondents worked in leisure hotels, business hotels, casino resorts and hostels. Geographically they came from North America (39.5 percent), Europe (21.1 percent), Latin America (21.1 percent), Asia Pacific (14.5 percent), and the Middle East & Africa (3.9 percent).

Hotels

Hilton Finance Chief Touts Software for Supporting Pricing Power

2 years ago

Hilton reported its third-quarter earnings on Wednesday. During a call with investment bank analysts, executives were asked what role the company’s software for setting rates may play in the company’s performance.

“I’d say we have a long history of being really good at revenue management, and it is part of our special sauce,” said Kevin Jacobs, chief financial officer.

The hotel giant’s CFO didn’t name a travel technology vendor but did refer to “a vendor we work with” while praising the software. Skift knows that for some years Hilton has relied on a vendor IDeaS to help build its revenue management system.

“We have a vendor that we work with. We co-created the algorithm with them. They’ve been an amazing partner…. We’ve created the concept of the consolidated center. We drive more of our owners that sign up to be in these consolidated centers where we help them. We don’t set pricing for the vast majority of our system, right, because 75 percent of it’s franchise, and it’s ultimately up to the franchisees to set the pricing. But we can advise them on how we do it, and we’re really good at it, and it’s part of our special sauce.

“In the old days, [you would build a new system and then you let it run for a long time. [Today’s] algorithms are being tweaked constantly to add incremental data fields that used to be in revenue management in our world. The world is awash in data that are contributing to the decision-making in these algorithms and just make it smarter.”

“During COVID and the aftermath of COVID, one of the big things has not been less about [pricing] floors and more about [pricing] ceilings. And so I think we’ve been very thoughtful about that as well. So yes, it’s part of our — one of the many things that we think we — our commercial teams are second to none in the industry, not just in revenue management. But in every other regard, this is one area that we think we do a really good job.”

Kevin Jacobs, chief financial officer of Hilton.

The executives cautioned that no one thing the company does uniquely drives its premiums. Even so, it is rare for a travel sector chief executive to talk about the importance of the technology under the hoods of their commercial engines. So this comment stood out.

CORRECTION: This post originally misattributed the executive speaking.

Hotels

Hotel Tech Vendor Mews Launches Investment Arm

2 years ago

Salesforce-backed Mews has launched a dedicated investment arm called Mews Ventures.

The company, which provides enterprise software to hotels with what’s commonly known as a property management system, or PMS, said it wants to help shape the future of hospitality.

Mews Ventures will focus on three areas: transformation, partnerships and product boosts.

Mews founder Richard Valtr said the new venture reflected its series of acquisitions over the past two years, which includes Cenium, Hotel Perfect and Bizzon.

“By bringing together the brightest minds in tech, hospitality and beyond, we aim to fuel growth and innovation,” he wrote in a blog post.

The new investment arm will “accelerate the technological transformation of our industry by consolidating past leaders as well as boosting new and interesting ideas in hospitality, connecting the best people and technology with the growing Mews community.”

Mews employs 600 people in 15 locations around the world.

Travel Technology

Amadeus Launches Market Forecasting Tool for Hoteliers

2 years ago

Amadeus said on Wednesday that it had launched a market forecast capability “to help hoteliers accurately track revenue and manage costs.” The tool is part of its business intelligence software suite, RevenueStrategy360, for hotels that it expanded after its acquisition of TravelClick several years ago.

“Most tools today look at historical data, but ours focuses on forward-looking data,” said Katie Moro, vice president of data partnerships. “We track on-the-books reservations data from companies that both use our services and those that don’t. We blend it with historical seasonality and trends.”

Moro spoke from Orlando at the trade show HITEC (Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference).

More than half of hotel bookings are being made within a week of travel, Moro said, citing data for bookings being made across all channels for about 35,000 hotels globally using Amadeus’s business intelligence software. So many revenue managers at hotels have shorter windows to make decisions on rates, promotions, and allocating inventory.

Amadeus’ forward-looking data shows global hotel bookings are on par with 2019 and surging.

“We’re tracking on a weekly basis hotel reservations coming in, less cancellations,” Moro said. “For the week ending June 17, we saw an increase of about half a million reservations over the week prior. We had also seen a huge spike ahead of Memorial Day, so it’s possible this increased demand is for the July holidays.”