“We can work with our booker partners, if they wish to connect through our web services, to define what room standards and room types they want and then we can normalize the data coming from each of the different supplier sources using the codes combined with our parsing engine to cluster each of the room types coming in into the standards that they want...
“From their side, it makes the building against our web services much easier or creating new products themselves tailored to their own specific business models much easier to handle. That's primarily, from our point of view, done through this parsing logic.
“There's always some retouch and manual work but Amadeus is automating most of the work for many elements and attributes of hotel content such as rate types, cancellation policies, etc, etc. …
“So far we're getting a good adoption and very good feedback from our customers building against our technology.
“That’s partly because we are making very, very significant investments into the actual enterprise systems that run hotels and hotel chains.
“We see a number of the very large hotel groups and medium-sized hotel chains today sitting on, like I said, very old technology, which doesn't support the modern personalization features, the ability to unbundle the product and distribute different products through different channels, and discriminate which product goes through the different channels out there in the industry.
“We're working on very significant investments to provide next-generation central reservation systems or property systems.
“We think a number of hotel groups will need to upgrade to new technology to operate and provide a lot of new merchandising and personalization features in the industry.
“As well as doing it from a distribution angle, Amadeus is trying to tackle a very similar problem from an IT angle, and we think the combination of the two is very powerful, and will allow us to move the industry forward, and for us to provide a lot of benefits into the buyers and sellers by providing that service to them.
“To help with de-duping records in our database, we work with GIATA who is a technology partner of ours, to make sure that we, what we call, de-dupe and create the same coding standard for an individual address or accommodation, irrespective of the channel it comes from so that we don't present the same hotel multiple times in our display.
“We then blend in the rates, the availabilities, the descriptions and the information sets coming from the different suppliers, but associate it to that individual property.
“It sounds like a trivial thing to do, but even that had no standards, and we've had to work very hard with our partners to actually create a single property identification code across all of Amadeus databases so that we don't, as I said, present the same hotel twice not realizing it's the same physical building.
“Amadeus has now succeeded in having an individual property code for each property in all of its databases.
“Thanks to the GIATA code-matching, we can say in our displays, “For this room in this hotel, the same room will be priced on rate one, direct from the hotel, rate two, from alternative supplier one, and rate three from alternative supplier two.”
“Then we can say, "From the professional booker point of view, the rewards you will receive will be X commission from the hotel, or Y commission or mark-up from alternative channel one, or Z commission or mark-up from alternative supplier two."
“In that way, we've got what we call a margin manager functionality, so that the professional agencies can see what's the best choice of channel to book that hotel from a customer servicing point of view, and to provide the best rate to the client, but also from a professional agency point of view what generates the most reward for them.
“Again, in that way we think we're giving more choice to the agencies on what they can sell and how they service, and more rewards for giving the ability for them to optimize the lowest price to their customers, and/or the highest reward to themselves, as applicable for the type of sale that they're in.
“Whenever we acquire new content, we associate and match the inventory that we're receiving from the new source against our existing databases. We create the cross-matching references there and then, prior to loading that content into our systems.”
“We have two models to onboard. If we identify a property with high volume, or demanded by one of our booker channels, let's say a travel agency, option one, and we do this today, we do it with the large TMCs in particular, we receive lists of their demanded hotels, which may not be represented in Amadeus today, as we offer representation to that hotel through our own representation company.
“We work with LinkHotel, which is the Amadeus representation company, in exactly what we call those boutique, independent hotels, which may not have a business case of, say, the broader GDS distribution.
“We can offer to bring them on board, host them in our LinkHotel company. We de-dupe them to go through the data standardization, put in the pictorial media, the descriptive media, etc., and then make them broadly available to the whole Amadeus community as per any other GDS hotel. We can have incentives and reward structures for the travel agencies for bringing that content to us. That's model one.
“In the event the hotel is still not interested in participating in our GDS, we can still load exactly the same information into the Amadeus databases. We can give it a unique code, give it descriptions, etc., but we do it on behalf of the travel agency or the booker. They can create, if you like, a GDS electronic catalog in Amadeus.
“So from an agent point of view wishing to book, it is absolutely invisible and transparent. They don't see that as not connected, or not part of the Amadeus GDS content. It becomes exactly like a normal GDS hotel, or Amadeus hotel, and we have a back end portal where we can then send information via email, fax, to the hotel whenever a reservation is made. We semi-automate the on-request handling, or the free sell process, so that the agents don't have to do that each time.
“For example, if there's an allocation model, it will send a message to the hotel that we've now booked another room, or if it's an on-request process it will send an email to say, ‘We would like to book another room, please confirm.’
“When the hotel confirms, that can go back in our system, we update the booking itself and confirm that the reservation has been made, and update the allocations, allotments, if appropriate.
“We almost fully automate. It's just the back-end to the hotels where we're still working on the data exchange via fax/email process. We provide administration tools for the agency to overview that, to load new content on behalf of themselves, and also manage their allocations, allotment and therefore the hotel catalog itself.
“What we've found is often if a hotel doesn't want to come in the system, and we put them in as an electronic catalog model, they actually see the benefits and the bookings coming in, and many of them then convert to full blown represented hotels within the GDS for broad distribution as a second step.
“We see that really has helped us bring a lot of long-tail content that our big booker customers have been looking for, and bringing them into our world with a high-value add for them. That's been used by many of the big TMCs for example, today.
“Our vision of where we'd like to go is that, we will be successful in pushing through this model, pushing that out so that people can then follow suit, adopt our standards and create a de facto standard, if you like.
“We think that would be for the good of everybody in this industry.”