The Travel Industry’s Top Concerns With Managing Online Business

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NEEDHAM, Mass.—TripAdvisor, Inc. today announced the results of its 2018 “Hospitality Sector Report” in partnership with Ipsos MORI showcasing the top concerns and areas of focus for travel businesses, including hotels, restaurants, experiences, tours, and attractions listed on TripAdvisor. The results of the study reveal a U.S. travel industry adapting to an increasingly mobile marketplace, focused on online reputation management, and concerned about choosing the right marketing vehicles to reach global travelers and diners, among other key trends.

The 2018 Hospitality Sector Report is a study into the issues, challenges, and opportunities currently facing the hospitality industry globally and more locally, within six focus markets. It is based on an Ipsos MORI study which was conducted online in January to February 2018, with 2,395 respondents asked a series of questions on their business. The sample was of TripAdvisor-registered business owners from restaurant, accommodation, and experience businesses.

“We asked travel business owners and operators in the U.S. and around the globe about the key industry trends that are top of mind for them in 2018, and the results provide a rare look into today’s evolving digital travel marketplace,” said Martin Verdon-Roe, vice president of business-to-business product of TripAdvisor. “What’s clear is that the overwhelming majority of owners and operators are concerned about their presence online and how they are using mobile and social platforms to attract the right consumers.”

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Adapting to a Growing Digital Marketplace

U.S. hoteliers, restaurateurs and experiences, tours, and attractions operators are facing a vast mobile marketplace and their responses are telling: 87 percent of those surveyed said that having a mobile-enabled website/app is important, while 71 percent said that taking bookings online is important.

These findings complement the latest Mary Meeker “Internet Trends Report,” which notes that consumers are increasing their mobile and Internet usage so fast that advertising dollars can’t keep up, creating a $7 billion mobile advertising opportunity for businesses.

Online Reputation Management 
U.S. respondents of the TripAdvisor-Ipsos MORI study also showcased the outsized importance of maintaining a positive presence online and engaging with their current and potential customers. Ninety-seven percent said online reputation management is important to their business, 98 percent said online reviews are important to their business, and 92 percent said social presence is important to their business.

Choosing the Right Marketing Channels

U.S. hospitality business owners and operators revealed the importance of staying ahead of online marketing opportunities. Eighty-nine percent said that keeping up with online marketing important and 80 percent said that working with the right online marketing service is important.

Top Areas of Focus for Hospitality Businesses

Respondents in the hospitality business reported that customer service and retention (27 percent), staffing (25 percent), and marketing efforts (20 percent) were their top areas of focus. The top three forces expected to have positive impact on their businesses were hiring the best staff (43 percent), global economic conditions (30 percent), and overtourism (29 percent).