1.\u00a0Google to expand in the travel space\r\n\r\nImagine a potential guest searches for a hotel\u2019s name along with the city on Google, but local\u00a0competitors\u2019 real-time room prices pop up, with a choice to book on the OTA or their website,\u00a0while the aforementioned organic search results are pushed down. This is just a glimpse of\u00a0what Google Price Ads can do to hotelier\u2019s businesses.\r\n\r\nGoogle is slated to launch other advertising products for hotels in 2015 that will ensure the\u00a0online travel booker never leaves the Google experience. Data indicates the rising popularity\u00a0of Google\u2019s travel and hotel offerings. As per Skift, 22bn hotel searches are performed\u00a0on Google per month. Google Hotel Ads get the best conversion rate according to WIHP\u00a0and approximately 10-20% of all online-booked occupancy is driven by Google properties,\u00a0including Search and Hotel PriceAds, as per Koddi.\r\n\r\nWhat can hotels do?\r\n\r\n\tStart by creating a presence on all tertiary Google channels like Google+, Google Places,\u00a0Google Maps and Google Wallet, as this will impact search results.\r\n\tPut aside a budget in the annual plan to set up an account on Google Hotel Finder and\u00a0participate in Hotel Price Ads to increase direct bookings.\r\n\r\n2. The\u00a0anticipated\u00a0launch of Amazon Travel\r\n\r\nWith the news that Amazon is expanding the capabilities of Amazon Local - the deal oriented\u00a0site into an OTA model, it will open up a lot of opportunities for small and boutique hotels. To\u00a0begin with, there is a lot of buzz around the launch of Amazon Travel in 2015 and how it will\u00a0use TripAdvisor ratings to select hotels around NY, LA and Seattle. Their next target market\u00a0could well be the UK.\r\n\r\nIf the retail giant gets aggressive in starting a commission war by offering low initial rates, it\u00a0could give hotels another strong channel for distribution. There is also a possibility of Amazon\u00a0tapping into its huge database and cross-selling, to offer new ways of advertising to hotels.\r\n\r\nWhat can hotels do?\r\n\r\n\tBuild a presence on Amazon Local by offering discounted rates during low occupancy\u00a0months, as it might be the starting point to get mileage on Amazon Travel.\r\n\tIf hotels do not have a TripAdvisor listing yet, get one today and set an aggressive plan to\u00a0invite guest reviews.\r\n\r\n3. Review media sites to play a larger role\r\n\r\nWhile TripConnect cost-per-click dominated the industry in 2014, TripConnect Instant\u00a0Booking with its pay-per-booking model will be the focus in 2015. It will allow travelers to\u00a0book on TripAdvisor itself without leaving the experience. What works in hoteliers\u2019 favour is\u00a0that unlike TripConnect CPC, where they would pay for every click, regardless of travellers\u00a0booking their hotel or not; in Instant Booking, they will pay only when travelers complete the\u00a0booking.\r\n\r\nWhat can hotels do?\r\n\r\n\tIndependent hotels should definitely participate in Instant Booking to save on costs, as\u00a0they will pay only when they get a confirmed booking. They may wish to want to run both the\u00a0campaigns (cost-per-click and pay-per-booking) simultaneously and see which works better,\u00a0before deciding to go for one.\r\n\tKeep an open eye for any new offerings from other review media sites, which could follow\u00a0suit.\r\n\r\n4. Mobile\u00a0will reshape hotel\u00a0marketing\r\n\r\nIt will become difficult for hotels to ignore the mobile medium, if they want to be a part of the\u00a0larger customer mindshare. Data from 2014 indicated a rising preference for mobile and it will continue to grow in 2015, with many hotels indicating investment in mobile POS software, as\u00a0per a study by Hospitality Technology. The factors leading to the rise of mobile include:\r\n\r\n\tMillenials \u2013 90% of millennials own a smartphone and 66% percent of them use mobile\u00a0search, to shop and buy travel on mobile, excluding OTAs. (Source: PhoCusWright)\r\n\tLast Minute Bookings - More than 60% of mobile hotel bookings happen within 24 hours of a\u00a0stay. (Soure: Orbitz & Travelocity)\r\n\tEmails Viewed on Mobile - 66% of emails were opened on a smartphone or tablet. (Source:Movable Ink)\r\n\tSocial Media on Mobile \u2013 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their\u00a0phone. (Source: Pew Internet Spring Tracking Survey)\u00a0What can hotels do?\r\n\tIt is important that in 2015, more than ever, hotels integrate mobile strategy into everything\u00a0they do.\r\n\tAdopt a SoLoMo strategy. Have a responsive website and integrate a mobile compatible\u00a0booking engine on their site, to allow check-ins via smart devices.\r\n\tEvaluate software that offers services, such as point of sale and payment processing via\u00a0mobile devices.\r\n\r\n5. Cloud technology will continue to grow\r\n\r\nLast year saw many mergers and acquisitions in the hospitality cloud technology space.\u00a0It also witnessed many legacy players venturing into cloud. With cloud-based solutions\u00a0integrating better with other cloud solutions, 2015 will be the year where many smaller hotels\u00a0will find it necessary to move to cloud technology \u2013 be it for revenue management, property\u00a0management or guest feedback.\r\n\r\nAs per Hospitality Technology\u2019s 2015 Lodging Technology Study, 15% hoteliers are\u00a0considering investing in cloud-based property management and point-of-sale systems in the\u00a0coming 18 months.\r\n\r\nWhat can hotels do?\r\n\r\n\tFactor in requirements, marketing strategy and budgets to make cloud technology a part of\u00a0the wider 2015 plan.\r\n\tCalculate the ROI involved with cloud technology and choose a solution that offers business\u00a0breadth and depth. This 2015 will belong to the hotels that are agile to accept technological\u00a0changes.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAditya Sanghi is the co-founder and CEO of hotelogix.com, a property management system which\u00a0uses cloud technology.