As the online channel gains a foothold in the travel marketplace, the hospitality industry is looking for ways to build room revenue through better control of electronic distribution of rates and inventory. On Sept. 23, 2003, a select group of industry leaders including hotel executives, operators, and suppliers will participate in a Think Tank on electronic distribution channel management, sponsored by the Hotel Information Systems, Key2TheCities, Pegasus, PS Hospitality and SynXis.
The state of electronic distribution is a balancing act between travel agents, on-line distributors, and the hotels themselves. Jupiter Research predicts on-line hotel bookings to grow from $5 billion in 2001 to $14.8 billion in 2007. Despite this trend, the analysts believe that consumers are often confused by the rate differentials and choices that are available on-line, often preferring to call the hotels directly or rely on the expertise of a travel agent, while they are bombarded with media ads representing lower price through those on-line channels.
In its second year, the E-Distribution Think Tank is the presented by The William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), one of the world’s leading hospitality schools. The event has been assembled by organizers to identify the issues surrounding electronic distribution, the booking of hotel rooms by travel agents via the Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) and through Internet websites like Expedia and Travelweb, to define solutions for improved channel management, and to prioritize ways to overcome barriers to those solutions. UNLV Director of Graduate Studies, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, Dr. Pearl Brewer, will facilitate the series of break out sessions and reports that will constitute the results.
“Transparent real-time connectivity, rate erosion, rate parity, cannibalization of inventory, and channel conversion were identified as top issues for the industry in last year’s meeting,” said Phillip Saims, President of PS Hospitality, a founding sponsor of the Think Tank. “This meeting hopes to build on possible solutions and define scenarios for redirecting recent rate and occupancy trends.”
The meeting will be held at the Radisson Barcelo Hotel Washington at 2121 P Street, NW in Washington, DC. Participation in the Think Tank proceedings is limited. For information on the event, please e-mail UNLVThinkTank@AOL.com.