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The Impact of the New Online Environment on the Business Model of the Independent Hotels World wild with Recommendations for the Middle East Region Properties Hilda Bairamian - Maître de Conférences à la FGM Technology and its diversified applications have already revolutionized many fields of activities and the least is certainly not the businesses operating in the service industry. This paper will highlight the role of technology in hospitality and expose how the technology in the distribution of hospitality services has changed the traditional business model into a new concept that is aiming at increasing the number of bookings, improve the occupancy and provide independence to individual hotels worldwide. The ultimate goal is to pave the road to small and medium size independent hotel operations to set an order of priority when introducing technology in their activities. Beckys Brechbil, Carlson Hotels Worldwide Director states: “We have, a very dynamic business environment, which is good because things are changing all the time. All our applications need to be easy to use and available on the Internet.” In order to remain competitive, hotels have to apply informant technology (IT) in various aspects of their operations. The traditional explanation given to the distribution activities in marketing is to create the link, the availability of the product/service to the end user. We will focus on this component and its consequences on the satisfaction of the customer. We will show: - how technology affects the number of reservations flowing to hotels through electronic distribution channels. - how the impact of global distribution system and the Internet is growing steadily, and changing from a minor contributor of bookings, to primary business sources. Hotel booking engines, central reservation systems, Global Distribution Systems, Call center reservation systems have been for the last decade among others the most popular technology innovation impacting marketing strategies of hoteliers worldwide. The paper will expose how these tools are now linked to the most popular distribution network world wide, namely the Internet. 1 Based on many articles and field research publication the conclusion is intending to highlight how interactive websites reach effectively hospitality consumers. Recommendations will mainly concern the small independent hospitality operations that can rely on the experience curve of international chains in their process of desintermediation and the creation of a new business model centered on technology. Online distribution has become the number one Channel in hospitality. In 2005 over 25% of all hotel room revenue was booked on line; in 2006 this percentage exceeded 29%;over 2007 and 2008 the overall travel booked online exceeded 35% (PhoCusWright. HeBs)1. While hoteliers are trying to find answers to several critical questions such as: does the cost of doing business with online merchants outweigh the cost of not doing business them? Or what can they do to take advantage of the crucial developments in the online market place? One granted issue is that the new online environment has certainly changed the rules of the business game and has mostly affected the customers. From a marketing point of view managers will always try to focus on customer satisfaction while using technology in order to maximize the revenue from their activities. Liz Craig , general manager of OneGlobenetwork.com(company specialized in eMarketing consulting for hotels) states:“ One thing that is very different about hotel technology today, is that it is based on what customers are already using i.e. mobile mapping services –the opposite of the past, new technology would attract customers.” The Internet has changed for ever the way consumers plan and purchase travel and access travel information. The credibility of a website is no longer automatically accepted because of the CGM (Consumer Generated Media). Moreover in the January 2009 issue of HeBs publication the authors Starkov and Price write that: “… Internet savvy hoteliers with robust Direct Online Channel strategies have been the winners in economic downturns and they were able to generate incremental revenue, improve marketing ROI, retain existing and existing and attract more affluent travelers and out smart competition.” In the field of hospitality technology has many applications. This article aims to help hoteliers who did not yet fully integrate the technology in their operations at making the best choice and to show that the direct online distribution will continue to be the focus for hoteliers whatever the size of their operations. 1 (PhoCusWright. HeBs) is the regular publication of Hospitality Business Strategies, Inc. that advises companies in the hospitality and travel on their Internet Distribution and e- Marketing Strategies. According to the source in 2009 over 50%of all hotel bookings will be performed online. 