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ISSUE 16

Hello <<First Name>>,

Following ITB and having to catch up with everything, the newsletter got slightly delayed. But here it is. It is quite startup and hotel tech focused, I hope it isn't too technical. I've been trying to summarize ITB from my point of view and here's my take: We're at a turning point in travel and hotel technology where the incumbents are starting to share some of their data and access. And it is crucial we do. Travel tech and more specifically hotel tech risks becoming an old boys club of OTAs, PMS and CRS providers holding on to their domains rather than innovating boldly and moving the industry. What I loved about ITB this year is the number of new startups and even accelerators. But we really need to help them grow because we don't know where the next great thing in travel tech will come from, but if we help the ideas grow they will get built. 
- Martin
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food for thought.

City guides are all the rage

After Google launched their Trips App, Booking beta testing their experiences apps and no Facebook going into city guides it seems they've become the next big thing. What is the big deal? Data is surely one of them, but more important than that is educating a market to becoming a full travel planning and booking tool. As technology is working to integrate more and deeper it is quite certain that a power-shift will happen away from websites offering travel bookings and towards platforms offering fully integrated experiences, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Siri to name some. But before that can happen, travelers need to be educated to using those platforms, and that's a long term view.

FACEBOOK TRIP PLANNER

It seems Direct Booking has peaked

Direct bookings as a buzzword and trend seems to have peaked. That's not to say they aren't going to happen but the trend of shifting to direct as a "new thing to do" is likely going to level out a bit and hopefully hoteliers are going to go back to putting as much (or more) energy into guest experience as they have been putting into direct bookings. This statement from the CEO of Louvre Hotels group summarizes things quite well: “We have spent much money on online business to compete against OTAs, but now we are focusing on quality and differentiation.” Of course hotels need to ensure they get direct bookings, but after they excel at guest experience. And let's be totally clear, direct bookings are going to become harder and harder (read expensive) to get as technology evolves into deeper and deeper integrations.  

5 GLOBAL HOTEL CEOs

It's time to get together

The hotel world needs another booking engine just as much as it needs another PMS. What we do need is orders of magnitude improvement on our technology. And the more fragmented we are the less we're actually improving, because everyone is reinventing the wheel in their corner. I had a very refreshing chat with a hotel tech company CEO last week at ITB who pointed out how much time is being wasted by every one of these tech companies reinventing each other's features and integrations. It's time these industries get together and start integrating and sharing more stuff together. Working out who is best at what and focusing on those elements. We don't need 400+ PMS or 350+ Booking Engines. We need better ones that are integrated and future-proofed. 

HOTELS WORK COLLECTIVELY ON DIRECT

Travel tech rocks in B2B

Travel is a huge industry, but making yet another travel planner or concierge app isn't really going to cut it. On the consumer side, the competition is pretty tough, the big companies are owning a lot of the space here. But on the B2B side it's a whole other story. Even though this isn't a huge industry with the same growth potential as consumer side, it's becoming ripe for innovation. With open APIs finally becoming a norm and platform "mentality" arriving to the hotel tech industry it opens up huge potential for developers of all sizes to innovate. Protel, Amadeus and SnapShot recently announced how they are building platform systems that will make hotel data easier to access for any developers. Pro-tip: if you can make tech that works as well for hotels as for short term rentals, the growth potential is quite large. 

TRAVEL STARTUPS

On finding the right product and market

This will resonate mainly with hotel tech companies and startups. But finding the right product/market fit is the holy grail of building new tech products. Essentially is it the art of finding a need in the market and supplying that need with the right product. I've been lucky enough to have worked with teams where we found that perfect spot, both with SnapShot and before. But the truth is, for every success, there's at least two failures, sometimes three. If you are into product building, this article is great. 

12 THINGS FROM ADDREESSEN/HOROWITZ
other good stuff.
Check out the 10 Rules of Hotel Marketing chart
Download the Infographic to writing better taglines.
The 14 most important steps to increasing direct revenue. 
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