GuestCentric Roundup of 20198 min read
From Google´s increasing dominance over the online travel market, to the resignation of Expedia’s CEO, and the launch of Marriott International’s Home Sharing initiative to tackle competition from AirBnb, it’s safe to say that 2019 has been a fast-paced and action-packed year across the global hotel landscape.
For us here at GuestCentric, 2019 has been nothing short of exhilarating – with lots to celebrate across our network of clients and the business. Above all, it has been a pleasure working with so many bold, innovative and pioneering hoteliers, clients, partners and colleagues to make this year a success.
So without further ado, as we race towards the new year, here is our roundup of 2019:
Independent Hoteliers Who Maximized their Online Presence in 2019
Change takes courage, so I truly commend our clients who took the leap with us in 2019 and elevated their online presence to the next level.
We are proud to celebrate their achievements and some fantastic results over the course of this past year. They truly are trailblazers in the industry, allowing customers to fully experience the value their properties have to offer from the moment they visit their websites.
Here are some of our favorites for 2019, and certainly ones to watch in 2020:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But for La Valise Hotel, video is worth so much more! Upon visiting the website, guests are greeted with a split-screen of vibrant aerial shots from the hotel’s Tulum and Mexico City properties.
On the side, La Valise´s Mexico City property inspires passion with a flare for the contemporary, both in terms of room decor and showcasing what the capital has to offer. The left side comes alive with Tulum´s white sandy beaches, shimmering clear water and sunshine you can almost feel against your skin, along with lush greenery and treehouses crafted of locally-sourced palpapa and chukum.
It’s hardly surprising that this property has been featured in Vogue, AD, Travel Leisure, Conde Nast and Departures.
They say that customers buy from other customers, and this is certainly the case with Casale Panayiotis, a luxury spa retreat situated in a welcoming, traditional village in Cyprus.
In addition to ´Shopping Activation’ widgets, Casale Panayiotis tells the story of their hotel through the words of their customers. As such, they are not shy about showcasing what customers have to say across their website, so it’s hardly surprising they achieved some excellent results in 2019.
Badged with the promise of ‘A Stay to Remember´, Encantada Tulum hotel not only delivers a visually captivating experience from the moment guests visit their website, but is also optimized for direct reservations through the use of ´Shopping Activation´ widgets.
When guests browse through the homepage, it’s difficult to miss the pop-up teaser offer of a free massage in exchange for a direct booking. This not only inspires guests to book direct, but you can bet that individuals will be talking about this perk with family, friends and across social media for months and even years to come.
Furthermore, shopping activation has also been shown to drastically reduce booking abandonment rates and increase direct bookings.
Research shows that guests will seek out more historical and culturally-enriching experiences in 2020, and Hotel Duquesa De Cardona is proactively meeting this demand in 2019.
In addition to featuring customer ratings and competitive room rates, this Barcelona-based hotel also delivers an open invitation to travelers exploring the secrets of one of the Meditteranean´s most charismatic cities. Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring first-hand some of the top cultural and historical attractions the city has to offer.
It’s inspiring to see the intriguing stories of the city along with the great value the property has to offer. They have achieved some great things in 2019, and we look forward to seeing where the journey will take them in 2020.
By following our guidance and proactively taking steps to optimize both their websites and booking engines, these hotels now have a shining online presence in their own right – independent of OTAs.
New Features We have Released To Optimize Direct Bookings
Innovation has always been the name of our game, and 2019 was no exception. I’m pleased to say that GuestCentric continues to take great strides to ensure our clients and partners remain competitive in the ever-changing digital landscape.
In doing so, we released a whole host of innovative new features to help hoteliers maximize direct revenue. Our new features for 2019 include:
- Last Rooms Optimizer: It is every hotelier´s dream to maximize GOP, and optimizing for direct is a key way to achieve this. With this feature, hoteliers can now pre-select rooms exclusively for direct reservations and optimize their direct revenue.
- Enhanced Unavailability Message: This feature allows Hotel Chains to showcase and direct customers their surrounding property websites when the one searched for has no availability. This increases the chance of guests booking with the same group and maximizes direct revenue.
- Booking Re-import: In understanding the challenge of managing reservations across multiple channels, we released this feature to enable hoteliers to retrieve bookings from Expedia and Booking.com which have not synced with the Channel Manager. This helps prevent overbookings.
- Intelligence Sync: Approximately 92% of overbookings are caused by the desynchronization of extranets and channel managers. This feature enables hoteliers to automatically update availability and prices to the channel manager, as well as automatically open and stop sales across Booking.com and Expedia.
We cannot wait to release more features in the new year. Watch this space!
Awards and Recognition for GuestCentric and the Hoteliers We Work With
In continuously striving for excellence to ensure our clients achieve the best organic results, I ́m delighted to announce that we added some new trophies to the cabinet this year. On behalf of GuestCentric, I am also tremendously proud of our clients who have taken our advice on board and have been recognized for their achievements in 2019!
Our Awards and Winners Include:
AVA Digital Awards 2019
The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) recognized GuestCentric’s high standards of web design with 4 AVA Digital Awards, raising our total of hospitality website awards to 224!
Communicator & Hermes Awards 2019
We are very proud to share that 8 of our clients were recognized for their achievements at the Communicator and Hermes Creative Awards 2019.
W3 Awards 2019
Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA) recognized GuestCentric’s high standards of web design with two W³ Awards. The W³ Awards celebrate digital excellence by honoring outstanding websites. This is the first major web competition to be accessible to the biggest agencies, the smallest firms, and everyone in between.
Davey Awards 2019
The Davey Awards celebrate digital excellence by honoring outstanding websites.
Congratulations to our clients and winners for the awards mentioned above:
- Hotel Meira
- Quinta da Comporta
- The Gate
- Hotel da Baixa
- Gran Cruz House
- Evidencia Belverde
- Vila Foz Hotel & Spa
I look forward to helping our clients put their best forward and continue to achieve recognition for their efforts in 2020.
Closing Reflections on 2019 and Looking Ahead to 2020
This year certainly served as a reminder that the industry never stands still. It’s been nothing short of inspirational to witness so much growth in 2019, both for our clients and as a business. The wheels keep turning, and we will keep on moving, innovating and disrupting all the way through 2020.
Find out more about my predictions for 2020 and what you can do to stay ahead of the game and maintain consistent organic growth in direct revenue and as a hotel brand. I would love to hear your thoughts about how we best continue the journey, so be sure to leave your comments below or contact us.
About the Author
Pedro Colaco is the CEO and President of GuestCentric Systems, which he Co-Founded in October 2006. He boasts a proven track record of driving successful product development, marketing, sales and channel management efforts in the global market.
Prior to his current role, he was Vice President of Product Management and Marketing at Corvil, a software start-up funded by Apax Partners and Cisco Systems. During his tenure at Corvil he built a global Product Management and Marketing organization to support a sales team of over 60 professionals focused on the financial industry in New York City and London.
Pedro is a multi-lingual advisor and thought leader across the international travel tech landscape, speaking five languages and having lived in four countries throughout his career.