Industry News – April 2012

We present you with some of the most important developments in the industry this month:

Is TripAdvisor Site Tingo A Wake-up Call for Bad Revenue Management in Hotels?

Tingo is a new travel booking site whose claim to fame is that it will refund the difference to users if prices drop between the time a reservation is made and the trip is taken. A guest post on Tnooz observes that Tingo “feeds directly off our industries [sic] worst revenue management habits.” We at Evision also observe that Tingo is a recent example of a long-string of new OTA and affiliate travel sites, with the effect of diluting the travel industry and travel research process for consumers. Altogether, this trend is a growing headache for hotel property owners.

The 2012 HotelChatter Hotel WiFi Report has released its latest WiFi report. Since its first report in 2004, it has seen WiFi become nearly universal. Unfortunately, some problems persist:

Alas, the problems that we had eight years ago, remain today. It’s not always free and it’s not always reliable. New problems have popped up too. Guests are getting dinged with internet charges per device (cellphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) because hotel WiFi networks are too antiquated to handle multiple devices per room.

If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move

File this one under “you heard it here first”. The next evolution of marketing analytics? Geo-tracking via smart devices.

Location services company Navizon has a new system, called Navizon I.T.S., that could allow tracking of visitors in malls, museums, offices, factories, secured areas and just about any other indoor space. It could be used to examine patterns of foot traffic in retail spaces, assure that a museum is empty of visitors at closing time, or even to pinpoint the location of any individual registered with the system.

Cool and scary in equal measure: As marketers, we immediately recognize the value of this kind of data. But as travelers, we fully appreciate that this kind of tracking has enormous privacy issues that must be addressed — and unless it gains consumer acceptance, we imagine early adopting properties will risk facing some backlash from consumers being tracked. But we also imagine commonplace deployment of this kind of tracking — and its enormously valuable marketing data — is virtually inevitable at some point.

Writing Fake Online Reviews? New Google Algorithm Will Catch You Out

Right on the heels of our two-part series on how hotels can use online reviews comes a report that Google is developing a system for detecting fake reviews.

[The study] “Spotting Fake Reviewer Groups in Consumer Reviews” focuses on the algorithm, GSRank which can consider relationships amongst groups, individual reviewers and products reviewed.

The software algorithm can detect review threads that are trying to get control of sentiment and label the ’spamicity’ of the group in order that the group can be ranked and dealt with accordingly.

GSRank significantly outperformed the other algorithms in use, showing that spam reviewers can and will be caught.