Attribute-based selling is a concept that has generated a buzz in hotel circles in recent years, and now Amadeus is implementing this strategy as part of its new guest reservation system adopted by IHG.
Iain Saxton, senior vice president of product management at Amadeus for CRS and PMS, says that IHG tested the system for some of its properties using a single attribute – the bed type – and that it ” goes very well and really helps with conversions “.
It is believed that it might actually start converting more people to direct bookings if OTAs don’t offer the same flexibility you can get on the brand’s website.
Iain Saxton – Amadeus
In an attribute-based model, the concept of part types is eliminated; instead, consumers choose from a list of attributes – such as a king-size bed with a sea view on a high floor – to create a room that meets their needs. Each attribute adds an incremental price to the base room rate.
âHoteliers are still fundamentally interested in generating revenue through room features, but they want to enable guests to take advantage of features that are important to them,â says Saxton.
âOther industries let you customize. You can go to Nike and say you want the flash on the side, the color of cotton you want the seam sewn into, and you can get a unique pair of sneakers. Hoteliers are looking to do the same.
Consumer appetite for personalization and technological advances now make this type of hotel shopping possible.
While computers – and distribution systems – once forced hotels to create and sell room types, now, âwe don’t have to store things in buckets and counters anymore. The computer can understand the dependencies of all these different combinations, so for each room in the hotel you can create a unique and salable combination if you want, âsays Saxton.
Internal systems functions will have to change, he said, with central reservation systems taking over inventory control from property management systems.
Changing the balance of power
Attribute-based selling can also influence the balance of power between hotels and online travel agencies by giving brands a way to differentiate their direct booking experience from that offered by OTAs.
âIt is believed that it could actually start converting more people to direct bookings if OTAs don’t offer the same flexibility that you can get on the brand’s website,â Saxton said.
“But I think it won’t be long before OTAs realize they have to adapt, because they don’t want to lose this battle.”
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Saxton says Amadeus has heard from several other hoteliers interested in exploring attribute-based selling. For now, the company continues to develop the product with IHG, which Amadeus says currently has over 1,000 live properties in the new guest booking system and plans to migrate all of its properties by early 2019. At the time of going to press, IHG had not returned a request for comment.
As more properties and additional attributes are offered through IHG, Saxton says Amadeus will begin to determine the optimal configuration: to offer relevant options to guests, but not so much that the booking process becomes too complicated.
âTo say that there is a refrigerator or a kitchen in the room may be motivated by an attribute, but if you start to offer so much choice to the consumer, there is a point of resistance in the sale, and it will not work all. just not, âhe says.
“But I think we’ll find that it resonates and changes the industry. It’s probably a five-year journey, though.”