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Hotel Booking Sites / Amazon Travel / HotelWatchdog / Hotel Websites / Hotel Booking Tips / Hotel News / → All Tags
You use already use Amazon.com to do everything you need from buying books, diapers and shoes to streaming TV shows and movies so it makes sense that the e-tailer will start allowing you to book hotels through them. But this won't be just another massive web hotel deals aggregator.
According to Skift's exclusive report about the forthcoming Amazon Travel service, hotel options will be curated and independent hotels. Here's how it will work from the hotel side:
Properties would load their room types, availability, pricing information, and photos into an Amazon extranet and would pay a standard 15% commission to Amazon for the prepaid bookings, the hoteliers at the independent properties said.
The properties would get notified by Amazon via email of bookings, hoteliers said, and they would update calendars on the extranet.
The hotels would generally list their properties at rack rates, but would be free to discount, one hotelier said.
Hoteliers would receive their payments from Amazon for the stays in two installments and could obviously attempt to negotiate a lower commission than the standard 15%.
Did you catch that part? Pre-paid bookings. But if the discounts are good and more importantly, the hotels are hand-selected, rather than being just hundreds of big hotel brands, this could be very attractive when searching for a reasonably-priced hotel that still has some personality.
Skift reports that Amazon Travel will start around January 1 in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle with other cities to roll out soon.
Virgin Hotels / Hotel News / Sir Richard Branson / Chicago Hotels / Hotel Hype / Hotel Websites / → All Tags
Earlier tonight, Virgin Hotels, at long last, unveiled their new website with actual information, not just rumors, about their hotels. Even better, reservations are now open for the Virgin Chicago starting on January 15. Rates for a “Chamber King” start at $209 a night.
We're still undressing the Virgin Hotels site but here are the pertinent details. Before we go any further, we strongly suggest you watch the video above to get a clear sense of what the hotel has to offer and how they plan on doing it.
Joie de Vivre Hotels is the latest hotel brand to debut a new, friendlier website that goes way beyond looking at room photos and making a reservation.
Instead of being a cold-hearted point of transaction, JDV's new site wants to take you on a "joy ride" with their "Explore" tool which seeks to match up an ideal hotel for you based on where you want to go and what your interests are. (This is pretty much Yvette, JDV's friendly matchmaker, for the millennial generation.)
Speaking of millennials, the site has "enriched social integrations", meaning Instagram feeds show up, and there's even a new Joy Ride" travel blog, chronicling all aspects of life in cities where JDV hotels can be found.
The design, done by NYC-based digital advertising and marketing agency, Sideways, is top-notch and the site is also "optimized for all devices," meaning it's easy to read from your phone and tablet. But it's not exactly the high-stakes adventure you think of when you hear the words "joy ride." That said, the photos are big and pretty so you can see up close what's in a room. And that's still the most important function we want from a hotel's website.
Kimpton Hotels / Hotel Websites / Hotel Loyalty Programs / Hotel News / Loyalty Program News / → All Tags
Kimpton Hotels has been dropping hints via email to its InTouch members for a little while now about upcoming changes to their loyalty program and today, the bomb has been dropped. But instead of an explosion, the change is setting off random acts of Kimpton kindness.
The InTouch loyalty program will now go by the name KIMPTON KARMA REWARDS. Oh, Kimpton!
First off, let us reassure you that you will still get free WiFi and a $10 minibar credit during every stay, just by being a member of InT...er, Karma Rewards. However, what is changing is how you can earn points and the ways extend far beyond just booking a room and dining at a Kimpton restaurant.
Now that Thompson Hotels has officially shed some of its older properties, the lifestyle hotel brand has a sexy new website that shows off the allure of their properties (design! art! models!) alongside more practical information like special offers, events and ways to interact with the hotels on social media.
The website work was actually done by Noise, a NYC-based creative agency whose biggest strengths are self-described as "engaging young people," "social content creation" and "disruptive ideas." In a world where bland hotel websites are a dime a dozen, these sound like just the people you want to come in and shake things up. Not to mention if you're a hotelier and you want to target the up and coming millennial crowd, Noise probably can help you with that.
Since we're always looking for examples of great hotel websites and also, how hotels can improve their websites, we asked the folks at Noise to come up with their 10 Commandments for Building Hotel Websites. We think these expert tips could apply to anyone building a website but Noise has a special few steps just for hotels. You're welcome.
Earlier this month, we finally got our hands on a first guestroom image at the upcoming Peninsula Paris, having walked down Avenue Kléber many a time to see how the hotel was coming along from the outside.
The August 1 opening is still a little while away, but it looks like Peninsula is treating us to a whole range of additional imagery to pore over with the release of its new website. A video shows glimpses of craftsmen working on the restoration of the Beaux Arts building and shots of what the finished product will look like, including the glamorous – and almost spare – entrance lobby above.
The chandelier is a hand-blown Lasvit made of crystal ‘leaves’, referencing the trees lining the Avenue outside. We’re intrigued by the artwork underneath (it’s a stone installation from Bhutan), which looks to have a reflecting surface. From renderings of the restaurants and suites to rooftop views in the video, we patiently collected a few more impressions for you below.
sbe / Hotel Websites / SLS Hotels / Hotel News / Sam Nazarian / sbe hotels / → All Tags
sbe, the nightlife and hospitality company behind SLS Hotels, has given their website a complete makeover, at last consolidating all their entertainment and hotel sites together in one spot, and throwing in some bonus blog content too.