2 A sample area of technology applications is listed below : a- Hotel operations: Property Management Systems (PMS),revenue management, energy management. b- Marketing: Global Distribution Systems (GDS), on line distribution management, Internet Marketing. c- Reputation management: monitoring of reviews and other online sources to know what is being “said” about the hotel. d- Hotel technology in accommodations: Hotel room for the future. e- Digital customer services customized amenities. Due to the objective of the paper, the technology support in hospitality used by international chains is presented below. This allows to identify the areas of expertise that have been already developed in the distribution model. The possibilities are : - Hotel Booking engines: The use will power up the hotel website to generate hotel reservations with instant confirmation that convert the website visitor into a Booker. - CRS- (Central Reservation System): This is an Internet based hotel reserved management system designed to manage all types of bookings whether made directly by guests or through travel agents and corporate clients. - GDS- (Global Distribution System) . The system provides connectivity through GDS – IDS system providers, including major players such as Sabre, Galileo, Worldspan, Amadeus and many more. Any updates of hotel rates and allotments will appear immediately on thousands of travel agent terminals. - Call Center Hotel reservation system: This system empowers call center offices by allowing hotel chains, hotel franchises, and independent call center offices to centralize hotel reservations from all hotel members into one system. Relevant information such as hotel room rates, availability, guest reservation history, travel agents/corporate negotiated rate and other relevant information are facilitated and professionally handled by the call reservation staff. The global distribution Systems (GDS) and Internet websites being the broadest categories operating in hospitality service industries, the paper will narrow the focus to these electronic distribution channels. After exposing the role and the impact of the GDS on property management, an overview of the online direct distribution through the Internet will be presented. 3 In an article published in July 2007, Glenn Haussman (Hotel Interactive) 2 sets the benefits of technology as: - Close sales immediately. - Maximize website power. - Facilitate hotel sales. - Minimize operational costs. - Maximize room revenue. - Maintain guest contact to generate repeat reservation. - Reaching a broader market. - Broaden distribution channels. The last two points show direct concern for customers mainly how to reach them. An overview of the articles and publications of understanding consumers in the Internet environment highlights the trend that consumers are more and more turning to the Internet for travel – related information (Hospitality Upgrade 2000). They may not all be booking online, although they will eventually, but they are already comparing you (your hotel) with your competitors before they decide to make a reservation… In the service industry as in any other business field , the traditional merchant model includes two main components: the service providers through their intermediaries, and the service beneficiary: the customer. The ultimate marketing concern of businesses is understanding and satisfying this customer. Worldwide hoteliers have been struggling to decrease their dependence on the online merchants and to develop direct online distribution strategies of their own, using the Internet. The Internet is all about efficiency, about transparency. It is efficient distribution of information and inexpensive e-commerce transactions. It is the best direct-to-consumer distribution channel ever created and it definitely favors supplier- buyer relationships. However, it is interesting to mention that in the merchant model many intermediaries are online, and this model is becoming more flexible due to the changing market conditions and increased pressure by travel suppliers, such as direct interfaces to the major brand CRSs (Central Reservation Systems). This trend will inevitably accelerate over the next years as travel suppliers and major hotel brands continue to apply pressure on the online intermediaries in an improved economic environment and positive changes in consumer purchasing behavior. In general the travel marketplace is a global arena where millions of buyers (travel 2 Hotel Interactive : Consulting company in hospitality technology. It publishes regularly articles in the hospitality field. 4 agents and the public) and sellers (hotels, airlines, car rental companies etc) work together to exchange travel services. Among the “shelves” on which buyers search for travel services are the world‟s global distribution systems (GDS) and the Internet distribution systems. These systems have become electronic supermarkets linking buyers to sellers and allowing reservations to be made quickly and easily. Nowadays, more travel is sold worldwide over the Internet than any other consumer product. The Internet is a perfect medium for selling travel as it brings a vast network of suppliers and a widely dispersed customer pool together into a centralized market place. However, any discussion of the Internet as a distribution channel for travel, needs to start with a rapid understanding of the existing electronic distribution infrastructure the Global Distribution System( GDS ). It is the airline Industry created the first GDS in the 1960‟s as a way to keep truck of flight schedules, availabilities and prices. The airlines realized that by automating the reservation process for travel agents they could make the travel agents more productive and essentially turn into an extension of the airline‟s sales force. It is these original legacy GDSs that today provide the backbone to the internet travel distribution system. There are currently four major GDS Systems: 1. Amadeus. 