Hotel Tech Lab London, Pt.1

Speaker Insight: Julien Touraine, AVAILPRO

Three ways to capture direct bookings, loyalty and the millennial market

After the success of the first edition in Prague in April, Availpro took the Hotel Tech Lab to the UK in May

The second edition staged at The Hoxton, Holborn, in London on May 16 explored the theme of “Fresh Trends in Hospitality”. The event attracted another full house of hoteliers, all eager to draw on the insights of six expert speakers – including Julien Touraine, Availpro’s director of sales and business development


  1. Target the 15-second window

The average time spent on a website is just 15 seconds, according to Tom Haile, CEO of Chartbeat. “In those 15 seconds you need to tell the visitor that this is the right hotel and the right place to book”’ said Touraine at the Hotel Tech Lab. “Convince the customer at first sight.”

A “price check” widget showing that the direct price beats the best price available via OTAs immediately sends this message. Once you’ve got their attention, widgets offering discount codes and/or a calendar displaying the best price per room on any given check-in date are effective tools. Display photographs of your different room options on a single page, and enable users to simply change the check-in date to see the revised price for each room. Engage with visitors, highlighting the number of people who’ve recently chosen to book direct at a better price than OTAs can offer.

And if, after all that, the visitor is leaving your site without booking, recapture their attention with a ‘Leaving so soon?’ message, additional enticing info about your hotel and alternative contact details for reservations.

“Transform your website into a booking machine,” Touraine urged.


  1. Trigger emotions

Meanwhile, a Kalibri Labs study of upper upscale hotels showed that loyal customers spend on average 30% more on their websites. So how do you nurture that loyalty? The key, according to Touraine, is tailoring loyalty schemes to the individual. “The tool of a loyalty programme is not enough, you need to trigger emotions,” he said.

He cited the example of citizenM’s website, where people join its loyalty scheme automatically during the booking process without having to supply any additional information, and “citizens” get a well done message for securing the best rate.

“Differentiation brings loyalty,” he said. “You don’t need big technology to make people feel special. It can be as simple as giving a free breakfast to a returning customer at reception.”


  1. Focus on experience for millennials

As for millennials, 78% spend more on experiences than material things (source: and therefore to grab their attention, experience has to be your focus. “Airbnb speak to millennials about the experience, not their product or prices,” noted Touraine.

As 97% of millennials post on social media (source:, there is an also an opportunity to reward for posting about your hotel on social media through your loyalty programme.


For the full event recap, read here

Stay tuned for more updates from further speakers!