Posted Under : Blog,Hotel Booking System
- Posted by :TravelOTAs
- Date : Apr 14, 2017
Hotel Extranet – is a limited access provided to the hoteliers by the distribution channel (OTA), by providing a unique login & password to the hoteliers. Hotel Extranet stands for hotel central reservation system and is commonly used in resort and hotel industry.
This unables the hotelier access their room inventory & rate management / amendments, where the hotelier is able to add or less their room inventory and apply the dynamic rate for their room category, so that these changes will be available for that OTA web visitor.
It is a computerized system that revolves around storage and distribution of information concerning resorts, hotels and host of lodging facilities.
These bookings are integrated to inform the hotelier either by fax or email. These reservations / bookings are reviewed by the concerned reservation assistance in that hotel who further blocks the said room on their PMS manually. Till these OTA bookings are not feed manually in the hotel PMS, the hotel team is ignorant about the booking and the occupancy is not altered by the PMS.
Hotels Extranet system Key Features
Hotel extranet as a tool is used to reach the global distribution system or GDS along with internet distribution system from a single point system. Hotel managers use this tool to manage their online sales and marketing avenues. They also project their rates and availabilities which are easily viewable by the sales channel.
Some of the primary functions in hotel extranet as below:-
- Fully flexible and scalable for growing business.
- Platform which is easier to use.
- Manageability of rates, availability and content or information from single point of entry.
- Connectivity of hotels to GDS, online travel agents as well as mobile booking engines.
- Multiple distribution channels emphasized with channel manager usage.
- Deal with Room Facilities.
- Handle Offers, like Early bird, free nights, special discount, room upgrade, long stay, discount rates etc..
- Take care of supplements, mandatory or optional supplements.
- Auto email & SMS alerts for booking confirmation and verification.
- Utilize content as per your requirement and local marketing
Number of connected channels
Can a channel management tool manage your rates/ inventory across all of the channels you need to manage? How many connected channels are there available in total?
Not that you are looking to connect all distribution channels that exist around the globe, however this number does give you good insight in the dedication to develop connections based on hotelier demand. In addition to this will allow you to see how many channels that you are already working with you may still have to manage separately.
Number of concurrently manageable channels
How many channels can you manage concurrently via the channel management tool? And how many room types can you manage concurrently on each of these channels? The more channels and the more room types you manage simultaneously, the more information will be transferred through a channel management system towards all kinds of extranets, each operating at a different speed. The more information is transferred, the higher the pressure on performance and speed. There is a limit. There is always a limit. Ask for it.
Ease of connecting a new channel
Three questions to keep in mind here:
1. How long does it approximately take to add a channel to the set of channels that you are managing?
2. What if you want to add a new channel that’s not in the list of connected channels yet? This is more complex as building a new connection between a channel management tool and a distributor takes more technological effort and time for programming.
3. On what basis does the channel management provider select channels that they will build connections to? Are there any requirements, for example a minimum number of hotels that requested the connection to be built?
What type of connections does the channel management tool have with 3rd parties?
Please do realize that there are plenty of channels out there, and many of them are not capable of building XML links to send rates and inventory to channel management tools.
So are the connections XML-based? Or is it maybe a spider technology (also known as screen scraping) that sends and/ or retrieves data from extranets?
Push versus pull and push
Items to consider:
- Can the channel management system pull data from extranets easily and quickly?
- If it does not pull data, how can you get an overview of your inventory and rates distributed over all extranets?
- Consider, that if you can’t see how many room you have left on your sales channels, how do you know whether you’re visible on the channel for sales? What if your top channel sold your rooms, and you forget that you need to replenish inventory?
If you use a push-only system, you will simply not be able to read what data you have loaded across different channels.
General Extranet functionalities
Can you manage the following information simultaneously and easily?
- Minimum Length of Stay (MLOS)
- Stop sell (option that avoids cancelled rooms to be returned into inventory available for sales)
- Closed to Departure/ Arrival
Advanced extranet functionality
What if there are other restrictions available at extranet level, specific to 1 extranet only, how is that displayed in the Channel Management tool? Ideally the rules of each individual extranet are built in. Examples of this type of restrictions would be:
- Closed to Departure (COD)
- Closed to Arrival
- Minimum stay through
- Per person supplement
- Free sale
- Breakfast option
Can you mark event dates in the system, so that people that use the system are notified about the importance of certain dates they’re managing?
Managing periods of time
Ask the following:
- How far out can you manage your inventory? Can you manage inventory as far as you have loaded inventory? Can you load new inventory and new rates for extranets that allow this specifically?
- How many days can you manage simultaneously? Is there a limit? 3 days? A week? A month? More? The more days are managed simultaneously, the bigger the challenge to maintain system stability.
There is a logic behind this stability challenge. First of all, the more dates you manage, the more data need to be sent out simultaneously. A quick calculation, covering rate changes for:
- 25 days
- 15 channels
- 3 room types per channel
- 2 rate plans per room type
That’s a quick total of 2,250 changes. That is a lot of information running through your internet connection to all these extranets.
Things get really tricky when passing the 30-day limit. Most extranets do not accept data for more than 1 month simultaneously. This obviously has a huge influence on system speed.
So beware when you’re told that you can manage an unlimited amount of days simultaneously through your channel manager.
Training and support
Is a systems training provided after you purchase the system? By whom? Can you get multiple trainings if required for your team?
And what kind of customer support is provided when you have technical challenges? How does support work? How can you report technical challenges? And how will you be notified about solutions? How fast?
User levels and access rights
- Can you have multiple user levels for different people or departments?
- Can you for example create a user level that allows access to inventory management only? For example, for the front office if they need to close sales on a last minute basis?
We’ll be back with more detailed insight in rate and inventory management via a channel management tool.