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Every hotel needs a GDS

23 November 2006

Your valuable overview of the services offered by leading providers of global distribution systems (Caterer, 26 October, page 52) made a strong case for more UK hotels to become part of this booming worldwide electronic marketplace.

Whether to participate or not is hardly a question of cost. For instance, our own Sky Hotels sub-brand offers small or independent properties the chance to be promoted internationally through 600,000 travel agency terminals and 10,000 internet portals from just £20 a month plus reservation fees.

No, the real issue is that of continuing "technophobia" that seems to affect many in the hotel industry. Some hotels are lazy when it comes to displaying their day-by-day availability, and close out for long periods ahead because, historically, they "tend to be full". Often only one member of the reservations team is designated as the
e-specialist, and such staffing inflexibility makes regular updating less likely.

I believe that almost every UK hotel should now be integrated within a GDS system. Yet some hoteliers still think in old-fashioned terms of countable replies to local advertisements, and overlook the "global showroom" dimension offered through this virtual marketing.

Niels Pedersen
Managing director, Supranational Hotels, London

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