2. Galileo. 3. Sabre. 4. World span (cf. Appendix A). How is the link created between the GDS and the hotels seems to be very important in insuring valuable links through which hoteliers can optimize their yield. The GDS interfaces with the Central Reservation System (CRS) of the hotel, allowing travel agencies and consortia to confirm bookings. The CRS offer two-way interface that allows the CRS to communicate with and exchange information between the CRS central data base and the Front Office PMS (property Management System) at each property. The two-way Interface includes features that allow the CRS and PMS to work with the same information despite differing data structures and values. The CRS supports a range of revenue management, data base marketing (to detect trends and patterns-to spot opportunities). The CRS contains a treasury of past activity information from which geographic sector analysis; segment source information, demographic profiles and repeat gust information can be mined. This means that CRS serves as the heart of a family of distribution, analysis and service functions. It serves many clients simultaneously and is expected to function reliably and speedily, all the way, while accommodating additional “clients” as they emerge. The merchant model presents the environmental context through which hotel executives can rely on technology for exploiting opportunities linked to their field of operation, the merchant model itself has evolved under the technological changes, moving through the following stages: 5 - The “merchant model” is a simple wholesale arrangement that involves net rates and room allotments with cut off dates. - With time the abnormally high margins of the merchant model (18% - 30%) started to be considered as an “anomaly” since it is now contradicting the very nature of the Internet as an efficient and direct to customer channel. - The emergence of entirely new distribution and marketing media (i.e the Internet) will give smart hotelier endless means to reaching effectively customers: virtual tours, photo galleries, interactive applications, etc. - The online distribution was expected to be in 2009 the number one channel in hospitality since over 50% of all hotel bookings will be performed online (PhoCusWright, HeBs 2008). The direct vs. indirect ratio will become 80/20 in favor of the direct channel due to the diminishing role of call centers, travel agents and traditional tour operators. By understanding current marketing trends in hospitality, including travel consumer expectations and perceptions, hoteliers can enhance their web presence and utilize the Internet as the most cost effective and up-to-date sales and marketing channel. The direct online channel is the cheapest form of distribution. This means the diminishing importance of the merchant model and the GDS in general, and rapidly changing consumer purchasing habits that favors suppliers, increased online expertise by franchisees and independents alike. Individual hotel owner operator will continue to gain firm control of their relationships with the third parties; the overall trend is to work with fewer “hotel friendlier” and carefully chosen online intermediaries. According to Hospitality e- Business Strategies (HeBs) 2005 publication, the merchant model will disappear. It will be transformed into a “Commission override” convergence model. Travel agency commission will shrink to 5 %, in the end becoming a flat fee of $5 – 10. Online merchant operators will start earning volume discounts above current agency commission levels. Hoteliers should establish a “Preferred Partner” program and introduce stringent requirements the online intermediaries have to meet in order to qualify. Hoteliers have to limit the number of third party intermediaries they are doing business with and focus on their Direct Online Distribution and Marketing Strategies. They should gain expertise in navigating the Internet and utilize the Direct Online Channel to its fullest potential. The following part gives a highlight on the situation of independent properties in the Europe, Africa, and Middle East (EAME) destinations through IT benchmarking at property level and gives guideline actions in Internet Marketing Resolutions to reach the market. According to a 2008 research on comparative IT spending in EAME (Europe, Africa, Middle East) conducted by the hospitality research Center of « Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne », at all the levels of analysis that have been completed to date, 6 