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Pegasus Solutions develops new technology to streamline online hotel booking

Pegasus Solutions is leading a concerted effort to help hotel chains manage the hypergrowth of reservation-related transactions generated by major…

Pegasus Solutions is leading a concerted effort to help hotel chains manage the hypergrowth of reservation-related transactions generated by major travel Web sites. A key component of this initiative is Pegasus` multi-million dollar investment in the development of new technology designed to enhance efficiency in the online hotel booking process. Pegasus intends to offer the new technology to its hotel and online travel agency customers during the first quarter of 2003.



The technology is designed to ease the strain on hotel central reservations systems (CRSs) by streamlining transactions, helping hotels maximize efficiency from their existing reservations infrastructure. As hotel chains begin to allocate additional financial and technical resources to accommodate the continuing rise in the number of online shoppers, the new Pegasus technology has the potential to minimize the costs hoteliers incur as they contemplate CRS capacity upgrades.



THE ISSUE



In a November 2002 letter to hotel customers, Pegasus Solutions Chairman and CEO John F. Davis III discussed the burden that online travel agencies are placing on existing hotel infrastructures. A key feature of many successful Internet shopping sites is the presentation of a large amount of hotel information to the consumer, particularly rate and availability information, Davis said. To get this data, many more room availability request messages are sent to hotel CRSs so the site can present optimum comparison shopping in rapid fashion. We have coined this proliferation of availability transactions `availability bursting.`



In the early days of the Internet – only a couple of years ago – a typical booking site required about 25 availability messages to generate one booking,
Davis continued. Today, it`s not uncommon for Internet sites to drive as many as 200 to 300 availability requests per booking. On some days, we see 1,000 per booking. That`s a lot of churning of transactions to accomplish just one booking.



Pegasus Senior Vice President of Reservation Services Kevin Short added, This issue particularly affects hotel chains and franchisees with numerous properties in large metropolitan areas, motivating hotel companies to work with Pegasus on devising strategies to handle today`s booking volume and the anticipated growth to come. PhoCusWright predicts that the overall percentage of rooms booked online will grow from an estimated 9 percent in 2002 to 20 percent in 2005.



With the goal of streamlining the reservation process and decreasing hotels` look-to-book ratio, Pegasus` new technology, known as the Shopping Engine, provides both hotels and online travel agencies with alternatives to the traditional availability bursting process.



BENEFIT TO HOTELS AND TRAVEL INTERNET SITES



For hotels, the Pegasus functionality is designed to protect their CRSs from bursts of availability messages through the use of a new rate and availability engine that is dynamically updated in real time. Another option for Pegasus customers includes functionality that creates a lighter transaction format containing only the minimum data needed for processing availability requests.



For online travel sites, Pegasus` new technology enables the sites to consolidate multiple room availability requests into one streamlined transaction, stripping out non-essential data, thereby lessening the load on both the Web sites as well as the hotel CRSs. With the use of Pegasus` technology, both hotels and online travel sites will be able to provide faster response times for the consumer. In addition to speed enhancements, the Shopping Engine allows delivery of more relevant, precise information to the consumer in textual formats designed specifically for travel Web sites.



Commenting on the new technology, Six Continents Hotels Director of Distribution Planning Andrew Rubinacci said, This new application is a crucial part of our online distribution plans for 2003 and beyond. Today, a request for a hotel room in Chicago from a major travel Web site requires more than 40 CRS transactions for our properties. Pegasus` Shopping Engine technology condenses the process to a single transaction – reducing the burden on our existing systems and limiting the amount of resources we`ll have to allocate to scale our systems for the continuing growth of online booking.



The first hotel companies to use the new Pegasus` technology include Carlson Hospitality Worldwide, Marriott International Inc., and Six Continents Hotels. Each hotel company is making minor alterations to their respective electronic distribution procedures and reservation systems to accommodate the new Shopping Engine functionality. Pegasus is also working with several leading travel Web sites, including Orbitz, the Alliance Reservations Network, and Interactive Hotel Solutions (formerly NetAdvantage,), as well as establishing communications procedures to help keep hoteliers abreast of any new online travel agency functionality and/or promotions that could affect the flow of availability requests to their properties.



The introduction of this technology is a significant milestone for our industry, said Mr. Short. As the first link in the distribution chain to be impacted by availability bursting, we are particularly pleased with the joint effort from hoteliers and online travel agencies that was critical to the creation of this new technology. This project marks one of Pegasus` several ongoing initiatives to streamline the evolving arena of online hotel reservations and proactively deliver solutions that ensure the efficient growth of this vital distribution pipeline.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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