LONG ISLAND, NY—Just as hotel brands have gone through a plethora of mergers and acquisitions as a way to grow and gain scale, so have other components of the travel industry. Bedsonline, a global provider of accommodation and complementary products exclusively for travel advisors, which last year revealed TravelBound would be joining Bedsonline, has now confirmed that migration has reached completion for the United States and Canadian markets.
“The last year has been pretty tumultuous in the travel industry. There’s been a lot of changes, not just from us, but from lots of different suppliers, and the reason for that is the OTAs are really encroaching in on that travel agent space,” said Madeline Williams, regional manager of sales executives for the Americas, at a recent cocktail event here, which welcomed new clients to Bedsonline. This series of cocktail events has taken place all over the United States and Canada, with the first event hosted in San Diego, CA, and the last one on Long Island, NY, with attendance ranging from 50 to 75 clients per event.
Williams noted that the main reason why Bedsonline, TravelBound and Tourico, another big wholesaler, were merged was to “really come together in that B2B travel agent-only space to make sure we can keep [our travel agents]competitive in their industry.”
As a result of this migration, Bedsonline now has more than 30,600 hotels for North America registered on its booking platform, many of which are directly contracted under exclusive terms and conditions for Bedsonline’s travel advisor customers. In all, the company has more than 180,000 hotels available. Williams noted that, in comparison, TravelBound had 55,000, “so this is a huge jump.”
As part of the migration, Bedsonline has been improving the user experience to make it easier for travel agents to find the right hotels and activities for their clients to make sure they’re offering up the best matches. The newly enhanced Bedsonline platform offers travel advisors a best-in-class search engine designed specifically for the needs of travel advisors, which allows users to filter and compare results in a flexible and practical way, according to the company. Of the 180,000 hotels globally available, more than 90,000 of those are directly sourced, making the content unique and competitively priced, and with better filters to navigate the inventory online.
Williams noted that the old site wasn’t as searchable. “With 180,000 hotels, we have to make sure you can find what you’re looking for. TravelBound’s site had two filters, but there’s over 20 just on accommodation alone on the Bedsonline site,” she told the travel advisors in attendance, noting that the company also helps travel agents find hotels that are popular with the North American market. “It doesn’t matter if the Germans are really hot on this hotel; North Americans have a completely different idea of what travel or luxury or mid-range is. You can filter and search any way you like, but for a destination you’re not sure of, we’re trying to help you be the expert.
“The booking platform is absolutely outstanding. If you can use Amazon, you can use this site. It’s very straightforward,” Williams said.