April 7, 2020
Future Impact of eCommerce on Hotel Industry – Futurist Keynote Speaker for hospitality industry

Future Impact of eCommerce on Hotel Industry – Futurist Keynote Speaker for hospitality industry

I’m here in Ireland with the Irish
Hotels Federation and we’ve been looking at all kinds of global trends which will impact the hotel
industry and of course online is so huge. And by
online I really mean mobile because if we look at say, what’s happening in
the UK, 12% of all sales in the UK are already conducted online but
over half of them are now on mobile devices. So it is true
to say that the online world for making research or for making decisions is now mainly mobile in the UK as of 2014 and will be even more so in 2015, 2016, 2017, add this is going to be the case in many
other countries. In fact, it already is. Why is that? Because in many countries
people haven’t got traditional phone lines anyway: I’m
talking about emerging markets. They’ve jumped straight into the smartphone
world and so, of course, their entire use of the internet is
using mobile devices. So think mobile. Big question: what does your hotel website look like on a mobile device? Is it usable on a mobile? You cannot have the same website and
expected it to work well for a hotel, it has to be a complete rethink. Just look: how people like Facebook use mobile
devices or LinkedIn or TripAdvisor : that’s a completely different experience or even Youtube. Go and have a look at those sites and then have a look at your hotel website and just see what a challenge it is. And, of course,
in the online world, we’re talking about mobile, we’re talking about social -social mobile. We’re talking about the world of
TripAdvisor. We’re talking about a world where people are actually commenting on the meal they’re eating in
your restaurant, in your hotel as they are eating. They’re popping it up onto
TripAdvisor; they’re rating the meal; they’re putting photographs of the meal up; it’s live; it’s happening all the time. Smart hotels are right in there with social media.Smart hotels setup e-mail alert so that every time a customer
makes comment, whether it’s positive or
negative, on something like TripAdvisor, the hotel manager- not actually the hotel
manager- someone who signs as the hotel manager, it’s probably a much more junior member of staff do most of it- but goes on and says, ‘Thank you for staying in our hotel. I’m so glad you enjoyed our inclusive
golf experience. Looking forward to seeing you again
Mary next time you come.’ Or, ‘Thank You Tom for visiting us, we were delighted to see you again. We know that you’ve been with us 4 or 5 times and we’re so delighted that, once again, you were so pleased to have the experience with us.’ Or it
might be, ‘Dear Jim, We were so upset to read what
happened, and your room not being ready for you on time,
and then the blinds not working, and the other problems you have with
the shower. We’ve decided to give you this
kind of discount (or whatever it is) We thank you for pointing these
things out.We did talk with you at the time, and as you know, we have booked you
and your wife to come back in three weeks time with
a special discount and we really look forward to seeing you then. So, it needs answering -these things- we’re engaging and each time we reply, we are showing Google, the search engine, that the hotel is
alive, that there are real human beings there, that we take our clients seriously and it all helps with the search engine
ratings and rankings because it’s extra words to search on and things like
that. Facebook is a very important social medium and but I wouldn’t overdo your marketing on Facebook personally. I
do think G+ is something to watch out for there are 1 billion G+ accounts already. Google is using G+ because it couldn’t do a deal with
Facebook. And Google wants to use authorship in future to validate who actually writes webpages- to work
out whether webpages are worth reading or not. To know who wrote them, to know whether
we can trust those people or not. And that’s really, in essence, what G+ is
all about, although, it’s designed officially to be a
social media website. So I would say, get into G+. Make sure
you you are in there, make sure you are registered
there, so that when you write something your photograph comes up on the listings
on Google and so on. Now E-commerce is now worth 1.5
trillion dollars a year. And, it’s not going
to go away and price comparison is going to be a very
important part of this for hotels in the future – even more than in the past. Especially with the new
rulings we’ve had in Ireland, with the Offices of Fair Trading which now allow people to create
comparison sites, and to create a discount for hotel rooms, by discounting on their own margin without
having to go back to the hotel and get agreement on this reduced pricing. So,
you’re going to see an awful lot of varieties of prices for the same product, the same hotel, the same service, same date, from different sites. Which
is probably a good thing for the consumer. So, comparison sites will reduced margins
quite a lot but at the same time these kind of online
booking engines generate more custom because you will find that people who
are on them, who are listed on them, will get bookings which are very short term. It is a customer who lands at the airport, who
wants a room in an hour, and will be with you in an hour. So, very
important changes, important opportunities. We act have to
act smart and we have to act fast.

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