Travel Technology Show 2007

Hotel distribution through travel agents is set to dramatically increase as the global distribution systems increase their focus on the sector.

Both Sabre and Amadeus are launching commission tracker tools for agencies to keep track of payments from hoteliers. The move follows criticism from the trade that hotels often fail to pay commission owed.

Sabre director of supplier relations Susanne Knobel said hoteliers are also switching on to the important role the trade can play in increasing booking volume, revenue and margin. She claimed the average value of a booking though a travel agent is 30% higher than through other channels.

Meanwhile, Amadeus head of hotel distribution Pierre Matucher said hotel bookings through its GDS have increased 12% over the last year.

Matucher criticised the lack of agent training in how to sell hotels. The latest Amadeus selling system to be piloted with UK agents later this year will have a simple consumer-type interface instead of a traditional GDS code look to help agents sell hotels.

Knobel predicted consumers will flock back to travel agents to book hotels as the massive amount of information on the Internet is confusing people.

Meanwhile, Expotel IT director Luke Mellors suggested hotel chains will increasingly link in their content to yield management systems to grab back control of prices from third-party websites. Hoteliers will be able to set real-time prices that will allow them to maximise profits by setting prices based on demand.

Mellor, formerly chief information officer of the Dorchester Group, suggested the GDSs are not the answer for hotels because costs are high. He said it had cost the company £2 million to start distribution on the GDSs.