AH&MA And OTA Reach Final Agreement On Cooperation

WASHINGTON—The American Hotel and Motel Association (AH&MA) and the OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) have finalized their agreement for cooperation in developing technology standards for the hospitality and travel industry.

Under the terms of a definitive agreement reached, AH&MA will make its Central Reservation System (CRS) and Golf Tee-Time Standards available to OTA, which will undertake all future development in these areas.

In a continuing process, OTA will provide its further development to AH&MA for inclusion within its American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process. Within that process, AH&MA will seek public comment and accreditation of its Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS) including those OTA specifications addressing the hospitality CRS environment.

This five-year agreement provides for ongoing cooperation in the development of technology standards within the hospitality industry. AH&MA and OTA have agreed to exchange committee seats in each other’s technical working committees and at the respective board levels.
In addition, AH&MA has granted OTA a non-exclusive license to use the HITIS standards as the foundation for its CRS Specification, while AH&MA will continue development within Phase II of its standards. Planned Phase II HITIS standards include:

* Payment Processing & Accounting
* Food, Beverage & Retail Management
* Casino Management & Player Tracking
* Smart Card Technology
Legacy System Interfaces


In addition to integrating the HITIS CRS Standards, OTA will be responsible for all other development within the hospitality CRS domain.
AH&MA President and CEO Bill Fisher added, “The terms of this agreement ensure a commitment to continued cooperation and development in the Central Reservation System. This agreement is important both for our industry and the HITIS program, as is recognizes the importance of ANSI accreditation to HITIS and the need to ensure backward compatibility with future development of standards.”

Bob Elliott, AH&MA vice president of engineering, codes and standards and chairman of the HITIS Advisory Committee, noted, “HITIS has always been a program by and for the hospitality industry. Our membership and the contributors to HITIS have indicated that further technical development of CRS should reside within OTA to encompass the broader spectrum of travel reservations.”

“I am excited about our future with HITIS and the AH&MA,” said Jim Young, OTA chairman. “This agreement demonstrated our commitment to develop leading edge standards and practices that benefit the entire travel industry. I am confident that the good work we will jointly produce will take our industry’s ability to communicate business critical information to an entirely new level of innovation.”

AH&MA, founded in 1910, is a federation of state lodging associations throughout the United States, with some 11,000 property members worldwide, representing more than 1.4 million rooms. AH&MA provides operations, technical, educational, marketing, and communications services plus governmental affairs representation to the lodging industry.

OTA, which began in May 1999, now has over 150 members representing influential names in all sectors of the travel industry, including air, car rental, hotel, travel agencies, technology providers and related suppliers.

The Alliance is comprised of five working groups air, car, hotel, leisure supplier, and non-supplier together with an interoperability committee to coordinate their efforts. OTA defined its open messages with XML that makes it possible to exchange business data seamlessly among different systems, companies, and industries over the World Wide Web.