Internet Travel Monitor - Marketing, Research & Tech

May 1, 2019

Attribute-Based Selling Comes to Hotel Reservation Systems

Attribute-based selling is a concept that has generated buzz in hospitality circles in recent years, and now Amadeus is implementing this strategy as part of its new guest reservation system being adopted by IHG.

Iain Saxton, Amadeus senior vice president of product management for CRS and PMS, says IHG has been testing the system for some of its properties using a single attribute – bed type – and it is “going really well and actually helping with conversions.”

In an attribute-based model, the concept of room types are eliminated; instead consumers select from a list of attributes – for example a king bed with a sea view on a high floor – to create a room that meets their needs. Each attribute adds an incremental price to the base room rate.

“Hoteliers still fundamentally want to drive revenue out of room features, but they want to allow guests to take those features that are important to them,” Saxton says.

"Other industries are allowing you to personalize. You can go to Nike and actually say you want the flash on the side, what color cotton you want the seam sewn in, and you can get a one-off pair of sneakers. Hoteliers are looking to do the same thing.”

Consumers’ appetite for personalization coupled with advancements in technology now make this type of hotel shopping possible.

Whereas computers - and distribution systems - once forced hotels to create and sell in room types, now, “we don’t have to store things in buckets and counters. The computer can understand dependencies from all of these different combinations, so for every single room in the hotel, you could make a unique, sellable combination if you want to,” Saxton says.

The functions of internal systems will need to shift, he says, with central reservation systems taking over control of inventory from property management systems.

Shifting the balance of power

Attribute-based selling may also sway the balance of power between hotels and online travel agencies by giving brands a way to differentiate their direct booking experience from what is offered by OTAs.

“There is a belief this may actually start converting more people to direct bookings if the OTAs don’t offer the same flexibility you can get on the brand website,” Saxton says.

“But I think it won’t be long before the OTAs realize they have to adapt, because they don’t want to lose that battle.”

Saxton says Amadeus has heard from several other hoteliers that are interested in exploring attribute-based selling. For now, the company is continuing to build out the product with IHG, which, according to Amadeus, currently has more than 1,000 properties live in the new guest reservation system and plans to have all of its properties migrated by early 2019. At press time, IHG had not returned request for comment.

As more properties and additional attributes are offered through IHG, Saxton says Amadeus will start to figure out the optimal configuration: offering relevant options to guests, but not so many that the booking process becomes too complicated.

“Saying there’s a refrigerator or kitchen in the room could be driven by an attribute, but if you start giving the consumer so many choices, there is a resistance point in the sale, and it’s just not going to work,” he says.

"But I think we will find this will resonate and change the industry. It’s probably a five-year journey, though.”

Copyright 2019 Northstar Travel Media LLC. All rights reserved. From https://www.phocuswire.com. By Mitra Sorrells.
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