Hotels Regain Ground from OTAs
 
According to data from Phocuswright, hospitality’s online supplier-direct channel is outpacing OTA bookings. For the past several years, the opposite has been the case. “We’re focused on driving direct relationships and direct business,” says Christopher Nassetta, CEO of Hilton. “If you look at web-direct channels, they remain the fastest-growing channels we have and are growing at a much faster rate than OTA channels.”
 
This digital, direct strategy is more in keeping with the contemporary customer journey, in which the search for a place to stay and the booking occur on a single smartphone session, so it should lead to continued success.
 
Taxes on Credit Card Bonuses?
 
Credit card companies that issue bonuses for referring friends and family are sending 1099 tax forms to customers who’ve received such bonuses. The forms known as 1099s are used to report various types of nonwage earnings, including miscellaneous income. In general, if a business pays you at least $600, it must report the payments to you—and to the Internal Revenue Service—using Form 1099. While large amounts of cash are, naturally, a good way to engage customers and drive loyalty, unannounced tax paperwork is bound to negatively impact customer trust.
 
Loblaws Ups Its Digital Game
 
To stave off competition from Amazon, the Canadian grocery retailer Loblaws is upgrading its digital experiences and loyalty program. “It’s in anticipation of Amazon building something [in grocery retail],” says Amar Singh, Senior Analyst at Kantar Consulting. “It’s trying to build a strong omnichannel presence, and they want to have a consolidated platform to grow loyalty with the PC Insiders program.”
 
Brands are finding, increasingly, that they need to reach customers “where they are.” Expanding further into the digital realm, where convenience is king, is always prudent. It will be interesting to see to what extent the company is able to prevent its customers from defecting to Amazon.
 
Rakuten Chooses NEC and Netcracker for New Mobile Network
 
NEC Corporation and Netcracker Technology have announced that Rakuten, the Japanese internet and e-commerce company, has selected Netcracker’s next-generation digital business and operations solutions to enable a disruptive go-to-market strategy with its mobile network launch. Rakuten will leverage Netcracker’s end-to-end digital BSS solution to deliver digital experiences across its communications channels.
 
“Rakuten’s focus on digital-first enablement will allow the company to have stronger, more personalized customer relationships, enable it to attract a greater share of the Japanese market and enhance the power of the Rakuten brand and its additional services,” says Atsuo Kawamura Executive Vice President, President of Network Services Business Unit at NEC.
 
We’re seeing a lot of companies opt for next-gen technology to better their personalization efforts. This should strengthen engagement with Rakuten.
 

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