Here's what Chinese travelers will be looking for
What Chinese travelers want. For those of you who can’t get enough intel about Chinese traveler hotel preferences, Expedia Group and research firm Ipsos released findings from the Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) survey that Chinese travelers are increasingly staying at independent and boutique hotels and are seeking more out-of-the box activities and authentic experiences when traveling to a destination. Fully 21% chose hotels offering cutting-edge technology such as co-working spaces, voice technology and virtual reality bookings. They also spent US$30 more per day on accommodations than the previous year -- and watch out, as 78% say they are open to booking homestay accommodations in the future.—Jeff Weinstein
Here’s who’s daring: Last week, we asked who would take on the additional work created by Kimpton’s “Room 301” experiment at Hollywood’s Kimpton Everly Hotel – a temporary offering that encourages guests to interact with messages left by previous guests of the room as well as create video content, journals and wall messages during their stay. Well, here’s who, according to a spokeswoman for the brand: Unsurprisingly, it’s people who sign a waiver that gives Kimpton permission to use the data and content generated in the room for the “experiment” once it ends. While no guests will see any other guests’ photos or video entries and participation is voluntary, there may be the opportunity for a “guest reunion” phase once the data’s all been sorted. Sounds like the basis for a beautiful reality show. MTV’s “Real World,” anyone?—Chloe Riley
Rise of the service robots: Chinese online retailer Alibaba, which already uses robots in its warehouses, is adapting the technology to serve hotel guests. Starting in October, the service robots, the company’s 1-meter-high “next step in the evolution towards smart hotels” will deliver meals and take laundry to guests, among other tasks, and communicate via voice command, touch and hand gestures. To say Alibaba's Jack Ma is serious about rolling out the technology everywhere — beyond hotels — is an understatement: Robot tests in hospitality are just the first step in a larger plan to take it to restaurants, hospitals and offices.—Barbara Bohn
What hotels can learn from a US$1,500 iPhone: Basically this: The value of building a brand that people respect and trust cannot, we repeat, cannot, be underestimated in terms of how it can be capitalized on later. Apple just rolled out the latest iterations of its signature phone and the top-of-the-line version is a whopping US$1,449. (And be sure to round up for sales tax). As 500ish words points out, when the phone debuted in 2007, that year’s top-of-the-line version went for US$599 – and even that was considered outrageous for the time (then it tells you how Apple got to that place.) But people paid and still do pay. The moral of the story? Know your value as a company or brand. Don’t overinflate your worth, but don’t back down from it, either. —C.R.
What about Indian customers? Indian hotel consultancy Hotelivate has just published an incredibly comprehensive Trends & Opportunities report about the Indian hotel industry that is a must-read for developers. The report comes on the heels of strong performances in 2018 across positioning, geographies and price points. The demand-supply equation continues to unveil opportunity for higher occupancies across most hotel markets in India. Yet, 2017/18’s nationwide ARR inched ahead by a mere 1.5% over 2016/17. Research reveals that more hotels than ever before are consistently mitigating the effects of seasonality by multifarious segmentation. If anything, this should empower them to augment their ARR strategy, not curtail it.—J.W.