it is obvious that the level of IT spending industry is much lower than averages reported in other sectors and that there is wide variations between EAME regions. The lowest investment range is for Middle Eastern Regions. Interesting to highlight that 67% of respondents were operating under contract management since this model represent the trend in hotel management. Particularly important to mention that the increase in “management contract style” within the EAME has consequent impact on Capital Expenditure (CAPEX ) and Operating Expenditure (OPEX).There is a general move towards allocation of IT spend from CAPEX to OPEX (Gartner 2008 ) and particularly in EAME regions, partially attributable to increased “leasing/renting” of both hardware and software and to the IT investment cycle. So while EAME Mediterranean (Italy, Croatia, Israel, Spain, Portugal, Malta) have the highest average IT spend/Room in 2007,920 euros vs. 499 euros for EAME Middle East (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, Syria), EAMA Middle East show the lowest percentages of IT spend as a percentage of operating expenses, 281 euros vs. 610 euros for EAME Mediterranean. As for the GOP/IT , it has an overall average of 36 euros and the highest yielding region is EAME Middle East at 82 euros . With the total revenue Yield to annual IT spend showing the best figures in the Middle East Region and spending mostly focused on Hardware, maintenance, software and license fees indicate clearly that the properties in this area can do a better usage of the Internet opportunities. Small properties can still participate in the game of distribution with allocating resources to consulting expenditure and outsourcing. As benchmark, IT as a percentage expense varies between regions from 1.24%-1.67% this is lower as The Gartner figure of 2.6% for the hospitality and the travel sector and 7.2% for the EAME region. This shows an important gap to fill in the IT but also raises the question on how to distribute the budget over the available alternatives to reach the market. When we take into consideration the major concern of managers expressed in a 2008 survey (Center of hospitality research of Cornell University) when they state human resources and technology issues ahead of economic concerns, we can assume that technology is and should play a more intense role in the decisions of hoteliers. Despite the downturn in the travel industry, online travel bookings in 2009 are projected to grow by 10.5% (travel Industry Association‟s 2009 survey) primarily as a result of the dramatic shift from the offline to the online channel. A hotel‟s competitiveness seems to be strongly linked to the extent of how well it manages its Internet marketing and distribution efforts. The intended and relevant audiences are online, at lower cost and with measurable results. Independent or franchised hotel or resort can stay well ahead of competition and capture new market share with an effective ROI – centric Internet marketing strategy. 7 Smart and proactive hoteliers who utilize best practices in Internet marketing and follow latest trends to their own advantage will define the industry winners and losers in the long term. Guideline actions to adopt the direct online distribution that is the new business model in the hospitality can be : - Invest in Internet marketing to out smart competition to maintain healthy occupancy rate even in economic down turn. - Shift funds from offline to online advertising format and focus on direct response initiatives rather than brand building approaches. Track every dollar spent with sophisticated website analytical and campaign tracking technology (Omniture, DART etc) to make sure to achieve respectable return on ad spend (ROAS) from every campaign. - Build interactive relationships with customers. In the new online environment “own” the customer throughout the travel planning and decision making cycle and not allow the third party online intermediaries to “own” your customers. - Make the direct online channel the centerpiece of Internet strategy of the property since it provides the hotel company with immediate results in a very difficult environment as well as long term competitive advantages. - The leading hospitality brands already enjoy in 2009 a very healthy 76/24 direct vs. indirect online distribution ratio. - A comprehensive Direct Online Channel strategy has the potential of increasing sales and shifting bookings from more expensive distribution channels to the least expensive channel that the hotel website has become. - Optimize the design of the hotel‟s website, because it should speak to two distinct audiences: travel consumers to whom the site must comprehensively describe all aspect of the hotel product and services, and the search engines, for which the site must adhere to best practices related to headers, body copy (keyword density), page titles, key word tags… As a conclusion, we can infer that technology has played and shall be playing a determinant role in changing the classical model through which hoteliers reach their markets. In the last decade of the 20th century, technology has empowered the intermediaries