Last month we offered customers an information webinar on Channel Connect best practices – ways to best leverage connections to online travel agents within your revenue and distribution strategy.
To continue the discussion, we asked our Revenue Optimization team to provide more insight into the functionality of these connections and how they can help your strategy.
Andrew Smith is Director of Revenue Optimization for Sabre Hospitality Solutions. He and his team offer consulting services to strengthen hotels' distribution and marketing efforts.Andrew:
Distribution connections to third party booking sites come in all shapes and sizes. Are you familiar with what this functionality does and how it can help your hotel?
Sabre Hospitality Solutions customers will likely know it by the name "Channel Connect," while others may be more familiar with the more generic terms. Channel Connect is Sabre Hospitality Solutions' product name for a direct interface between the SynXis Central Reservation System (CRS) and third party online booking partners. This allows hotels to automate the distribution of inventory, rates, and restrictions across all distribution channels. It also gives you the opportunity to enable last room availability and ensure data accuracy more quickly and easily than with any other tool on the market, at a lower cost, and with higher reliability.
When rates change, particularly for hotels in volatile markets, it becomes time consuming to keep the various extranets up to date. Delays in maintaining these rates result in parity issues. Channel Connect allows the CRS to update all channels at once, guaranteeing rate parity.
You will also be able to utilize all the functionality of the CRS and thereby increase the efficiency of your Revenue Manager.
Now that we've described what Channel Connect is, let's look at three types of interfaces:
- Real Time/Pull Model
In this model the distribution partner checks the CRS for availability and rates and gets a response in real time as the consumer is shopping the site.
- Pull Cache Model
In this type of connection, the channel builds cache from shopping the CRS on a scheduled basis. Availability is then presented to the consumer based on information stored in the cache. However, a real time shop is performed at the time of booking to ensure the accuracy of the information.
- Push Cache Model
Here, the CRS sends availability, rates, and inventory, also known as ARI, to the channel for up to 330 days upon implementation. The CRS then pushes updates when the data changes in real time. This data is cached and stored in the partners own database. Reservations are then booked against this data and downloaded into the CRS.
If you are already a Sabre Hospitality Solutions customer, the first step to gain access to Channel Connect is to contact your Sabre Hospitality Account Manager. They can assist you in identifying the programs which are right for you. He or she can then discuss pricing and the requirements for entering into each program.
They can also clarify whether the chosen model operates via Net or Gross Pricing and guide you on the Best Practices for loading the rate plans into the SynXis CRS. After entering your pricing, we strongly recommend checking the "Availability View" functionality within the CRS to ensure the correct rates are feeding to the various channels.
Additionally, we can also assist you with a customized strategy based on the programs in which you are already participating and can direct you towards other opportunities of which you may not be aware.
However, regardless of the CRS you are using, don't forget to maintain a relationship with the Market Manager of your chosen Channel Connect. They are a great resource for exploring marketing opportunities and ensuring your hotel is positioned effectively within their distribution tool.Andrew Smith can be reached at Andrew.email@example.com. For a recording of last month's Channel Connect webinar (Sabre Hospitality customers only), please ask your account manager.Sabre Hospitality Solutions leverages the strength and breadth of Sabre's technology, marketing and distribution tools to bring hotel suppliers a global end-to-end solution. Sabre Hospitality Solutions enables hoteliers to benefit from the streamlined integration of these innovative, comprehensive tools to help them increase revenues, identify savings and improve customer service. www.sabre.com