At HSMAI’s Chief Digital Officer Executive Roundtable at the Roosevelt Hotel New York last month, we asked attendees — about two dozen digital executives working for hotel brands, management companies, and owner groups — what trends have surprised them in the last year or so. Here are 12 that they identified:
- Data security: Figuring out how to make sure consumers feel safe doing business with us is important.
- Innovation: We’re seeing the slow adoption in the U.S. market of products like Booking.basic that have been active in Asia.
- ADA: Website accessibility and usability issues related to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) still aren’t resolved.
- Influencers: While there have been some great success stories, the sheer number of request our hotels are getting from influencers has been surprising.
- Mobile: The year-over-year growth rate of mobile penetration as a percent of total is accelerating.
- Data control: Brands are possessive of their data and reluctant to release it to management companies.
- Occupancy: We are seeing record occupancy as an industry but still struggle to fill our hotels on shoulder nights, meaning we have to discount heavily or go through OTA partner channels more aggressively than we’d like.
- Meta: We’re stuck in a reactive state when it comes to our reliance on metasearch and solutions like Expedia TravelAds.
- GDPR: We all knew it was coming, but GDPR compliance was more demanding than we expected in terms of resource allotment and operations.
- Parity: Now that OTAs are moving toward new marketplaces and sometimes getting their inventory from people other than us, we’re seeing parity get out of control — and policing it is difficult.
- Voice: The adoption rate of voice, as well as usage demographics, continues to be surprising.
- Google Reviews: Maybe we’ve been ignoring it, but in the last year Google Reviews seem to have taken off — which can be challenging because they’re starred reviews that don’t have to include any actual content, making them difficult to respond to.
The session was facilitated by Dr. Donna Quadri-Felitti of Penn State University, and sponsored by Adobe and iSeatz. Companies represented at the Roundtable were iAccorHotels; Aqua-Aston Hospitality; Concord Hotels; Crescent Hotels and Resorts; Denihan Hospitality Group; Dream Hotel Group; Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts; Interstate Hotels & Resorts; Leading Hotels of the World; Loews Hotels & Co; Marriott; Noble Investment Group; Omni Hotels & Resorts; OTO Development LLC; Outrigger Hotel Group; Preferred Hotels and Resorts; Red Roof; Remington Hotel Corporation; Two Roads Hospitality/Hyatt; Windsor Capital Group; Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. HSMAI brings together Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Digital Marketing Officers, Chief Sales Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, and Hotel Management Company Sales & Marketing Executives through the year.