I have here with me from Hotel Reservations Services in Germany, Carsten Goreth Willkommen in L.A.
Tell us about the Hotel Reservation Service and what you are up to at the moment.
HRS is basically running a Hotel reservation system; we have been around for 29 years already so it is maybe one of the oldest .com companies around! We have about 90,000 hotels in the reservation system, from small private individual hotels to bigger chain hotels. We cater mostly to corporate travellers but also to leisure travellers.
Do you have links from various travel sites to HRS and would we know if we were actually going to HRS or do we have to go straight to your website?
No, there are several links from different companies from different portals; there are also travel agencies who have their own websites and links to HRS, so there are a variety of companies who have links to that.
You are based in Germany?
Based in Cologne, Germany, yes.
Do you find any difference between European Internet use and Internet use in the USA? What would you say the difference in attitudes are, if any?
Europeans are still finding out about Internet shopping, Internet booking opportunities; of course there are some years to go compared to U.S. customers but basically it is a very fast growing market for us. There are some concerns about giving credit cards for example which is the difference between a European and American. Especially German customers, as fast as they get used to it then I think it will be a bigger market.
Yes I believe so. How do you get the data from the hotels to your reservation services, is each hotel, each chain, linked physically with your site?
Hotels update their data on our sites; they have access with a password and they give us their current availability and their current rates. They can put in promotional rates for certain periods or certain dates so we can always update it with the latest rates.
Continued success to you in your expansion and it is nice to see you have been around 29 years, certainly not a start up company now! Carsten, thank you very much for taking time to come and talk to us.