Amadeus is calling its deal to bring Marriott International on to its Central Reservation System "a landmark milestone" for the technology and distribution company.
The Spain-based distribution giant announced Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) as the launch partner for the technology back in 2015 and hoped to bring on similar enterprise level companies as well as mid-sized players to create a community platform in the ensuing years.
Amadeus says the deal with Marriott builds on top of the work with IHG and is an "endorsement of the strategy" to offer a platform that brings together the property management system, central reservations and other elements, in one place
Peter Waters, executive vice president hotel IT solutions, says it has taken this long to get another player of this magnitude on board because of the scale of the undertaking.
"These are very large enterprise customers and it was a very large investment from Amadeus to bring this new gen platform, which we built from scratch on the newest technology, cloud native. It shows the commitment we have to this industry segment. We did not want to have a me too product, we wanted to do a transformation step."
It was only at the beginning of 2019 that IHG moved into the second phase of implementing its Guest Reservation System and began piloting attribute pricing, a feature of the platform which enables hotels to package up rates and services and drive personalization.
Waters says the attribute technology should help hotels capitalize on the current direct booking trend.
"You flatten the inventory to an attribute level so you no longer sell a room but construct a product with a bed, view, breakfast, gym access, end of corridor, with wifi, and package that and distribute it. We've got new channel distribution and channel management components so you can differentiate what offer goes through which channel and that allows you to discriminate which products, at which price, to which guests, you sell through which channels."
He adds that the pandemic has focused large hotel groups on a choice between continuing to develop and support existing, often legacy, systems with the investment, as well as fixed cost that goes alongside that or, a cloud-based system on a "variable cost model and transaction-based."
There is now more movement from larger players who want to "personalize and retail more" according to Waters.
Marriott properties should be able to reap the benefits of the technology at a quick rate because much of the development has already been done.
No timescale for implementation has been announced with Waters saying it would depend on Marriott.
"It's large-scale IT transformation for them and will be determined by their own ability to drive change in their organization. It's not a quick, off-the-shelf implementation, it's going to take time."
He went on to describe the technology as now in an "acceleration phase" having been rolled out across thousands of properties.
Drew Pinto, global officer for distribution, revenue strategy, engagement centers and global sales at Marriott International, says: "We look forward to working with Amadeus and leveraging its CRS technology that will support our strategic vision to create a robust travel retailing platform for our guests and hotels."
Accor announced a deal with Sabre to develop a property management and reservations platform in January 2020 only for the project to be put on hold when the pandemic hit.
At the time, Sean Menke, president and CEO at Sabre, said: “Once developed, this offering will power a new generation of retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that will enable hotels to drive revenue growth beyond traditional sources and offer unique personalized services to their guests around the world.”
Earlier this year, Sebastien Bazin, CEO, Accor said the company had not "reengaged" with Sabre on the project because of market volatility.