Expedia Group, the world’s travel platform with an extensive portfolio of over 200 travel sites spanning across 70 countries revealed its technology innovation and recommendations for Thai accommodation players to expand their business amidst forecast of dampened growth in Thailand’s tourism industry.
Due to the global economic slowdown, soaring fuel prices and the appreciation of Thai baht, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently lowered the projected international arrivals for 2019 to 40.2 million. As such, tourism players can expect a tough year ahead. It is therefore paramount for the industry, including hoteliers, to be prepared to face the challenging conditions ahead. One of the ways to rise above this is the innovative use of technology. As online bookings continue to grow at an incredible pace, the APAC travel market will swell from US$418.1 billion in 2018 to $540.3 billion. By 2022, and the online share of travel bookings will climb from 44% to 53% in the same period. Despite the massive growth opportunities, the online travel realm remains hugely complex.
“There are about two million destinations around the world that people are looking to visit and more than ten ways that a traveller can describe their accommodation – from hotel through to bed and breakfast, apartment or even treehouse. Travelers will also search for relevant terms such as family-friendly, pet-friendly, beach resort and look for amenities ranging from wi-fi, swimming pool to facilities for special needs,” said Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, Director, Market Management of Expedia Group. “Expedia Group has catalogued over 160 additional qualifying terms that people might think about when they are refining their searches. Realistically, there could be approximately 3.2 billion search combinations. This huge amount of combination makes it extremely challenging for travel providers and hotels to reach their customers. Hoteliers who can leverage relevant data and technology to navigate through these complexities will be best positioned to win in this digital age.”
Expedia Group invests in data science to help hoteliers drive higher conversion
On a daily basis, there are one billion peak searches and over two billion lodging supply updates on the Expedia Group platform. By harnessing the power of its global platform and simplifying petabytes of traveler data into tools and actionable insights, Expedia Group is empowering Thai hoteliers to make smarter and better business decisions. Last year alone, the company invested US$1.6 billion in technology, taking automation to the next level by pairing the power of its platform with data science to make automation more customer and partner-centric.
Guest Insights – available to Expedia Group’s hotel partners, is a prime data analytic tool that allows hotels to leverage guest booking data and get a deeper understanding of where travellers are coming from and their booking behaviour. This will enable them to identify opportunities to reach and convert travelers from specific countries, allowing them the opportunity to grow their revenue. Globally, one in three Expedia Group accommodation partners look at some form of analytics reporting on a daily basis. It is therefore critical for Thai hoteliers to leverage such data insights in order to stay competitive in the online marketplace.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning driving greater efficiencies for hotels
Machine learning is a powerful and positive disruptor which can help solve industry challenges and put the power of global platforms, such as Expedia Group, into the hands of accommodation players of all sizes. Today, machine learning is already helping Expedia Group’s accommodation partners reduce their operational expenses and increase revenues by forecasting demand for their inventory.
As an example, Rev+ is a free revenue management tool that Expedia Group offers its accommodation partners. Rev+ is designed to provide them with smart, actionable data and predictive analytics, all in real-time. This means hotel partners can have access to predictions such as what they should charge based on competition, compression and other market dynamics. Globally, over 53,000 hotels are actively using Rev+ to optimise their revenue management strategy on Expedia Group Platform. Hotels who are highly engaged with Rev+ were able to gain an average 20 percent incremental uplift in revenue than hotels in their competitive set not using Rev+, generating $28 (USD) million incremental revenue combined.
Looking forward, the company will be taking AI and Machine learning one step further by providing personalized recommendations via a video bot to its hotel partners. “In the not-too-distant future, everything we’ve dreamt of through science fiction movies will be coming to life in the way we conduct business,” Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn added, “Technology is already creating the type of experience where that automation feels just that little bit more human.”