but after 2005 the “proverbial pendulum” has shifted back in favor of hoteliers, with the direct web channel outpacing competitors and any other third party intermediaries. The direct online channel will continue to be the main focus for hoteliers. The industry as a whole has realized that not only has the Internet become the preferred channel for travel consumers to plan and book lodging but the online channel is the cheapest form of distribution. Electronic distribution is now primary business sources and shows regular productivity growth, heightening the emphasis throughout the hotel industry on using the e-distribution channels effectively and maximizing their potential. Internet web sites represent the best alternative independent hotelier should explore when deciding to make full usage of technology in their distribution strategy. However web sites 8 need management, since like GDS, they require several types of information in order to sell lodging – availability, rates, product description. If a site is not powered i.e. does not draw its availability rates and descriptive data from a CRS, switch or GDS then the responsibility to the property is to maintain the information on a day-to-day basis. This commitment cannot be taken lightly. Electronic distribution and, in particular, the Internet is a complex and quickly changing sales environment. In the end, the powerful and productive sales tool called electronic distribution can be effectively employed because fundamental marketing principles apply to it just as they do in every marketing decision. 9 APPENDIX A AN OVERVIEW OF THE FOUR MAJOR GDS SYSTEMS WORLDWIDE (3) 1. Amadeus 2. Galileo. 3. Sabre. 4. Worldspan. Amadeus Founded in 1987 by Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa, and SAS, Amadeus is the youngest of the four GDS companies. Amadeus is a leading global distribution system and technology provider serving the marketing, sales, and distribution needs of the world‟s travel and tourism industries. Its comprehensive data network and database, among the largest of their kind in Europe, serve more than 57,000 travel agency locations and more than 10,500 airline sales offices in some 200 markets worldwide. The system can also provide access to approximately 58,000 hotels and 50 car rental companies serving some 24,000 locations, as well as other provider groups, including ferry, rail, cruise, insurance, and tour operators. Upon its inception, Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa and SAS held equal shares of Amadeus Global Travel Distribution S.A. Shortly after the formation of the company, however, SAS sold its shares to Amadeus Data Processing. The three founder airline shareholders currently hold 59.92% of the company: Air France (23.36%), Iberia (18.28%). And Lufthansa (18.28%). Remaining shares are held publicly. As the youngest of the four GDS companies, Amadeus has done remarkably well during its short tenure. Yet, in many ways, the company remains an anomaly. Amadeus has the greatest number of travel agency locations with the highest productivity per terminal in the world, yet its booking share is Number 3, and its revenues are dwarfed by Sabre and, to a lesser degree, by Galileo. While the company is Number 1 in locations worldwide, serving the greatest number of countries, it provides the fewest U.S. destinations of the top four GDSs. As with its competitors, the future for Amadeus will continue to be linked to the technological and structural changes that are revolutionzing the travel industry. Amadeus appears to be adapting well (albeit cautiously) to the shift of business to the Internet. Having acquired e- Travel, Inc, from Oracle Corporation in July of 2001, Amadeus now has a new business unit dedicated to delivering solutions to e-commerce players worldwide. The e-Travel solutions integrate all components of a managed travel program into a single Internet-based service that enables travelers to book air, car, hotel, and rail services, all within corporate guidelines. With its strong company infrastructure worldwide, impressive product set, and growing customer base, Amadeus is one of the most significant players in shaping the future of the GDS. 10 Galileo International Galileo International was founded in 1993 by 11 major North American and European airlines: Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Olympic Airlines, Swissair, TAP Air Portugal, United Airlines, and US Airways. It is a major player in the GDS business throughout the world: North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia/Pacific region. Galileo International is a diversified, global technology leader. Its core business is providing electronic global distribution services for the travel industry through its computerized reservation systems, leading-edge products and innovative Internet-based solutions. Galileo is a value-added distributor of travel inventory dedicated to supporting its travel agency and corporate customers and, through them, expanding traveler choice. In 1997, Galileo International became a publicly traded company, listed on the New York and Chicago Stock Exchanges. In October of 2001, Cendant