BOSTON, MA, 17 May 2017: TripCraft, a hotel industry provider of mobile solutions, launched a new hotel booking app and website, Vir.al, this week, that targets Millennial travellers.
The market is identified as one of the fastest growing travel demographics, estimated to reach 320 million international trips annually by 2020.
Using experience-based, destination-specific content, Vir.al enables users to create custom travel experiences, rather than just book a hotel room.
Currently, Vir.al can be used to plan travel experiences in just eight popular destinations in the United States – New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Austin and New Orleans – but more domestic and international destinations will be added soon.
In addition, Vir.al offers a clever social influencer engine with benefits for both hotels and guests. Hotels can use the Vir.al management console to identify socially active potential guests and encourage them to book with their property.
Socially active Millennials are much higher value customers to hotels because they are more likely to review/recommend a property online (which can increase a property’s bookings and revenues over time) and because Millennials tend to travel for longer periods of time and, as a result, they often “spend up to two thirds more during their trips”.
Unlike previous generations, 72% of Millennials choose to prioritize experiences over luxury and material goods. This preference is the basis of the emerging Experience Economy, in which “businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers, and that memory itself becomes the product.”
Vir.al makes it possible for hotels to leverage this shift in consumer preference by creating experiences that increase bookings and revenues earned from this valuable travel demographic, which is expected to “represent the number one consumer segment in the U.S. hotel industry by 2018, if not 2017.”
Today, hotels are also losing a significant share of the market, especially with Millennial travellers, who appreciate the value that the sharing economy can offer.
NYC-area hotels lost more than 2.9 million room nights to Airbnb (totalling more than USD450 million of revenue) in one year alone” (between September 2014 – August 2015) and project that the annual loss will have almost doubled (to more than USD800 million) by 2018.
Vir.al helps hotels take back their market share from alternative accommodation providers by offering Millennial travellers complete travel experiences, better prices and a large amount of user-generated content.
“Vir.al was designed to be a partner for hotels – not a competitor,” said Mike Murray, founder of TripCraft and Vir.al. “It gives hotels the ability to find and incentivise bookings from high value customers without relying on discounting or other race-to-the-bottom pricing strategies (as most OTAs do), making it possible to increase occupancy without sacrificing ADR or RevPAR.”
FutureCast’s Millennial Brief on Travel & Lodging (2016) shared other stats that emphasise the value of socially active Millennials as a target audience for hotels – and the inherent value of Vir.al as a booking channel to appeal to this market:
- “…Millennials are the most active travelers online with 97% of Millennials using social media while traveling and 75% posting to social networks at least once per day.”
- “86% of Millennial travelers were inspired to book a trip based on content they viewed online.”
- “Millennials check an average of 10 sources before making travel purchases to make sure they pay as little as possible.”
- “User-generated content has proven to extend a user’s time on a site up to nearly seven minutes for major travel brands.”
- “A great experience is 3X more popular than getting a bargain price.
(To find out more about Vir.al, visit http://vir.al/ )