August 2014, Issue: 8 Volume: 32

Tools & Tech

Andreen... more rooms, more choices for agents
One-stop shop for agents
April 20127

SINCE last year Travelport has been looking to develop its hospitality products. Travelport’s head of hospitality and partner marketing, Niklas Andreen says, “While our GDS continues to be our core product, an increasing number of agents are benefiting from our new hotel booking engine Travelport Rooms and More, that acts as a one-stop hotel shop for the agents.

“That’s where Rooms & More aims to fill a spot. Instead of spending too much time searching for content across numerous hotel booking solutions and websites and then struggling with inefficient booking processes and various prices, Travelport Rooms and More, allows us to save a lot of time and effort by finding it all in one place.

“Today’s agent, who books for both leisure and business, are dealing with customers who have done much research on the internet and the challenge lies in offering the right product at the right price to their customer.”

Travelport Rooms and More combines the consumer insights, meta search functionality and user interface to deliver a completely integrated hotel booking platform. Key benefits for users include comparison shopping across multiple providers and the ability to both book and cancel hotel bookings in the same tool. The global travel services provider launched the new technology last year across key regions including the Middle East and the service is now available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey.

“They meet speed and efficiency in a different manner than what the business agencies do. With Rooms & More, we understand how a GDS works, have added the meta search component and by marrying them both, the agent has all the bookings in one place. Lastly, its transparency means saving time as well as the benefits of attractive commissions, irrespective of where it was booked from.”

“It’s also about efficiency and outing the power back into the hands of the travel agents to help the consumer make the right choice,” he adds.

The availability of Travelport Rooms and More has allowed travel agents to book an even greater choice of commissionable hotel content with over 670,000 accommodation options on offer. Most recently, online hotel consolidator booking.com has been brought on board, bringing an additional 115,000 hotels and holiday properties to the portal, with a further 65,000 to be included later in the year.

Travel agents across the UAE can also conveniently book rail travel using Travelport’s online portal Rooms and More. As the world’s leading distributor of rail products, Rail Europe offers tickets and passes from high profile rail operators. Rail Europe offers a direct access to book European railways such as Eurostar, Rail Australia, Amtrak in the US, VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer in Canada, Korea rail Pass, Japan Rail Pass and more. Agents are now able to purchase a wide range of point-to-point tickets and rail passes online with attractive commissionable fares.

Speaking about the region, Andreen says it’s not just about technology, but with the business of payments. “The region has yet to open up on the tradition of online payments, especially when it comes to online hotel bookings. With a product like this, that is one of the challenges we work with. While credit cards are fantastic, they are not the only solution to pay with.”

“I think we are in the middle of a new evolution. Today we are seeing a change in consumer’s search behaviour, be it through Hipmunk or through social media or even a semantic search -that is a fundamental change that will pan out more. Another big change is mobile. Over 60 per cent of booking via mobile applications are done a day before the stay!

“And devices like tablets become an extension of the website and so will reflect a different booking pattern and that whole dynamic is going to be very interesting to see,” adds Andreen.