This month’s roundup of news from the technology sector includes Google insights; a fight for voice-command tech; and more.
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Google-Sojern reports reveals hotel search insights
Only 4% of travelers start their booking journey with a search for a hotel brand. That was one of many takeaways from a recently released report from Google and Sojern titled “From Search Engine to Booking Engine.”
Another tidbit from the report: Over the timeframe looked at by the two companies, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants saw the biggest percentage increase in Google searches, with an 88% from July 2015 to December 2016.
A battle over in-room voice commands
Voice command controls are becoming more of a regular amenity in hotels, and Bloomberg reports Apple and Amazon are currently waging battle to see whose tech will be used in Marriott International hotels. Marriott is currently testing Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa at the Aloft Seaport, according to the report.
Even though the tech is becoming more common in guest rooms, especially with Wynn Resorts’ adoption of Amazon’s devices in December, analysts fear there could a barrier to entry for many consumers.
“It will be interesting to see how much education they have to go through to get guests to use them,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst for Creative Strategies. “This is not mass-market technology.”
How to make a hotel Instagrammable
Hotel News Now’s Danielle Hess writes that there are steps hoteliers should take to get more guests to share photos of their properties on Instagram, which is an increasingly important platform for the overall travel industry.
Tips include things like having creative F&B offerings, residential spaces and unexpected experiences.
Greg Bodenair, area marketing strategist at Kimpton Hotels of Boston and Cambridge, said the first step is looking at the property and stay from a guest’s perspective.
“Are there other moments … when you set foot into the property that can grab the guest’s attention and … encourage them to take a photo?” he said.
Hotel industry must focus on tech
Hoteliers need to improve their tech-related efforts and their web presence, writes HNN’s Terence Baker from a panel at the most recent International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin.
Poor hotel chain websites is a common source of frustration for Terri Scriven, industry head of hospitality at Google.
“I bang my head against the wall on a daily basis,” she said. “It is improving, but (hotel chains) highly need to prioritize data analytics and hire data scientists. Overlay audience targeting over all you do, and do no chase (online travel agencies). You will not catch them.”
Compiled by Sean McCracken.