Skip to main content
Daily travel & tourism news portal for the Asia-Pacific market since 2012

Statistics

Expedia: The importance of online guest engagement

Author: Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn / Date: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 12:40
4137

How THAI hoteliers can leverage impROved listings, data insights and tailorED guest relations tools to Stay ahead of the curve.

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), like Expedia, provide travelers with a variety of accommodation options in one place, and put information at their fingertips. OTAs are the leading resource during the planning phase of a trip, and remain prevalent through the booking path, with OTAs converting the most travelers.

Tools, data and insights available via OTA extranet sites, like Expedia PartnerCentral (EPC), offer Thai hoteliers the opportunity to inspire and convert travelers, set expectations, create personalized experiences, identify and address issues to better meet guest needs, improve guest experience and drive repeat bookings. But understanding the phases leading up to the trip, and the traveler experiences throughout, is a fundamental part of maintaining a hotel’s online reputation.

Understanding the Traveler Journey

There are four phases: dreaming and planning, shopping and booking, the trip itself and post-trip. Throughout this journey, today’s tech-savvy mobile-first travelers are looking for personalized content that is relevant to their preferences

expedia

So what tools can Thai hoteliers use to help attract and engage travelers throughout their journey?

Influencing the Guest Experience

Travelers want to imagine themselves in a destination and experiencing their vacation. So how does a hotel make it easy for travel shoppers to visualize their stay, while also differentiating a hotel’s property?

Figure 1: Nearly 1/3 of travelers use an OTA during the consideration phase.1
Figure 1: Nearly 1/3 of
travelers use an OTA
during the consideration
phase.1

The tools available in Expedia PartnerCentral (EPC) can help Thai hoteliers inform, influence and engage with travelers throughout their journey. Using EPC, hoteliers can access market data about what traveler shoppers are most interested in to help improve property content, optimize photos and provide tools to better engage and influence a hotel partner’s online reputation.

With more than 600 million traveler visits to Expedia’s portfolio of brands each month, hotel partners have the opportunity to capture consumer interest and visibility.

Attracting Travelers with Dream-worthy Content

During the initial dreaming and planning phase, travelers are viewing immense amounts of content and researching their options. Once they’ve chosen a destination, robust hotel descriptions, compelling imagery, and information on nearby points of interest all influence a traveler’s hotel booking decision. A study found that 35 percent of U.S. travelers (one of Thailand’s top inbound travelers) start their search with multiple destinations in mind and average 140 visits to travel sites in the 45 days leading up the booking.[1] These insights confirm the importance of content and how it can provide an opportunity to inspire travelers and empower Thai hoteliers to be a true destination ambassador.

Use Market Data to Help Lock in Bookings

As travelers move into the booking phase, hoteliers still need to account for travelers’ diverse needs and budgets. They can attract more travelers, and increase the likelihood of converting a booker, by offering a wide variety of room types and rate plans. Understanding the market and offering competitive rates and availability can be what helps travelers make that final booking decision. Expedia has built a powerful set of tools to help Thai hoteliers understand their performance, be more competitive in their market, and grow their business in the Expedia Marketplace.

Leveraging performance and market information, paired with public shopping data, can help hotels set strategies that convert travelers. Expedia offers several analytics tools to help with revenue management and property performance, which provide valuable information on a property’s revenue performance.

Figure 2: Expedia, Inc. 2017
Figure 2: Expedia, Inc. 2017

Easier – and Earlier Guest Engagement

Success! The traveler has booked a stay at a hotel’s property. Once a traveler has booked, the hotelier can begin delivering on guest experience by opening the lines of communication using tools such as EPC Conversations, which helps create first impressions and set expectations with custom messages or check-in instructions.

The Stay

Continued engagement with a traveler once they embark on their journey is key to creating a positive experience as engaged guests are also 40 percent more likely to return to the property.[2] There is an opportunity for hotels to drive incremental profit through active engagement with their guests. For instance, a recent Gallup study showed that engaged hotel guests spend almost THB 20,000 per visit versus the average guest who spends only THB 14,000.[3]

To further facilitate guest engagement, Expedia helps capture Real-time Feedback. With Real-time Feedback, guests receive a brief email questionnaire to gauge how their stay is going, which allows hoteliers to instantly read and respond. When hoteliers immediately address and resolve traveler issues, they can create a positive impression and potentially increase the likelihood of receiving higher post-trip Guest Review.

Figure 3: Local Measure, APAC Hotel Study, 2016
Figure 3: Local Measure, APAC Hotel Study, 2016

Reliving the Journey

the post-trip phase, travelers want to relive their experiences by posting on social media and leaving reviews – positive and negative. Understanding the role of reviews throughout the journey, and their impact on a hotel’s online reputation, is imperative for Thai hoteliers. Research has shown that 49 percent of travelers won’t book a hotel without a review[4] and most travelers read 6 -12 reviews before booking.[5]

Expedia encourages guests to write an online review through Expedia Verified Reviews after guest check out. It’s important for hotels to monitor post-trip Guest Reviews and respond to questions and concerns. In fact, 62 percent of users say that seeing hotel management respond to reviews generally “makes me more likely to book it” and 87 percent of users agree that an appropriate response to a bad review “improved my impressions of the hotel.”5

Guest reviews are valuable to both hotels and potential guests, but extracting actionable insights from them can be time consuming and costly. With EPC, hoteliers can easily monitor their property rating across Expedia group websites. Additionally, Guest Review Insights transforms unstructured guest reviews into actionable, quantifiable data regarding how guests feel about a stay, allowing hoteliers to make informed improvements, where possible.

 

[1] Expedia Media Solutions, The Traveler’s Path to Purchase, White Paper

[2] Hotel Online, Hotel Guests Engaged During Stay 40% More likely to Come Back, 2016

[3] Gallup, Hospitality Industry Study, 2014

[4] Statistic Brain, 2017 Online Travel Hotel Booking Statistics. 2017

[5] TripAdvisor and PhocusWright, Custom Survey Research Engagement, 2014

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn

Having been with Expedia for the past 10 years, Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn has a wealth of experience and deep insight in the Thai and Laos market, currently serving as Director, Market Management at Expedia Lodging Partner Services, Expedia group. Pimpawee leads a dedicated team of 55 members including Market Managers in prioritizing opportunities for revenue growth, and oversees the execution of strategic Expedia initiatives both internally and externally with over 8,000 hotels. Pimpawee joined Expedia as Market Manager, increasingly building her long-term relationships with Expedia hotel partners and stakeholders. She rapidly took on a greater role as she was promoted to Senior Market Manager and consequently Regional Manager over the space of 4 years, where she leads the organization through communication strategies and market insights, fostering an agile work environment, as well as identifying and coaching talent. Previously, Pimpawee held roles in Agoda Company Pte Ltd/ Agoda Services Co.,Ltd., as well as recruitment agency PA Balanz Executive Search Co.,Ltd. Pimpawee holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Thammasat University, before also obtaining a MBA, majoring in International Business, from the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) in Bangkok.