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With the current building boom and a dearth of available skilled laborers, the cost of construction labor has been steadily on the rise. While it can have a dramatic impact on building costs, it is not entirely unexpected. Whenever the economy thrives, the cost of construction labor goes up. To read more, click here

ReportLinker, a data company that simplifies how analysts get industry data, conducted a survey to answer three questions:

  • Do people trust online reviews more than their friends?
  • Do they read reviews before buying a product or visiting a place?
  • What items or activities are the most reviewed online?

Key results indicated that a whopping 98 percent of people believe online reviews are at least somewhat reliable, and 59 percent of shoppers believe online reviews are equally as trustworthy as a review provided by a friend.

The survey also showed that consumers choose different online review sites depending on the product or service being researched. When looking for a good restaurant, they head to Yelp 53 percent of the time. When looking for product reviews, Amazon and eBay top the list, with each mentioned 57 percent of the time.

By far the most popular category of online reviews is electronics, with 71 percent of mentions. Hotel and restaurant reviews are the next most-popular searches, 53 percent and 52 percent respectively.

However, despite an extensive reliance on these online evaluations, only 51 percent of online shoppers say they take the time to write them.

To see full survey results, click here.

Veteran hotelier Stephen Brandman and the owners of the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel have announced the creation of Journal Hotels, a new brand that will launch with six historic properties in its portfolio. These hotels will be rebranded as Journal properties over the next few weeks. Read more here.

An investigation conducted by the European Commission has determined that two-thirds of travel websites are misleading travelers. Many of the sites would advertise prices that were not available or add on extra charges at a later fee in the booking process. Other findings included that 23 percent of the websites probed showed limited information about a hotel and neglected to include things like the name and address of the property, and 21 percent of the sites had reviews that may not have been truthful. Read more here.

Moody’s reports on recently released U.S. lodging and cruise data.

Key highlights include:

  • Expectations remain stable for the industry, with Moody’s analysts anticipating adjusted EBITDA to grow 4 percent to 6 percent in 2017—a slower growth rate than the robust 9.4 percent adjusted EBITDA growth seen in 2016.
  • Cruise capacity expansion will slow in 2017, with analysts expecting capacity expansion at only 3 percent following more than 6 percent in 2016
  • Lodging supply will modestly outpace demand in 2017, fueled by the sizable expansion of the new hotel pipeline across all major hotel chains
  • Hotel operators are set to trade price (room rates) to maintain occupancy, with occupancy rates pressured as new supply comes on board, result in hotel operators trading price to maintain occupancy

Customer loyalty is at the top of most—if not all—of the big hotel companies’ priorities. These companies’ efforts to improve and enhance loyalty have turned a spotlight on a job that has previously gotten little attention: Data scientists. Through online booking engines, hotel companies are now overwhelmed with data. The trick is knowing how to use it. That’s where the data scientists come in. They are the ones who are able to make sense of the data and turn it into actionable solutions for customer retention. Click here to read more.

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