For the hotel industry, distribution is at the core of revenue success. However, over the last 10 years, in the hospitality industry, the distribution technology has remained more or less the same. There is fragmentation, information overload and friction-points at each point of the distribution journey. The systems do not talk to each other due to which the data remains in silos leading to missed opportunities. Currently available distribution technologies solve for basic distribution of ARI & receiving reservations but do not optimize on multiple touch points involved in distribution.
Smart Distribution is an attempt to make distribution smarter across various steps. It leverages artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to discover new demand and expedite mapping along with channel setup. One of the touch points is mapping and channel manager setup. This is still manually done & takes a few weeks. This is also error prone given it is a manual process.
In simplistic terms, mapping is the process through which different products (in terms of room types, rate types and inclusions) offered at your property are tied to the ones that are displayed on the OTA that your property is listed on.
Overall mapping process is very time consuming & painful. This process becomes a lot more tedious and complex when you consider the number of OTAs your property is listed on, the number of room types and rate types your property has and the different inclusions that you provide for your guests.
Room Rate Mapping
Room Rate mapping is where things can get really complicated. Rooms are comparatively simple to map as there is a limited number of room types in a property. However, with rate plans, there can be a few to hundreds.
For example, Rate in a PMS includes:
- Breakfast Rate
- Room Only Rate
- Advanced Purchase
- Advanced Purchase with Breakfast
Rate in an OTA includes:
- Non Refundable
- Advanced Purchase
Here, we can see that it looks unrelated. Room rate mapping would also include some other attributes such as occupancy, breakfast etc. thereby, adding more complexity
What happens when a mapping goes wrong?
Mixed up and inaccurate mapping of rooms on PMS and OTA will cause price mis-match. This means if a guest books a standard room which is inaccurately mapped with a superior room on the OTA, the hotelier will end up incurring a loss as the guest will end up booking a superior room at the price of standard room. This will lead to another issue in terms of how the booking will flow from the OTA back to Hotel PMS. The booking of Superior Room will flow back to PMS as a "Standard Room" and will eventually lead to poor guest experience. This will also impact meal rates, cancellation policy &room type. All this not only leads to revenue leakage, but also a dissatisfied guest which inversely affects the brand image.
What could be a solution to the Mapping problem?
It offers an AI-based mapping recommender which helps hoteliers to focus on increasing revenues rather than just mapping rooms for hours. It helps in expediting the whole process by automatically mapping room rates across channels and reducing manual efforts by 80%.
In our interactions with hoteliers and demand partners, one of the key pain points that they highlight is mapping, especially when they are connected to over 15 OTAs, each with their own unique nomenclature, policies and inclusions. We also receive a significant number of support tickets every month that deal with mapping issues, incorrect mapping or missed mappings, all directly resulting in revenue leakage and sometimes impacting the brand image as well.
Before Mapping Recommender, mapping was a completely manual process that was done by the hoteliers. With the numerous possible combinations (Number of connected OTAs X Number of room types X Number of rate types X Occupancies X Other Inclusions X Seasons) that one has to go through, hoteliers would need a few days to complete the mapping exercise. Even with days invested in mapping, the chances of incorrect mapping or missed mapping for a few possible combinations is inevitable considering the complexity of the process.
Smart Distribution's AI-based Mapping Recommender
learns mapping definitions across OTAs using room names, rate names, codes & historical data to automatically complete the mapping exercise for newly added channels, rooms and rates. It smartly creates room to room mapping & rate to rate mapping. The only manual effort that is left after this is that of proof reading the mapping that has been done automatically and then approving it by a single click of a button. This means that what used to take days can now be achieved in just a few minutes, and that too with accuracy.
What pain points does mapping recommender solves for Hoteliers?
Mapping recommender removes the days of manual effort that goes into mapping the right room type - rate type combinations along with other inclusions like breakfast and occupancies for each of the connected OTAs. Its algorithm driven mapping eliminates the chances of mapping errors and also makes sure that there are no unmapped room/rate types.
After using Mapping Recommender, hoteliers have been able to take their mind off of mapping issues and concentrate more on overall distribution strategy. Also, the instances of tickets related to mapping issues have gone down drastically.
Room rate mapping is one of the most critical steps in setting up your hotel distribution technology ecosystem. Mapping recommender, as a part of our "Smart Distribution" offering aims at making it frictionless. Our mission is to simplify distribution & help hoteliers generate more revenue. This is one step in that direction.
RateGain Travel Technologies Limited is a global provider of SaaS solutions for travel and hospitality that works with 2800+ customers and 700+ partners in 100+ countries, helping them accelerate revenue generation through acquisition, retention, and wallet share expansion.
RateGain today is one of the world's largest processors of electronic transactions, price points, and travel intent data, helping revenue management, distribution, and marketing teams across hotels, airlines, meta-search companies, package providers, car rentals, travel management companies, cruises, and ferries drive better outcomes for their businesses. Founded in 2004 and headquartered in India, today RateGain works with the Top 23 of 30 Hotel Chains, the Top 25 of 30 Online Travel Agents, and all the top car rentals, including 8 Global Fortune 500 companies, in unlocking new revenue every day. For more information, please visit www.rategain.com.
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