A recent study from the UCLA Anderson School of Management found that the growth of online reviews and ratings is benefiting hotel revenues, particularly for independent hotels. The report’s author, Dr. Brett Hollenbeck, looked at revenues over 15 years and analyzed aspects of about 1.5 million reviews. He found that 10 reviews on average can boost an independent hotel’s revenue 1.7 percent, versus 0.7 percent for brand hotels. However, the effect didn’t apply to luxury brands with loyalty and points programs. Read more about the research here.
On Monday, Airbnb plans to introduce a search tool that filters out homes and apartments that are “Business Travel Ready,” meaning they have a desk, Wi-Fi and hotel-like amenities like shampoo, a hairdryer, and an iron. Currently, 90 percent of Airbnb’s customers are vacationers. Read more here.
Data breaches are on the rise – the Identity Theft Resource Center reported 1,093 in 2016 versus 781 in 2015. This has left many hoteliers to question whether they are properly protected, and, in turn, protecting their customers’ information. Learn about what hoteliers can do to protect against malware and point of sale system breaches here.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue is planning a regulation change that would require taxing homeowners renting out their properties through a home sharing like hotels. People renting their home to guests for fewer than 90 days would have to collect and remit a 7 percent state sales tax on gross revenue from the rental. Read more here.
With podcasts like “Serial” and “S-Town” becoming major cultural touch points, it was only a matter of time before hotel companies started to look into the medium. Today, IHG and Marriott have both started producing hotel-related podcasts as a means of content marketing. To learn more, click here.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index released a new travel report with good news for the lodging industry – customers are generally happier with hotels than they were a year ago. Guest satisfaction is up 2.7 percent from 2016, with an industry-wide rating of 76 on a zero to 100 scale. The report also named the companies and brands with the highest customer satisfaction ratings, as well as those at the bottom. The highest-scoring brands received ratings between 83 and 85. To read more about the report and to view the rankings, click here.