Travelers today are innundated with resources to assist in planning trips. Among the tools are first-hand "unbiased" published on the major booking sites, including TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and others.
But, have you ever wondered, "Who writes these reviews, anyway?"
Olery, a reputation management company, has taken a stab at answering that question and the answers are pretty interesting.
Generally speaking, Olery found that hotels receive about 300+ reviews per year on average and that 46% of travelers post hotel reviews. Reviewer demographics skew slightly towards female guests, with a plurality of reviews being written by 35-49 year-old guests.
Interestingly, guests on vacation and leisure travel – those who are spending their own money – write the majority of hotel reviews.
PRNewser had an interesting read this week on the importance of making your press releases Twitter friendly. Why should you tailor a press release to be easily distributed via Twitter, you ask? Simple. Twitter drives more traffic to press releases than any other top-level social media resource.
“It starts with the headline,” says Sarah Skerik, PRNewswire’s VP of social media. “The press releases that got the most shares and views were those that had headlines that were in the range of 120 characters, which makes them the perfect tweetable link.”
Obviously good headlines are important, but it's equally important to monitor the length of the headline. Since Twitter users will want to retweet your post and (potentially) add comments, you need to leave enogh characters to support the "RT @[yourusername]" device, at a minimum. A good rule of thumb would be to limit the length of your tweet to 110-120 characters maximum.
Using twitter best practices is also important in making your press release twitter friendly and ensuring that you are hitting your core audience. One obvious device is through the use of appropriate hashtags. Hashtags make your content easy to find through twitter search, lists, and dedicated industry feeds.
Another great tip is to make your pullquotes tweet-able.
Why not make the quote more interesting and substantive? “If I knew my audience was active on Twitter, I would make sure that quote is tweet-able, and include the brand’s or person’s Twitter handle….”
Including a twitter handle within your press release (or within the pullquote itself) is a really clever idea that could pay off in many ways. Not only will it get your important themes noticed and retweeted, but it could help to gain followers for your internal twitter accounts, further enhancing your brand's credibility in the marketplace.
“Hotels in some markets of China are clearly oversupplied in the next three to five years, and they won’t be generating good returns,” said Nigel Summers, Hong Kong-based director at Horwath Asia Pacific, which tracks the hospitality industry. “China has had a very strong demand. The question is whether the increase in demand is going to be big enough to handle all the new hotels.”
Sixty-one percent occupancy is not a strong indicator, however it is must be taken in context.
According to USA Today, China had 14,100 recognized hotels (those with at least one-star rating) in 2008, nearly double the 7,400 recognized hotels in 2001. By the end of 2012, the number of recognized hotels in China is expected to top 18,000.
Given the rapid supply expansion and downward economic indicators, it's quite remarkable that the country was able to maintain its 61% occupancy rate so far in 2011 – flat to the previous year.
And therein lies the hidden opportunity behind the "low" hotel occupancy numbers in China.
Hoteliers were able to expand supply at a pace roughly equal to the increase in demand. In other words, expansion in China has done nothing to dilute the market. To the contrary, international brands are reporting 23% growth in RevPAR, with continued upward pressure on both occupancy and rate.
Affinity China has unveiled some amazing statistics in a recent study of the Chinese luxury consumer that point to not just the growth of the luxury sector in China, but also the global reach of the affluent Chinese.
The average age of the Chinese luxury consumer is 20 years younger than consumers in the US or Japan
In 2010 there were over 1 million millionaires in China, up from just 300,000 just four years before
In 2010, Chinese travelers made 57 million trips abroad. That number is expected to be 100 million by 2015
More than 50% of the luxury goods purchased by Chinese are bought while they are traveling overseas
On average, Chinese travelers spend $7,000 each when traveling
There are more fascinating factoids contained in this short video overview of the Chinese market.
A new Mojiva study being reported by EyeforTravel reveals that 61% of smartphone users would be comforable booking travel on their iPhone or Android.
The study, which was based on responses from almost 200 mobile users on the Mojiva network, shows that while 64% of users would be comfortable spending up to $500 dollars via their phones for travel, nearly forty percent of smartphone users would be comfortable booking travel in excess of $500.
In this era of social media, many companies are looking to increase guest and fan engagement on their Facebook pages. According to a new study from Buddy Media, increasing the number of "likes" your posts and updates receive may be easier than you thought.
After evaluating posts and status updates, the report found these five keywords that generate the most likes for posts on Facebook:
The success of these key words indicates that messages with "soft engagement" can be an extremely successful strategy in social media.
FastCompany details a new social media analysis by Dan Zarella that has some surprising results. Contrary to popular thought, Facebook likes do not mean that more people will read your posts. In fact, posts that are viewed more tend to get fewer likes.
Zarella's study looked at the correlation between impressions per post (essentially the number of page views a post gets) and feedback per post (a tacit measure of how interested the public is in the post material, measured in comments and "likes"). Using Facebook Insights data, which is only accessible to page admins, he looked at 12 months of data and found merely a "weak negative correlation." In other words, the posts that get slightly more views actually have fewer likes and comments.
This study, if it pans out in broader review, knocks a sizeable whole in the social engagement metrics that many companies are using. It will be interesting to see if this report reflects a blip or an actual trend.
The study, which was created from one-on-one interviews with 463 Chinese millionaires and billionaires, sheds new light onto how the wealthiest Chinese make travel decisions.
I found several details to particularly interesting, including:
Chinese millionaires average 15 days of vacation annually, including three trips abroad. One-third will take more than 20 days of vacation per year and 20% will travel abroad five or more every year.
France is now the top travel destination, followed by the United State (which had been #1 in 2009 and 2010), Australia, Japan, and the Maldives.
4 out of 5 millionaires consider sending their children overseas for education, with the US, UK and Canada topping the list.
80% of Chinese millionaires prefer to travel on their own rather than with a tour group.
57% of the ultra-wealthy make their own travel arrgangements using a travel agent or professional website.
Only 11% of Chinese millionaires book travel through a hotel website.
When choosing where to stay, brand is the most important factor, followed by service, facilities, and location.
The preferred hotel brands of Chinese millionaires are Shangri-La, Hilton, Park Hyatt and The Ritz-Carlton.
For US hotel companies seeking to gain a toe-hold in the Asian travel market, this study gives actionable insight in how to market to ultra-wealthy Chinese.
For example, with such a large number of Chinese considering an overseas education for their children, do you think proximity to major universities would be a consideration for the guest? If so, do your professional travel agents have a list of area universities? Is this information detailed on the top-performing international travel websites?
With such a high percentage of millionaires preferring to travel without a group, is your hotel prepared to host a single Chinese family? Without a group guide as a primary communicator for the guests, are your facilities and staff prepared to service a Chinese guest? For example, do you have community maps and guides printed in simplified Chinese? Are your restaurant and in-room dining menus availble in multiple languages? Do you provide multiple Mandarin television channels? Do you provide currency exhange services?
I think this study is truly fasciniating. Hotels and brands that implement these insights in their service standards and marketing stand to gain marketshare in this rapidly emerging market.
47% of adults in the US use social media sites versus only 26% in 2008
The average age of social media users is now 38, up from age 33 just two years ago
52% of Facebook users and 33% of Twitter users engage with social media daily
Myspace users tend to have the lowest level of education; LinkedIn users are the most educated
Within these findings, I'm most intrigued by the growth of middle-aged and senior users. While adoption by younger users tends to mark the start of trends, the growth among older users indicates mainstream acceptance. In other words, it's clear that social networking – particularly on Facebook – has officially arrived.