Selling hotels online – how we make it fly
In this post, I want to give you an update on what we are doing to make our hotel offer even greater in the online channel. And who better to talk to than Javier de la Puente, one of the masterminds behind our Hotel Web Services?
Today Scandinavian travel agencies have access to more hotel content than ever in Amadeus. Whether you are a retail agency or a newly hatched start-up, we offer both offline and online solutions, with different hotel content ingredients to plug in – all depending on your own “hotel success recipe”.
My job is to make it easy and profitable to sell hotels for the Scandinavian travel agencies. So naturally, I’m happy to see this evolution in the online channel! I decided to have a chat with Javier de la Puente, head of our hotel sales engineering team in Madrid, to learn more.
Meet Javier de la Puente
Javier, can you tell us about the Amadeus hotel journey so far?
Back in 2013, Hotel Web Services was a new channel with just a handful of customers and an unknown product.
Everything has changed since then! We’ve revamped our offer, invested in our technology and now have customers ranging from travel management companies and B2C customers to online travel agent startups and retail travel agents.
It’s been quite a journey but I can proudly say that now we have a really good solution which produces a high share of all hotel bookings on the Amadeus platform.
That sounds like an amazing journey! Can you share your recipe for this success?
Today, we have a solid platform giving our customers access to a massive hotel marketplace. In our global portfolio one can today access over 3.1 million hotel shopping options through a single Web Services connection. This means agencies working with e.g three different aggregators no longer need to develop and manage three different API’s, but actually only one connection, all active and secured in a single platform.
Going forward, what’s on your ‘to do’ list for hotel web services?
1. We are heavily investing on improving the performance and scalability of our platform. Our growth in B2C brings a series of new challenges compared to traditional B2B agencies e.g. high look-to-book, and we are working hard on evolving the Amadeus hotel platform to be successful in this segment.
2. Good data quality is essential for B2C players so we must keep building up our ‘normalization engine’ – this is a software to standardize the quality of data we get from hotels. It means we can analyze a string of symbols from the free flow text we get from the hotel providers and convert it into structured fields that can be easily processed by our customers. Free flow text is ok for traditional travel agencies who read a cryptic screen. But not for B2C applications which cannot display a large chunk of text and are competing with online travel agencies who source rates directly and have their own content teams (providing descriptions and photos of the different hotels).
3. Last but not least, we are also working with the hotel providers to mitigate the data quality issues associated to the big fragmentation of the hotel distribution industry. We have created a dedicated quality team in Manila who audits the static and dynamic data returned by the providers, and works with them to improve the quality and structure of this data.
You work with hotel web services customers across the globe. Have you noticed anything special about the Scandinavian travel agencies?
From my personal experience, I see that Scandinavian travel agencies usually take a bit longer to study their options. They don’t rush to make decisions.
What I see is that it works. They usually take slower but more solid steps towards success. Apart from that, they are always punctual and very correct!
About the author
Isabelle Johansson has spent her last 10 years working in the hotel distribution industry, for global hotel chains as well as one of the world’s largest hotel OTA's. In 2016 she joined Amadeus, where her mission is to make hotel sales profitable for all our agencies, whether you are a niche startup or a business travel agency. The hotel of Isabelle’s dreams is The Marker Waterfront Resort, Key West. "Because of its harbor view but also because you are only a short boat ride away from the Florida Reef!"