Corporation acquired Galileo International for approximately $ 1.8 billion in common stock and cash. Currently, the company is represented in 116 countries, and serves travel agencies at approximately 45,000 locations. Other travel suppliers include 500 airlines, 227 hotel companies, 33 car rental companies, and 368 tour operators. Galileo‟s competitive strengths include market share, well-balanced and global presence, relationships with diverse groups or travel vendors, technologically advanced information systems, highly skilled personnel and a stable product line. Compared to other GDS companies, Galileo is a cautious follower when it comes to technology. However, in response to the growing demand of web-based travel, the company has established successful relationships with entities such as Go, UK‟s best low-cost airline; subsidiaries such as High wire, Inc., providing Internet-based tools and services within the travel industry. Additionally, Galileo has sponsored membership to the THOR Worldwide Negotiated Hotel Rates Program, and has a state-of-the-art development center supplying information and systems support to travel agencies operating more than 178,000 computer terminals, all of which are linked to the Galileo‟s Data Center. Galileo‟s primary weakness, its singular focus on the distribution side of the business is also its perceived strength. Based on its competitive strength , Galileo is pursuing a strategy that includes expanding its global distribution, strengthening customer loyalty, leveraging technology, and capitalizing on opportunities created by increasing Internet use. Galileo sees the GDS industry as having the ability and potential to provide electronic distribution and many components of e-commerce to other industries, and is utilizing its strengths to provide expanding services to its growing customer base. Sabre For more than 40 years, Sabre has been developing innovations and transforming the business of travel. From the original Sabre computer reservations system in the 1960s, 11 to advanced airline yield management systems in the 1980s, to leading travel web sites today, Sabre technology has traveled through time, around the world, and has touched all points of the travel industry. In July of 1996, Sabre became a separate legal entity of AMR (parent company of American Airlines), followed by a successful initial public offering in October in which AMR released approximately 18% of its shares to be publicly traded. Sabre, represented in 45 countries, is a leading provider of technology for the travel industry and provides innovative products that enable travel commerce and services, and enhance airline/supplier operations. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, Sabre connects more than 60,000 travel agency locations around the world, providing content from approximately 400 airlines, 55,000 hotel properties, 52 car rental companies, 9 cruise lines, 33 railroads, and 229 tour operators. In addition to being one of the leading GDS companies, Sabre also provides a broad range of products and services that enhance travel agency operations and their ability to serve the traveler. Sabre-connected travel agencies use Sabre web-based technologies and low-fare finding solutions to create new sales opportunities, drive operational efficiencies, and improve customer service. Among the company‟s recent innovations is Sabre Virtually There, a personalized web site service that automatically gives travelers up- to-the minute details about itineraries, while also providing a wealth of information about their destinations. Sabre owns Travelocity.com, the industry‟s leading online consumer travel web site. In 2001, Travelocity.com‟s 32 million members used the site, generating more than $300 million in revenues. Travelocity.com offers innovative technologies that help consumers find the best air, car, hotel, and vacation reservations. Sabre also owns Get There, a provider of web-based corporate travel procurement, including the purchase more than 800 leading corporations. Sabre‟s competitive strengths include market position, global reach, and stable product line, diversification of revenue streams, and intellectual capital. The Sabre business model is a strong one, and continues to make significant progress in advancing both its electronic travel distribution and its information technology solutions businesses. Revenues have been growing steadily, and the company has embarked on a strategy that fully embraces diversification of its customer base and revenue streams. Sabre is considered to be one of the most significant and competitive GDSs due to the fact that it anticipates and takes advantage of the changes in the information economy and develop innovative practices, leveraging both human resources and technology systems. Worldspan Founded February 7, 1990, World span was originally owned by affiliates of Delta Air Lines, Inc., Northwest Airlines, and Trans World Airlines, Inc. It is currently owned by affiliates of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (40%), Northwest Airlines (34%), and American Airlines, Inc. (26%). Since its 1995 advance into the world of Internet technology for the travel industry, Worldspan has successfully developed the strategies, solutions, and services to ensure the company‟s long-term success in the 12 new web-based world of travel distribution. Worldspan provides worldwide electronic distribution of travel information, Internet products and connectivity, and e-commerce capabilities for travel agencies, travel service providers, and corporations. World span currently serves 20.021 travel agencies in nearly 90 countries and territories. