Spirit of Innovation Award 2011

December 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

HEDNA’s Spirit of Innovation Award Goes to HotelTonight

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, December 7, 2011–HEDNA, the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association, announced HotelTonight as the recipient of its 2011 Spirit of Innovation Award. The presentation was made during HEDNA’s Winter Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

HEDNA’s 2011 Spirit of Innovation award recognizes a key travel innovator that is driving the industry in a new direction. During the “Meet the Innovators” session, the five nominees presented to attendees, who then cast their votes to recognize the best innovation in travel and the hospitality industry.

Just shy of a year old, HotelTonight is a 100 percent mobile service that provides consumers with access to available hotel rooms at special rates for that evening, said Sam Shank, CEO of HotelTonight. Content is optimized for the mobile experience and the site makes it easy to decide on a hotel room in various US locations based on the three to six offerings for that night. HotelTonight’s customers are impulse bookers, said Shank, with 91 percent of customers booking a hotel they’ve never stayed at before. The company partners with hotels and takes commission on any transactions. It expects to expand internationally in the near future.

“We’re extremely honored to receive recognition from an esteemed organization like HEDNA, which is providing real solutions for the travel industry” said Sam Shank, CEO. “With HotelTonight, hotels can offer mobile consumers impulse rates without jeopardizing their revenue or brand management objectives. Consumers win by getting unmatched deals at fantastic hotels.”

In addition to HotelTonight, four other innovators presented to the Winter Conference attendees. They were Adam Goldstein, co-founder and CEO of Hipmunk, Inc.; Gautam Lulla, COO of TravelTripper; Chris Patridge, executive vice president and co-founder of Backbid.com; and Eytan Seidman, co-founder and vice president products of Oyster.com.

“The Spirit of Innovation Award honors the trendsetters who are moving our business forward and providing innovative means to make it easy for consumers to book travel,” said Melanie Ryan Owens, HEDNA president and Vice President with Orbitz Worldwide. “HEDNA would like to thank all the innovators for sharing their visions with us.”


Point counter point session

December 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Standardisation or Non-standardisation of Content

A point to counter point discussion on the age old debate of whether content needs to be structured and standardised or should be non-standardised.

The debate is being moderated by Anne Cole – Wyndham Hotels

Joining her are:

Lionbridge Technologies – Kathleen Bostick

Pegasus Solutions – John Owens

I guess you all know what Pegasus does so no need to describe that. Lionbridge are a language translation services company. Their customers include the major Fortune 500 companies. As Kathleen puts it, “Localisation is Content” and what could be more localised than language.

Janice Diner – Pioneer Facebook Builder

December 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Once again Janice was excellent and once again WAY TOO MUCH for your correspondent to take notes, so I have just listed a few bullet points.

Some numbers about Facebook

  • 100 million likes per day
  • 350 million users
  • 20 million times a day people install fb apps
  • 250 million photos are uploaded a day

Facebook commerce

Travel and shopping are the most social activities we do

Booking engines imbedded within Facebook.com and not moving the user to the brand.com

Facebook platform for mobile

If you are developing apps for Facebook you need to consider mobile as being a major factor

Facebook credit

Zynga sell 38,000 items a day using fb credits

Shop Kick is a product that allows you so that when you check into a place they will add credits to your Facebook credits

Facebook location tab

You can register every bricks and mortar location on Facebook location so that people can check it. It is free to register the locations

Good examples of how this is implemented are Walmart and Starbucks

Facebook likes/open graph beta

Allows 3rd party application to include arbitrary actions and objects. You can now replace the word “like” with another verb and attach it to a noun, bought, want, love, etc. This move to open graphs is helping us move from the wisdom of crowds to the wisdom of friends. So that rather than measure a place by the TripAdvisor general comments, one uses the TripAdvisor comments from your friends. On airbnb.com they estimate that the customer was 85% more likely to book if they had a recommend from a friend.

Consumers what do they want – Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research

December 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

In his presentation Henry identified three factors that he believes are going to define hotel business in 2012


The economies are still in a delicate state and therefore there is a high degree of uncertainty in the upcoming year.


Consumers are brand neutral deal focussed. 7 in 10 guests have no sense of brand loyalty.

When asked they said that in 2012

  • 57% were intending to focus on basic accommodation
  • 45% said that they would let their budget dictate destination
  • 40% are prepared to trade convenience for savings

A typical guest will use more than 24 websites to research their stay.

3 in 10 of guests are using flash sales sites.


Guests have fortified themselves with digital devices and will be increasingly using tablet devices and other equipment. 37% of hotel guests who don’t have a tablet intend to buy one.

Travellers are twice as likely to own a tablet as the regular consumer.

Mobile is the gateway for hotel and ancillary interactions.

Typical iPhone user has 40 travel apps.


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