What is the Internet Distribution System and Why is it an important part of a hotelís Distribution network?

April 25, 2008

20 years ago, anyone who wanted to book hotel accommodation whether it was for a vacation or a business trip, he simply approached the nearest travel agent to make a reservation.

Today, the reservation process is not as simple. The internet has opened up new gateways, making it easy for people to compare price and package. People are no longer satisfied with picking a hotel from a limited hotel list; they want to know what is available and select the best option. Given this attitude, for a hotel to capture a larger part of the market, it has become increasingly important to have an excellent distribution network that encompasses all possible distribution channels. One such channel is the Internet Distribution System.
v The Internet Distribution System is a collection of online reservation systems and travel portals that have huge member bases and specialize in internet marketing of travel and related services. These member bases include online travel agents, travel portals, travel search engines/directories, online hotel consolidators and airline websites that offer online travel reservation to travelers. By signing up for the Internet Distribution System, you will be able to reach a wider audience through their local agents or websites. The main advantage that the Internet Distribution System has is that their travel websites and portals are skilled in Internet marketing, which often place their site ahead of yours in search engine rankings.

How to get listed on the Internet Distribution System?
The listing process differs for travel website to travel website. A few websites require that you register your hotel directly with them, you need to contact the website or portal to find out the listing process. Other travel websites or portals use a GDS system to get hotel details and to make bookings, you need to contact the respective website or portal to find out which GDS you need to list your hotel on.

In all case, however, you will have to pay commissions on bookings taken this way. You need to ensure that the commission offered is competitive (10% as per industry standard or higher) as most websites reject or discount hotels that have commission less than industry standard.

How to maintain a presence for your hotel once it is listed on the Internet Distribution System?
Once you have signed up for IDS, you need to maintain a presence on the IDS for your hotel by:

Rates & Promotions: Ensure that your rates are competitive and current. Guests will book with whoever is offering them the best deal and if your competitor is offering the exact package for less they will book with him. Similarly, if your package on display is valid from March 2007 to 2008 and itís already November 2008, you have become your competitions greatest asset.

Content: Hotels that perform well have updated content and property. Always check to see if your hotel is being ďmarketedĒ in a manner that clearly articulates and represents the features and amenities of your property. If your current graphics and content is not on display, submit the same to the travel website or GDS. Also, make sure all current rates and special offers are presented on all travel websites and GDS. Consumers are looking for the best deals, all the time.

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