News + Insights
Interview with the CEO
Read Time (5 mins)
1. How does Journey Hospitality work and who is it for?
We are a hotel ecommerce and technology business with a digital performance studio. Working with high-end hotels and resorts globally, our technology include onejourney®, the world’s first all-in-one ecommerce platform and GiftedTM, the UK’s leading gift voucher platform. Our agency services include website delivery and digital marketing.
2. Who are some of your current clients and what kind of hotels are you looking to attract?
We partner with over 400 luxury hotels from Claridge’s and Beaverbrook to Harbour Hotel Group and Soneva in the Maldives. We work with hotels who want to maximise their direct bookings and improve their commercial performance. Conversion and TRevPar are our specialties.
3. When was your company founded?
I started the business back in 2010 as a digital marketing agency for hospitality businesses. Over the years, we’ve pivoted to pioneer new technology as we’ve seen the need for hotels to transform their direct booking strategy. And in tandem, our team's portfolio of expertise has evolved, and will continue to, as we look to stay ahead of the fluid digital landscape.
4. What is Journey Hospitality’s mission statement?
Our core belief is digital success for hospitality. We partner with aspiring hotels to rethink and reshape their digital strategy, bringing the guest and hotelier even more closely together through technology. We want to make it easier for hoteliers to operate and grow their business.
5. You launched your ecommerce platform - onejourney® - this year, how is it performing?
onejourney® has been immensely successful since its launch in March 2022. It’s an all-in-one ecommerce platform which I like to call ‘the Shopify for hotels.’ onejourney® lets guests shape their own stay by booking rooms, spa, dining and retail products in a single shopping basket. We’ve now got over 100 hotel partners on the platform including the Luxury Family Hotel group, The Londoner, The Elms and some Hilton Doubletree and Intercontinental properties. Typically we’re seeing increased revenues of 40-60%, with approximately 30% of orders featuring multiple products - combinations of hotel room, spa treatment, restaurant booking, plus retail offerings. Partner feedback across the board has been great.
6. What are the benefits of working with Journey Hospitality?
I think ultimately Journey is well trusted by hoteliers because we’ve been in the hospitality industry for 12 years and really pride ourselves in getting to know our hotel partners and understanding their needs. We still have clients that have been with us from the very beginning which is testament to the ROI our team achieves. Client success is our end goal. If the hotel is performing at the top of their game - our job is done.
7. How can hotels improve their booking performance?
There’s two critical things. Firstly, guests want to be unbound by reservation team hours. From our data we see web traffic on hotel websites peak at 8pm. 79% of this traffic is mobile. Optimising your web experience with an intuitive, seamless booking journey that sells all your products and services online 24/7 is a necessity. If your booking solution isn’t optimised guests will go elsewhere - most likely an OTA. And secondly, the trend for unbundling and guest customisation is growing. According to Oracle, 87% of guests are more likely to book hotels with a la carte pricing. It’s time for hotels to give guests the opportunity to personalise their own trip, improve booking performance and in turn increase revenue.
8. What’s the future of bookings?
Sabre have been talking about attribution based selling for a number of years and this is something we’ve looked to solve with our onejourney® product. Shifting the mindsets of hoteliers from sellers of rooms to a wider retail approach is essential. Hoteliers already provide amazing on-site experiences, but the art of hospitality needs to extend deeper into the guest’s digital journey as well as a more holistic approach incorporating all non-room products and services. By better facilitating the booking of all areas of a hotel or resort, hoteliers can monetise areas of their business that are currently undersold. The potential return for guests and hoteliers is huge and an exciting direction for the industry.
9. Have you seen any notable trends in the gift voucher sector? Why is it important for hoteliers to offer gift vouchers?
Hotel experiences remain a much-wanted escape for many people, and gift vouchers allow hoteliers to tap into a growing market. The data from GiftedTM , our gift voucher platform, tells us that digital hotel gift voucher sales are consistently growing. Giving consumers a choice of services and products is key to securing sales - some may want to buy specific activities - such as overnight stay, spa day or Sunday lunch, while others prefer monetary vouchers. We see that the more flexible your catalogue is, the more likely you are to make a sale. If you’re not selling gift vouchers as a hotelier, you’re missing out.
10. What are the biggest challenges facing hoteliers right now?
The obvious problem is staffing and I appreciate it is a real challenge. Bringing bookings online with a high converting booking path is critical for long-term growth - and we’re here to help with that. We build websites for hundreds of hotels and understand the minutiae of CRO. And our onejourney® ecommerce platform is proven to reduce inbound calls. As an example, one hotel partner we work with has 15 members of staff to man phones on-site which is a significant drain on staff time and money. With onejourney®, hotels typically see a 25% decrease in inbound calls.
11. You recently secured £5M growth capital. What are the plans for this investment?
The growth capital will be used to help us realise our vision to become leaders in hotel ecommerce. It’s a really exciting time for us as we plan on scaling the business and enhancing our technology platform to meet digital-first guests’ ever-evolving needs.
12. What are Journey Hospitality’s growth plans for 2023 and beyond?
Recently we’ve gone live with Google Pay and Apple Pay mobile wallets, letting guests complete their bookings in an even more flexible way than before. These types of major dev features have been positively received by guests and hoteliers alike and are already driving mobile bookings and improving conversion. So in 2023 our plan is to scale these types of features, further solving hotelier issues and improving the guest experience at every touchpoint.