Red Lion Hotels is obviously a much smaller chain than a Hilton Worldwide or Marriott International. Still, Red Lion's deal to offer its member-only rates on Expedia.com and Hotels.com represents the start of some shifting in the direct-booking landscape. Expedia is a powerful force in hotel distribution and there will be more of these changes to come.
Is there a real demand among travelers for robotic luggage handlers, 3-D mapping technology, or a massive rainforest? When is too much just too much, or do we need these types of hotels to remind us of what we can achieve when it comes to hospitality? Or when it comes to Dubai, does extravagance equate to authenticity?
The growth of select-service brands from the major hotel companies isn't slowing down at all, and for good reason: They're easier to finance, build, and there's a clear demand for them. In short, it's a clear sign that hotels are learning to listen to what customers really want, as well as adapt to the new on-demand economy.
The big talking game we saw during the first quarter may have softened a bit in the second, but it's clear hotel CEOs are committed over the long term to pursuing and winning the direct bookings war.
In online travel and the lodging industry, as well as politics, astute observers follow the money. As it is with Marriott: The chain is using TripAdvisor 1) for bookings with lower-than standard online travel agency commissions and 2) to advertise even-lower-cost direct bookings on Marriott.com. Makes perfect economic sense.
Not all hotel loyalty member rates are created equal, and it pays to read the fine print.
The Jeff Katz and Boston Consulting Group startup Dihedral -- with an assist from two major airlines and four hotel chains -- can turn out to be something huge or meander nowhere like some of the traveler journeys they'll be charting. Certainly the two have a track record and they are hitting all the right notes, including Big Data and experiences.
You would think hoteliers would have learned a few things from their foray with Travelweb in the early 2000s but, as Room Key shows, they obviously did not.
Last year marked a pivotal moment in terms of keyless room technology, as Starwood, Hilton, Marriott, and other brands announced investments in the mobile tech. And while there is consumer uptake, this still feels like a transitional technology that has us asking: What's next?
This seems like an interesting and contrarian approach. But the big question is: Will men actually respond to this digital marketing campaign?