Attribute-based selling is a concept that has generated buzz
in hospitality circles in recent years, and now Amadeus is implementing this
strategy as part of its new guest reservation system being adopted by IHG.
Iain Saxton, Amadeus senior vice president of product management for CRS
and PMS, says IHG has been testing the system for some of its
properties using a single attribute – bed type – and it is “going really well
and actually helping with conversions.”
There is a belief this may actually start converting more people to direct bookings if the OTAs don’t offer the same flexibility you can get on the brand website.
Iain Saxton - Amadeus
In an attribute-based model, the concept of room types are eliminated;
instead consumers select from a list of attributes – for example a king bed with
a sea view on a high floor – to create a room that meets their needs. Each
attribute adds an incremental price to the base room rate.
“Hoteliers still fundamentally want to drive revenue out of
room features, but they want to allow guests to take those features that are important
to them,” Saxton says.
are allowing you to personalize. You can go to Nike and actually say you want
the flash on the side, what color cotton you want the seam sewn in, and you can
get a one-off pair of sneakers. Hoteliers are looking to do the same thing.”
Consumers’ appetite for personalization coupled with
advancements in technology now make this type of hotel shopping possible.
Whereas computers - and distribution systems - once forced
hotels to create and sell in room types, now, “we don’t have to store things in
buckets and counters. The computer can understand dependencies from all of
these different combinations, so for every single room in the hotel, you could
make a unique, sellable combination if you want to,” Saxton says.
The functions of internal systems will need to shift, he
says, with central reservation systems taking over control of inventory
from property management systems.
Shifting the balance of power
Attribute-based selling may also sway the balance of power
between hotels and online travel agencies by giving brands a way to differentiate
their direct booking experience from what is offered by OTAs.
“There is a belief this may actually start converting more
people to direct bookings if the OTAs don’t offer the same flexibility you can
get on the brand website,” Saxton says.
“But I think it won’t be long before the OTAs realize they have to
adapt, because they don’t want to lose that battle.”
Subscribe to our newsletter below
Saxton says Amadeus has heard from several other hoteliers
that are interested in exploring attribute-based selling. For now, the company is continuing
to build out the product with IHG, which, according to Amadeus, currently has more than 1,000 properties
live in the new guest reservation system and plans to have all of its
properties migrated by early 2019. At press time, IHG had not returned request for comment.
As more properties and additional attributes are offered
through IHG, Saxton says Amadeus will start to figure out the optimal
configuration: offering relevant options to guests, but not so many that
the booking process becomes too complicated.
“Saying there’s a refrigerator or kitchen in the room could
be driven by an attribute, but if you start giving the consumer so many choices, there is a resistance point in the sale, and it’s just not going to work,” he says.
"But I think we will find this will resonate and change the
industry. It’s probably a five-year journey, though.”