Hotel reservation systems are now like sand on the sea. We’ll show you how to make your business increase capacity utilisation and attract international customers.
According to Jupiter Research, 33% of all hotel bookings in the leisure and corporate sectors in 2009 will be made using electronic booking tools as well as sales and reservation systems. Choosing the right booking system can therefore lead to higher capacity utilization.
Bookable worldwide with GDS
The big player in the field of booking systems is GDS (Global Distribution Systems), a worldwide travel agency reservation system that combines the providers Amadeus, Sabre, Worldspan and Galileo. GDS networks more than 550,000 travel agencies across the globe.
Despite the general decline in travel agency bookings, GDS remains attractive because many Internet portals now use these systems. Expedia, Opodo and Travelocity, for example, use GDS systems as data sources. How is my company involved? The only way for small and medium-sized businesses to become bookable worldwide is to enter into the right cooperation. “An individual hotel needs a sales partner who transports its data efficiently and in real time to the booking systems,” says Bianca Spalteholz, a sales consultant specializing in reservation systems.
Why? The technical and economic effort would be absolutely unacceptable for a company, says Thomas Holzleithner from Lifestylehotels. In order to bring hotel data to the world market, a central reservation system is necessary that must be checked and maintained on a daily basis. The technical effort and the know-how required for maintenance alone cannot be handled by a single company.
The solution: sales partnerships
In order to attract more international guests, the solution must therefore be sales partnership. Since there are more than 50 of them in Germany alone and more than 200 worldwide, here is an overview of the cooperations with which you can take part in the cake.
Pure technology partners
On the one hand, there are the pure technology partners who bring their operations “physically” into the booking systems, so to speak. Such cooperation is usually the most cost-effective. Pure technology partners work with little personnel and carry out almost no sales or marketing activities.
The hotelier only has to pay when a booking is made. Although this brings cost advantages, the sales and marketing performance that is barely achieved is a shortcoming. The fixed costs per year amount to 220 to 1000 Euro for pure technology partners.
In addition there are booking commissions of about 8 to 10 % of the room price. A fee of 3.50 euros, which is incurred for connection to GDS, is often included in this type of cooperation.
Reservation and marketing organizations
If you enter into a cooperation with a reservation or marketing organisation (e.g. lifestyle hotels), you will find a wider range of services than with pure technology partners. In addition to the connection to international booking systems, the range of services offered by reservation and marketing organisations also includes marketing activities such as optimising the Internet presence, press relations or book presence.
The costs for the hotelier are of course correspondingly higher. He has to reckon with annual fixed costs of about 5000 to 8000 Euros, 8% of the room price is charged as a booking commission and with GDS connection there is no 3.50 Euros fee per booking.
The third group – hotel cooperations – already offers an extremely comprehensive service. Hotel cooperatives, for example, have their own call centres and are in direct contact with companies and private customers via travel agencies in addition to sales.
There are voucher programs and theme packages for certain target groups. A further advantage for the hotelier: he can fall back on the sales knowledge of the cooperation. The own hotel name is continued in the external appearance, receives however the name of the co-operation as addition.
The annual fixed costs to be paid by the hotelier amount to 10,000 to 20,000 Euros, plus approx. 5 to 8 % of the room price as booking commission and the usual 3.50 Euros GDS fee.
Hotel chains or franchise groups
If an individual hotel decides to join a franchise group or hotel chain, it must expect to give up its name and often large parts of its identity. He agrees to bear the name of the franchise group (e.g. Mercure) on his roof.
The hotelier must also be aware of the costs, franchisors have a certain accounting system: they demand their fees from the pure net logistics turnover. With a capacity utilisation of 60 %, this is about 2 to 4 % of turnover. The big advantage of such a connection: You have a very strong partner who always stands behind the hotel business.