Looking a lot like the recent redo of the Raleigh Hotel website, the new sbe site is heavy on the visuals but is still easy to navigate, thanks to helpful pop-up boxes. It's also blessedly free of annoying music.
The home page is anchored by a giant photo (a male model fully clothed in a pool and biting on a stiletto heel) with a "Learn More" button hyping the arrival of the SLS Las Vegas on Labor Day Weekend. Below that is a grid of photos and quotes. When you linger over one of the squares, a pop-up box tells you what that particular photo or quote is about. If you'd rather not bother with this grid, send your cursor to the left side of the page for a more traditional website menu.
Scrolling down the website, you'll see ways to find/follow the sbe collection on social media, as well as learn more about the company, and our personal favorite, check the calendar to see what events are happening at what venues. The site, of course, has been "device optimized" meaning it works just as seamlessly on a mobile and table device as it does on your computer.
The best thing a hotel could do for its website is to make everything easy. Easy to book. Easy to look up hotel photos and information. Easy to view on a mobile device. The new website for South Beach’s Raleigh Hotelgets all these right.
The Miami hotel opened in 1942, and with the help of old Hollywood starlets like Esther Williams, it became one of the hotels that encapsulated the South Beach allure we know today. Fast foward 60 years later to 2012, when hip hotelier Sam Nazarian of sbe bought the historic hotel for $55 million (previously, Andre Balazs had managed The Raleigh.)
Since then, the Raleigh has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation. And, though the hotel and website have undergone some major changes, neither has lost any of its vintage glamour or charm.
Today, Best Western International officially began a partnership with Google to put together virtual tours of all 2,200 of its properties. The plan is to have Google professionally photograph the entire hotel, then string them together to create a "walk-through" experience on the hotel's website.
“Best Western’s leadership and owners acted strongly and decisively on two superior market insights: consumer decision making in the hospitality category is increasingly moving online, and the internet is becoming more of a visually-driven medium,” said Best Western’s Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales.
While there's no question Dowling is correct in her assessment on a general level when it comes to the Internet, we're still wondering how consumers feel about hotel websites. When we talked about them this summer, photos were definitely something potential customers enjoyed looking at, but experienced hotel-goers also noted how misleading "professional" photos can sometimes be, showing the hotel at its absolute best and not necessarily how it looks day-to-day.
Hotel News / Hotel WiFi / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Hotel Websites / Mandarin Oriental Profiles / → All Tags
While Mandarin Oriental Hotels have an impressive collection of hotels that never fail to dazzle, we've always been a bit annoyed by their WiFi charges, especially since their rooms don't come cheap. For example, at the Mandarin Oriental Paris, rooms cost over $1,000 USD but the hotel also charges another $20 for WiFi. Mon dieu! However, that will now change.
Mandarin Oriental has announced that they will give its guests complimentary internet access to those guests who create an online profile and book published rates through the hotel's own website. A-ha, we see what you've done here.
You can create your Mandarin Oriental online profile here. It's free to do but it does require you filling out some personal information like your name, address and gender. This will no doubt means you will be receiving some marketing mail, both paper and electronic, from Mandarin Oriental.
However, Mandarin Oriental does stress that they will offer you the best rate on their site. And if you find a better rate, Mandarin Oriental will not only match the rate, but they will offer you a further 10 percent reduction. And once you make your reservation through Mandarin Oriental, you'll get free internet access for up to six personal devices.
That's pretty rad. We hate having to jump through this online profile hoop but it does seem like it will pay off during our next stay. Now, if only we can scrounge up a $1,000 for the Mandarin Oriental Paris.
[Photo of Mandarin Oriental Paris: JasonD/HotelChatter]
Some uplifting news for Morgans Hotel Group today. The boutique hotel collection has recently launched a spiffy website that promises a "seamless booking process that takes the guest through the reservation process in less than four clicks".
In addition to the super-fast reservation system that will get you into the sleek Delano, Mondrian and other hot spots, guests can view hotels by brand or location and compare rates and availability at properties within the same city all on one screen.
The site, which comes behind the company's "Back of House" online lifestyle magazine, will also help guests navigate their way around their chosen destination. This comes by way of a Google Map feature which has interactive guides to attractions, museums, restaurants, nightlife destinations and shops and provide step-by-step directions to and from the hotel. The list will detail key local landmarks and hidden gems hand-selected by the hotels' expert concierges.
In addition, guests can instantly post travel plans on their social media platforms using the Morgans Hotel Group's Instagram feed or their own generated photos.
The site works across all platforms including desktops, tablets and mobile devices.
Created with rehabstudio, the Ace digital overhaul visually bumped up the individual sites yet retained that distinctive
hipster Ace style. Previously, the home page for each Ace Hotel was a smallish sort of box with various links and a small booking calendar.
Now, the sites have been zoomed in, so to speak, with larger text, larger photos and a larger calendar. Also, the sites feature a continuous scroll so you can just keep scrolling down for more info whether it be about the rooms, the public spaces or the amenities. That's pretty optimal for viewing on mobile devices and tablets as well.