To Increasing Bookings In 2004
NEW YORK — (January 6, 2004) FastBooking has been receiving rave reviews from its more than 2,000 global hotel customers and e-distribution experts regarding the system’s flexibility and functionality. The Internet booking engine enables hoteliers to directly manage inventory, optimize multiple rate tiers and provide reservation information in multiple languages/currencies.
By providing an Internet booking engine direct to hotels, FastBooking reduces and/or eliminates the need for hotels to turn over a portion of their inventory (anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent of rooms or more) to third-party intermediaries or wholesalers such as Hotels.com, Expedia and Travelocity which control approximately 74 percent of the online hotel sales market. Hotels working with intermediaries are expected to give a wholesale rate typically 30% or more off the lowest published rates over specified dates. While this does help to fill unsold rooms, it also causes the bleeding of average daily rates that can’t be recouped—even if demand picks back up.
Max Starkov and Jason Price, principals of Hospitality eBusiness Strategies, a New York-based hospitality consulting firm, said, “A smart hotelier is one who can grow his own direct-to-consumer online distribution strategy and beat the likes of Hotels.com and the other hotel intermediaries at their own game.”
Price said Hospitality eBusiness Strategies anticipates online distribution to grow in 2004 to16 percent and to 24 percent by 2006. He said at least 53 percent of the revenues should be direct to consumer. Some major brands and independent hoteliers, he said, already enjoy direct online distribution as high as 75 percent.
“The crux of a revenue-generating hotel Web site is one that reflects best practices of online distribution and this includes: user-friendliness, search engine friendliness and travel booker friendliness,” Starkov said. “We consider FastBooking to be a ‘travel-booker friendly’ booking engine because of its overall functionality, ability to create and book in real time packages and promos, 22 foreign languages and currency conversion features.”
Now more than ever, the two consultants said, a company such as FastBooking provides the tools needed to close the sale once the customer reaches the last mile in the purchasing decision.
FastBooking’s global customers agree.
Hoteliers happy with service
"FastBooking’s Internet booking engine provides us with a value-added service in the truest sense of the term,” said Jean-Luc Sanslaville, sales manager for Groupe Karibea Hotels on the islands of St. Martin, Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean. “It enables us to display our last-minute deals or special offers on our Web site. Then, in just a couple of clicks, the reservation is booked. FastBooking has made it possible for us to adapt supply to demand in real time. Its user-friendly system and pro-active follow-up contributed to a significant upturn in our sales figures.”
Cynthia Girard, reservations administrator for the Hotel Auberge Universel in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, said FastBooking has been the hotel’s reservations partner for more than three years, and each year they become more impressed with the service and “bookability” of the system, as sales increase. 2004, she said, should be no exception.
"Through a straight-forward training program and continuous communications to make sure we are using our Web site efficiently, FastBooking provides our hotel with the online visibility we need to keep reservations flowing in,” Girard said. “The service is complete, easy to use and offers multiple rate tiers that travelers to Canada are looking for. Even more important, customers visiting our site can obtain the information they need in French or 21 other languages of their choice. They also can quickly convert rates into a currency that makes dollars and ‘sense.’ We are linking another hotel in our group also to FastBooking so that we can refer business to each other.’”
For the Kitano Hotel in New York, FastBooking’s flexibility is key to their rate optimization.
Gene Vitale, director of revenue management at the Kitano Hotel in New York, said: “By working hand in hand with FastBooking, we are able to set up an offering in our central-reservation system that encompasses an entire range of rates and availability on specific dates."
This flexibility is critical, Vitale said, because the Kitano regularly shops its competitors Web sites to ensure that the Kitano is displaying competitive rates. He said the FastBooking system enables his staff to proactively revise rates in order to maximize revenue and adjust to market changes. The revised rates are then automatically distributed to all channels in real time.
Ruth Jones, director of sales for the Ritz Hotel in London, agrees with Vitale that FastBooking’s flexibility contributes to the hotel’s ability to capture online bookings.
“The Ritz started working with FastBooking in order to simplify and increase our online bookings,” Jones said. “Not only has FastBooking streamlined our booking process, but offers us great flexibility in how we feature our rates and provides excellent management information and data. These qualities combined with the professional, yet approachable, expertise of the FastBooking team makes working with them a delight.”
Appealing to all
Ed Brill, Chief Operations Manager USA for FastBooking, said that customer satisfaction is at an all time high. He attributes this to the system’s multilingual and currency conversion capabilities; a one-page, dynamic interactive screen that lists all offers and accepts up to three bookings per record (which is great for families and companions); the system’s ability to accept up to 30 rate levels, enabling multiple pricing options by day, by room, by week or by month; and the system’s ability to accept future bookings up to four years in advance. All rates, both private and public, can be reserved online, he said.
“Instant information is important to today’s travelers,” Brill said. “But that information is not valuable unless it is presented in a customer’s own language and is made available in a manner that is convenient to a traveler’s schedule and fitting to their budget. At Fastbooking, we enable properties to present their information from the guests’ perspective and with a fast transaction time, and from the hotel’s perspective with secure and efficient servers and with the ability to track bookings and generate reports for future reservations.”
Phone 212 459 9191
|Also See:||Merchant Model or Web Booking Engine? / Ed Brill / December 2003|
|Fastbooking Facilitates Friendly, One-Page Booking In 22 Languages / December 2003|
|FastBooking- Internet Booking Engine Giant Enhances Its Unique One Page Booking Screen and Facilitates Bookings In More Than 20 Languages / September 2003|
|Internet Hotel Booking Engine Giant Launches Americas Push / January 2003|