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, World span connects approximately 421 airlines, 210 hotel companies, 40 car rental companies 39 tour and vacation operators, and 44 special travel service suppliers. To escalate the delivery of web-based technologies and services to its customers; Worldspan has forged a number of new partnerships and equity agreements with leading travel technology companies. Resulting technologies, joint developments, and an expanded realm of solutions and Internet travel products are enabling the company and its customers to participate in a spectrum of e-business infrastructure and solutions for the global travel industry; Digital Travel, a global online tour provider; Kinetics, Inc., developer of technology and solutions for the airline industry; Open Table.com, an Internet-enabled restaurant management tools system; and Viator, a major provider of Internet-based content, technology, and distribution services, including data management, hosting, and e-commerce. Additionally, in 2001, Orbitz LLC was launched on the Internet, using Worldspan as its Internet Booking Engine, and in 2002, the launch of Worldspan e-Pricing SM made Worldspan the first GDS to introduce a revolutionary new multi-server-based technology, offering an unprecedented selection of pricing options to all of Worldspan‟s customers. Worldspan has a legacy of industry firsts that are not well known. The company therefore has an opportunity to raise the industry‟s awareness of its accomplishments and more importantly, its future strategy. Worldspan continues to look at benefits of creating its own consumer brand and has been partnering with different companies to expand the services that it can provide to its customer base. Worldspan believes in focusing on its core competencies, and is determined to be perceived as a distribution facilitator across all channels. It is increasingly getting a clearer sense of its capabilities and building its appetite for technical and commercial challenges. Through the company‟s revolutionary e-world ideas, offerings, and services, along with its agility and eagerness in meeting the needs of the travel distribution market on a global scale, Worldspan and its customers are transforming the way travel is distributed, bought, and sold. References 1- Computer Economies (2007) : “IT Spending Staffing and Technology Trends 2007/2008.” 2- “Distribution 101” Resort Management Conference Articles. June 2004 – Bill Peters. 13 3- Gartner (2008) “IT Spending and Staffing Report”. Authors: Michael Smith, Barbara Gomonski. John P. Roberts and Robert D. Souza (Industry Publication). 4- “Global Distribution Systems in Present Times” Samipatra Das. Hotel online Special Report October 2002. 5- “Hotel Revenue Management: Today and Tomorrow” Sharyl E. Kimes Ph.D Cornell University Research Publications. Vol 8 №14. 6- “Hotel Revenue Management in an Economic Downturn: Results From an International Study”. Sheryl E. Kimes PhD Cornell Center for Hospitality research Publications – Volume 9 №12. 7- “Hoteliers 2009 Top Ten Internet Marketing Resolutions” Max Starkov and Jason Price- Hospitality e-Business Strategies Publications. January 2009. 8- Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Publication 2006. 9- “Internet Marketing and Distribution trends Impacting the Hospitality Industry from 2007 – 2010”. By Max Starkov and Jason Price. Hospitality e-Business Strategies (HeBs) Publications July 2007. 10- “It benchmarking at Property Level for Europe, Africa, and Middle East (EAME)” Professor Hilary C. Murphy 2008. Hospitality Research Center. Ecole Hôtelière Lausanne. 11- Info-Tech (2007) Special Report: “Critical budget and staffing Trends for 2007- 2008”. Author: John Sloan. 12- “Lodging companies shifting to Centralized tech” Glenn Haussman. Hotel Interactive 10th year Anniversary Publication July 2007. 13- “Mobile Marketing and Distribution Strategy in Hospitality: The Future is Already Here”. Mariana Mechoso Hospitality e-Business Strategies Publication March 2009. 14- “The Future is already here”. Max Strakov Hospitality e-Business Strategies. August 2009. 15- “Setting Room Rates on Priceline: How to optimize Expected Hotel Revenue” Chris Anderson Ph.D Cornell Hospitality Quarterly Vol. 8 №4. 16- “The Evolving Role of the Central Reservation System” H and A Report. Volume IV – Issue 3 – January/ February 97. 17- „The end of the merchant model as we know it‟ Max Strakov and Jason Price – March 2005 – Hospitality Net Industry News. 18- “Understanding and Maximizing a Hotel‟s Electronic Distribution Options” – John Burns. Hospitality Upgrade-Fall 2000. 14
"Tentative New paper - USJ"