HB ON THE SCENE: LodgeNet Tech Symposium Details Booking Trends

CHICAGO—LodgeNet’s fourth annual Customer Technology Symposium is under way at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare here yesterday with executives from leading technology companies addressing the latest trends among business travelers.

The session featured Rob Torres of Google, Frank Petito, Orbitz for Business; and Joff Romoff of Concur Technologies. Torres was asked specifically about the company’s new Hotel Finder platform and if that has Google looking to enter the Online Travel Agency (OTA) space, an idea he refuted. “We’re not, we’re still focused on the researching phase. It’s about getting the consumer information, hopefully at a quicker rate. If you talk to anyone on the tech side, it’s about improving results for the user,” he said.

The panel further discussed booking trends as they relate to the types of devices guests are using. “Research behaviors are changing over time. The two biggest areas is use of video and mobile. We’ve seen a huge rise in mobile as a tool for searching,” said Torres.

Romoff noted that has not resulted in booking necessarily. “There’s a lot of research on the mobile side, but not as much booking. The average of view of trip is 15 times before they book. A lot of organizations don’t have sophisticated booking capabilities for mobile,” he said.

Petito acknowledged there has been a shift among business travelers, but there’s still a ways to go. “Over 90% of people who book for business at Orbitz are doing so online. Mobile devices are still in the early stages,” he said.