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Wondering how European Hotel Chains fared in 2018 and what to expect in 2019? Our 2018 European Hotel Chain Social Sentiment Report offers that and more, sharing insight around trends and trouble spots, while offering tactics top brands employ on social media to stay ahead of competitors and sentiment shared around 21 of them.

Let’s explore some of the report highlights to help you get started right away!

In For A Penny

Travelers are a fickle lot, committed to extracting every last bit of value out of each purchase they make, and particularly when that purchase involves an adventure away from home. At the very least, they expect to get what they paid for, and are extremely vocal when that doesn’t happen.

And there are endless review sites clamoring for juicy reviews, not to mention all the social sites where consumer reviews can – and often do – go viral.

As a result, hotels are finding new ways to capture these crowds and ensure they’re happy with their stays, from beginning to end. And they’re doing a great job of it so far! As we detail in the report, global economic growth in 2018 has been the fastest since 2011.

The biggest problem in some locations is actually over tourism. 2019 is shaping up to show impressive RevPAR (revenue per available room) increases in key locations across Europe, so it’s not the worst problem to have, but it does still leave hotels lots to contend with on top of an increasingly competitive market.

The challenge, of course, for hotels in these locations is to continue capturing these rising revenues as they occur – because travelers have lots of options. The sharing economy has changed the market and will continue to, with “alternative accommodations platforms” like Airbnb, Room Mate and other boutique locales competing for tourists’ dollars.

We see Tripping.com as a hub for unique accommodations and Flipkey with quick, easy and often economical option for families, among other niche platforms shared in the report – all places hotel chain operators should be watching closely for trends.

The reasons why alternative options have been so successful disrupting the category are myriad, supported in no small part by the changing demographic craving these accommodations.

New Traveler Demographic

The new gold standard for today’s travelers goes beyond destination. They crave experiences above all else and that means they’re looking for unique, personalized visits to niche areas they can Instagram stories about. This is a double-edged sword.

When done well, Instagram is an incredible marketing tool. Delighting and then harnessing influencers on that wonderfully visual storytelling site can make for viral moments. Disappointing and angering them can also make for viral moments though, so be sure to understand the power of your online options before an interaction heads south.

Places providing these experiences and using social for all its worth are cleaning up. But top destinations one day can fall flat the next, thanks to those fickle consumers mentioned at the outset.

Any hotel’s target demographic experiences a shift as it depends on who has disposable income to travel – and lots more folks have that available these days. The cost of travel has decreased as disposable income levels have increased – and that’s pretty much across the board. So, who is that target audience you’re after then?

Sentiment analysis is key to segmenting those personas, but artificial intelligence is the lock that most hotel chains aren’t cracking – the place where actionable ‘ahead of the game’ insight is hidden away.

And all chain operators, as well as marketers in general, must stay alert when sorting out AI options as well, as all services are not created equal. If your data isn’t accurate, it’s not worth much, as you’ll be acting on bad info and potentially driving visitors away.

Deciding Where to Stay

So where, ultimately, are travelers staying in Europe then? Are the large chains faring better than the boutiques, or has the market flipped? And how do travelers decide?

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) have traditionally helped hotels attract these new segments, but have fallen out of favor of late due to high commissions and savvy consumers sorting out the best deals on their own.

The report highlights the social sentiment around 21 top EMEA Hotel Chains, and ways they’ve successfully cornered niche areas with a focus on safety, personalization and ‘in the moment’ indicators, powered by artificial intelligence-powered customer service integrations. The top stops for travelers share a few telling characteristics:

  • They understand and appreciate social media
  • They have active and robust social profiles
  • They respond to customer inquiries in a timely manner

There’s more to it beyond what you see here, of course – but you’ll find that out once you read the report, or after you contact us for a demo to show you how to capture this market. It’s really just a few clicks away.