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Hotel industry experts are closely watching the Connecticut hotel market this summer due to the state’s high hotel occupancy taxes. Set at 15 percent, many are concerned that the taxes will deter tourism. At first, the tax wasn’t an issue—occupancy increased four years in a row—but it fell in 2016 and 2017. Read more.

Hotels across the country have seen increased bookings between August 18 and 22 as tourists plan travel to see the total solar eclipse passing through North America. The astronomical event will put nearly 100 million Americans in near-total darkness for over two minutes. South Carolina—one state in the 70-mile path that will experience the eclipse—has experienced increased hotel bookings, leaving limited lodging in Charleston and Columbia, the state capital. The state and its hotels are the most accessible for the expected 2 million visitors coming from across the East Coast to witness the natural phenomenon. Read more.

Last week at the 2017 HITEC conference in Toronto, industry leaders assembled for a panel titled “Text Your Guests.” While the panel’s participants were strongly in favor of using text messaging to communicate with hotel guests, they did caution that certain measures should be taken to make the texting process as a seamless as possible. These measures included communicating via legitimate SMS texting, rather than through a loyalty app, as well as giving guest the opportunity to opt out at any time. To read more, click here.

Micro hotel brands like Pod Hotels are responding to shifting consumer tastes for affordable luxury. By saving space, these hotels are able to maximize style, design, and guest experience. The guestrooms may be small in size, but they do not scale down on quality. Read more about micro hotels here.

A Google and STR report draws a strong link between hotel search results and bookings. The companies looked at two years of Google search results and STR booking trends in major cities. They found that higher search volumes led to higher demand, meaning that search results can help predict hotel occupancy. Read more.

As HITEC Toronto continues, another major trend has emerged: the quest for actionable data. While the show’s hundreds of exhibitors may operate in very different segments of hospitality technology, the common thread tying them all together is the desire to make use of the mountains of data now available about everything from guest preferences to factors influencing ADR and occupancy levels. However, now that this data is at hoteliers’ fingertips, there is so much information that it can be difficult to parse. Many of the companies at HITEC are pursuing new software analytics that make sense of this data and turn it into something that hoteliers can use to improve their operations, service, and overall profitability.

LODGING’s bonus coverage of HITEC will continue throughout this week. If you want more, check out LodgingMagazine on Instagram to see what we see!

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