In the past, exploring opportunities in new source markets and demand channels came with both risk and time-consuming implementations on the part of the hotelier. To start, the exploration in itself was challenging, blind, and often left to vague promises and hope. It was hard to know what channels were producing, what the real target audience was, and what their buying power was. In simple words, “is this audience a good fit for my hotel, and will the revenue generated be worth the investment in time?”

Also, with many new and upcoming channels, as well as the number of new channels added, maintenance can become a severe headache for hoteliers. To give an idea, in brand hotel website the direct booking cost is $2-$5, whereas, for independent hotels, the cost per booking is $8.5- $12.5. Also, direct online bookings are 10-12 times cheaper than OTA bookings [1]. Constant monitoring of channels to ensure accuracy may not be feasible or would require a larger team to monitor the channels manually.

But this era of uncertainty may very well have come to an end. When RateGain acquired DHISCO in 2018, we did so with a clear vision on how switch technology and channel management could bring synergies to hoteliers by leveraging the strengths of each other. We knew that we had a unique opportunity to solve for the battle between push and pull models favoured by hoteliers and demand channels equally. Being customer-centric, it is in our DNA to always listen to the customers and understand their goals and challenges. Over the years, we zeroed in on a few key trends common to almost all hoteliers:

  1. Ensuring accuracy of availability, rates, and inventory
  2. Having access to the full ecosystem of demand channels in a centralized way
  3. Being able to access and act on market and property-specific insights

Accuracy is everything

It’s no secret or surprise that the vast majority of hoteliers prefer the push model of distribution while demand partners prefer the pull model. Each model significantly favours either the hotelier or the demand partner disproportionately. Until now, there seemed to be no middle ground. But with DHISCO’s push technology leveraging cache and Change Discovery Services (CDS), both hoteliers and demand partners maintain 99.9% accuracy, without a high load on CRS systems, with no missed booking due to time-out, and a 20-100 millisecond response time.

How is this possible you might ask? Caching and the concept of storing data with an intermediary is not new. And while it does help offload pressure on hotel CRS systems. But accuracy was still an issue, as the cache didn’t know when to refresh. With DHISCO and RateGain’s Change Discovery Service, one can leverage artificial intelligence to keep the cached data fresh, by looking for patterns as well as using shopping data to look for changes. With over 2,50,000 hotels and alternate lodging properties in our database, we process over 200 billion transactions per month. Why does this matter? Artificial intelligence needs data to improve and become smarter. This vast network of customers, large and small, is what has allowed DHISCO’s distribution network to be the most accurate and the fastest. To summarize, here is a snapshot of the Connectivity quality that DHISCO Switch provides.

Distribution for differentiation

In any industry, differentiation is highly critical, but especially in the hospitality industry where customers have fully emerged in the experience the hotel offers. But as you cater to niche traveller segments or want to tap into emerging source markets, you also have to tap into the marketplaces used by these travellers to book trips. These emerging marketplaces can cater to certain geographies, traveller demographics, or a specific type of properties. In the past, connecting to these “long-tail” sites was not worth the investment in time and money. But this all about to change. Here at DHISCO, we’ve invented and gone LIVE withShop-to-Push technology with one of our large hotel chain partners opeing up the landscape of long-tail demand channels.

This new connectivity opens up opportunities for large chains to distribute to over 300 new channels previously unavailable via the switch. Firstly, it drastically reduces the implementation time if you are connected to the switch. Secondly, DHISCO can customize your connections to fit your needs. In other words, you can optimize your plans to ensure high cache accuracy. The large chains are already seeing this as a game-changer. It is especially true for chains with a deeper regional distribution strategy that leverages strong local channels to drive demand. Lastly, having access to both the top demand channels and long-tail channels with one provider will eliminate the need for a mix of distribution technologies (switch, channel manager, direct) to manage. DHISCO Connectivity also provides a Direct Push mechanism that can be customized to connect to 1,500+ channels in a complete push mode. Also, it comes with the ability to handle billions of transactions seamlessly in push mode.

Introducing Distribution Insights & Optimization

As I’ve laid out, having a stable and reliable distribution network, and having the freedom of choice to craft the perfect mix of demand channels is critical. But how do you know what is working? How do you know that your connectivity is stable and producing? How do you know which demand channels are performing in different regions? DHISCO has always monitored connectivity and communicated transparently with our customers, but now you no longer have to take our word for it. As we introduce DHISCO Insights & Optimizations, all the intelligence is at your fingertips. Leveraging the world’s broadest inventory of connected properties, now you can get insights on:

Top/bottom performing brands, geos, properties and OTAs Brand performance compared to similar brands in the same markets and how different OTAs produce for other brands Monitor connectivity health and identify areas to optimize and thereby boost bookings Drill down into key metrics to identify areas of opportunity or risk

Of course, all data is kept anonymously and aggregated to protect customer data and confidence. This is available in an intuitive dashboard format and can be consumed in a preferred format – Excel/Daily Mail Subscription/Browser.

The new normal just got better

There is risk, uncertainty, and our options feel limited in the world we are currently living. It doesn’t mean your distribution has to be the same. As we open our doors, dust off the linens, and start welcoming guests back into our hotels, let’s put our best foot forward as travel returns. At RateGain, we link our success directly to that of our hotel and OTA partners. Our customers told us they care about the accuracy and stability of their distribution channels. They want a better choice with faster implementations and insights to make better decisions. Working with key clients, we are excited and honoured to introduce the fastest and most reliable distribution technology to-date, with more options than ever. Let’s welcome travel back – together.

One of the largest US based chains wanted to switch their connectivity partner for one of the largest bed-banks in the world. With over 4,000 properties to be migrated worldwide and the channel being one of the most critical for the chain, the migration had to be seamless. With Direct Push Connectivity, we rolled out 4,000 properties in 4 weeks with zero downtime. The increase in number of distributed rate plans and ability to process high transaction volumes resulted in uplift in bookings by over 240%.

Do you want to know how? Write to amanda.smith@rategain.com or request a demo for DHISCO Switch Connectivity.

[1]HospitalityNet: ADR Rise Versus Distribution Channel Cost, Revenueyourhotel.com


About the Author

Kamesh Shukla
Executive Vice President – Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa
RateGain

In his current role, he manages the commercial team throughout APMEA (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa) and leads the overall strategy and growth across all three key business lines of distribution, business intelligence, and social media optimization.
Kamesh is an accomplished executive with 20+ years of progressive and diverse experience in the Travel & Hospitality industry. He has capitalized on his experience by playing sales and marketing leadership roles in industry leading brands such as Taj, Oberoi, Radisson, Park Hotels, Kuoni Group and TUI.
Kamesh is also an active speaker at regional/international webinars, conferences, seminars & workshops across APMEA. He is an Associate Member of HSMAI, Middle East and APAC. He has an MBA in marketing from Bangalore University with distinction.