You might have noticed the announcement about the hotel industry that Amadeus made on January 17th: our partnership with HRS. Part of the Amadeus hotel multisource strategy to reach the elusive “long tail” in the notoriously fragmented hotel industry, HRS is the latest key brand to join the fast-growing club of new Amadeus hotel partners (which already includes Transhotel and Destinations of the World), adding many thousands of new hotels to the GDS.
Many argue we are bringing a major change to the travel and hotel industries. We would argue it is a simple matter of responding to the daily challenges our customers face; meeting their needs and achieving our mission of helping them be as efficient as they can be, while providing the best possible hotel system, service and care to their travellers.
To give an example, let’s look at the US. Here, the hotel industry is dominated by the major hotel chains typically at the core of GDS hotel content, representing 80% of all hotel bookings made. In the rest of the world, we see a very different picture with roughly 70% of bookings made through smaller, independent hotels. Today, this means that many of our global travel agencies typically need to consult 2 to 5 hotel portals to ensure they find the right hotel for their travellers. The result: a time-consuming, highly inefficient, fragmented hotel booking process.
This no longer needs to be the case. Through Amadeus’ agreement with HRS, travel agents worldwide will be able to book both large and small hotels. US, UK, Spain, Italy, worldwide, big or not so big, you name it. This is ensured through the addition of HRS’ 250,000 hotel properties, including more than 50,000 hotel properties which were previously distributed exclusively through HRS hotel system.
So what does this mean for our customers?
It means vast improvements across the 3 critical dimensions of hotel inventory: more breadth (through 250,000 hotels), more depth (through rate guarantees, flexible booking conditions, promotion rates), and better quality or – as we like to call it “shoppability” (high quality descriptions in 32 languages and much more).
Better, faster customer service: From the top four or five stars global brands to small family-run independent hotels, the new HRS partnership means all types of hotels – including those previously not bookable through the GDS – can now be easily and efficiently accessed via a single interface. The full integrated, seamless “real time” nature of the GDS means that bookings can be made faster, satisfying travel agents and customers alike.
Major cost savings and control over travel cost. For travel agencies, process costs will be reduced by about 50%, with the savings for every single booking averaging at €1.49. Multiplied by ten, a hundred, a thousand, and it’s clear to see how big these savings will become. For corporate travel managers it means all travellers are truly on a single corporate policy-driven hotel system for their entire travel planning (and happy to use it as they do indeed find the right hotel for them).
Better customer care: Remember the “Icelandic ash cloud”? As we all discovered, fragmented hotel systems and bookings made across different hotel portals means we are unable to provide optimal care of company employees when problems do arise. By ensuring all hotels can be found within Amadeus’ fully integrated hotel system, any travel agent is able retrieve the hotel booking via Amadeus hotel applications at any time for trip changes or to organise emergency assistance.
To summarise, it’s all about integration: taking away artificial barriers to increase efficiency and traveller satisfaction. Goodbye world of “GDS” and “non GDS” hotel content. Hello, leveraging the highly efficient GDS processes to the full inventory of hotels you and your travellers need.
When will all this happen? From April 2012, HRS will be on Amadeus e-Travel Management, meaning it will be integrated in the self-booking tool used by some 5,200 corporations worldwide. At the same time, HRS content will also be integrated on Amadeus Hotel Plus’ graphical user interface, used at 91,000 travel agencies worldwide. In the second half of 2012, HRS’s 50,000 unique hotels will be available on Amadeus Cryptic or Command Mode.
Small hotels, big hotels everywhere in the world, will be available through the GDS thanks to the HRS and Amadeus partnership. Booking processes will be optimised. Money will be saved. Customers will receive better service. That’s our objective!