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The hotel technology race

 

Air & Business Travel News take a closer look at why hotel-booking technology for corporate travel still lags behind the airline sector. The hotel sector generally doesn’t have the level of maturity of air when it comes to dealing with what corporates want. And "what corporates want" is now more than just the room.

As the airline industry shifts its business model towards menu pricing and ancillary services, other parts of the travel industry are under pressure to rethink their strategy. The IT infrastructure behind airlines, which is driving the change, is a multi-billion-dollar business – as is airline technology itself.

The elephant in the room, when it comes to technology, is hotels. The hotel industry is more fragmented than air, and the technology behind it reflects that. Buyers’ needs, from their hotel suppliers, are changing, too, when compared with air, and with that comes more technological issues.

Regional differences within the hotel sector at the property level are also more pronounced than in air. Global connectivity demands are another complicating factor.

Buyers, with finance directors breathing down their necks, are at the heart of this complexity. “The hotel sector generally doesn’t have the level of maturity of air when it comes to dealing with what corporates want,” says Margaret Birse, director, global travel services for Serco.  And “what corporates want” is now more than just the room. The C-suite talks about this in terms of “content” – the cost of amenities such as wifi, parking, food and beverage, and in-room facilities is as much a part of hotel content as the room rate.

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