NATIONAL REPORT—In the third quarter, the industry saw a major merger, strategic alliances formed and a smattering of technology upgrades occur.
Expedia has completed its acquisition of Orbitz Worldwide, including brands and assets, for $1.6 billion, despite opposition from many in the hotel industry, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). Orbitz is no longer being traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
“We are pleased to welcome Orbitz Worldwide to our family of leading travel brands,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Expedia, Inc. “Our mission is to revolutionize travel through the power of technology. Given Orbitz’s focus on transforming the way consumers around the world plan and book travel, we couldn’t be more aligned. As we bring our talented teams and capabilities together, we will be well positioned to accelerate the pace of innovation to deliver even better customer experiences to Orbitz’s loyal customer base and to further enhance the marketing and distribution capabilities we offer to our global supply partners.”
Meanwhile, the Leading Hotels of the World Ltd.’s more than 400 properties and nine Trump Hotel Collection properties will be able to tap into Duetto’s revenue strategy solutions due to new partnerships.
“With solutions that address the unique challenges of independent luxury hotels, Duetto delivers powerful insights on pricing and demand as a true cloud-based software as a service. It has the potential to help our members make informed distribution choices and independently yield all segments, channels, room types and promotions, with open pricing to drive healthy revenue and increase profitability,” shared Jon Londeen, SVP, distribution and reservations management at The Leading Hotels of the World.
For its part, Trump Hotel Collection will implement Duetto’s revenue strategy solutions in nine destinations, encompassing more than 3,000 rooms worldwide. The rollout will begin with the 391-room Trump SoHo New York, followed by a rollout at Trump properties in Chicago, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Miami, Panama, Canada and Ireland.
Tech companies have also launched several new tools and apps to help hotel operations. UpsellGuru, an online system that allows hotels to offer their guests upgrade opportunities to higher room categories through a bidding process, launched earlier this quarter. The guest submits an offer based on the amount they are willing to spend to upgrade (within a minimum and maximum offer value). If the guest’s bid is successful, they will receive a notification prior to their arrival date. If it is not awarded, they retain their original reservation. Additionally, cross-selling to extra services, such as breakfast or transportation, is also offered from a guest service menu.
Meanwhile, Tambourine publicly launched Symphony, a tool that combines digital marketing, booking and distribution. Symphony has been in testing for more than a year at more than 100 hotels worldwide, and was designed to increase direct bookings; ensure comprehensive presence across all digital channels; and eliminate the need for multiple disconnected vendor solutions.
In addition to the launch of Expedia PartnerCentral App for iPhone and Android, FCS Computer Systems (FCS) introduced another app: m-2Talk, a push-to-talk mobile app designed to provide instant and secure staff communication for hotel properties for Apple iOS and Android devices. Using m-2Talk, management, runners, room attendants and supervisors can communicate instantly with each other by speaking directly through walkie-talkie style conversations on their smartphones. m-2Talk has a multi-language user interface and works on the hotel’s private network. It is only available to staff that are pre-authorized by management for usage, and its group chat feature supports one-to-many messaging between predetermined or ad-hoc user groups. The app comes equipped with history tracking that records and stores all conversations for users to reference back to, if needed, by searching start date, end date, sender, recipient or group chat name.