blog

Apr 04

hitting a home run in automation tools

One of the things I love most about technology is discovering industry-changing solutions to problems that we weren’t necessarily even setting out to address.

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That’s what happened recently here at DHISCO. While working on new systems for pushing available hotel rate information, or ARI, to two of our major clients, our technologists developed two new tools to help hotels quickly add and update the content travel companies use to sell their properties – reducing from days to just seconds their ability to add new hotels to our distribution chain.

Called Auto Property Build and Product Automation, we believe these two new tools will prove to be game-changers for hotel distribution, giving hotels fast, convenient ways to provide more comprehensive real-time information about both rate plans and property-specific amenities and features, such as whether they have a restaurant and pool and their hours of operations.

Auto Property Build eliminates the need for hotels to manually enter, or load from spreadsheets, content descriptors when adding new properties to the DHISCO distribution chain. Those new hotels are then pushed directly to DHISCO’s demand partners, as are future updates to that content.

Currently, many hotel companies enter only a portion of the inventory because the process is so cumbersome. For instance, one major chain offers only about 20 percent of its product through DHISCO to its specified partners.

With Auto Property Build, hotel companies can load an average of 100 new properties an hour, or 1.6 per minute, meaning companies of all sizes can easily put much more of their inventory in front of global travel sellers.

With Product Automation, hotels can seamlessly update their content and descriptions, making it simple to offer real-time information about services and amenities, rate plans and cancellation and guarantee policies alongside the real-time rate and availability information in the DHISCO distribution chain. It also enables hotels to load and roll out new rate plans automatically – reducing errors while saving time.

Combined, the two products offer a fully automated solution for on-boarding new properties.

Auto Property Build currently works with our push ARI system but will also be available soon across all of our connectivity methods, which we expect will lead to a dramatic increase in our already huge database of more than 500,000 properties available to travel sellers around the world.

That, of course, will drive increased bookings, which means increased revenue for both hotel suppliers and travel sellers. In fact, the first international hotel chain to implement Auto Property Build in our beta test with a major wholesaler saw more than a 300 percent increase in bookings.

At DHISCO, our main mission is always finding and developing new tools to boost business for both our travel selling and travel buying partners. I’d say the team hit a home run on this one.

– CEO Toni Portmann

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Feb 26

introducing Peakwork, our newest strategic partner

One of our top priorities at DHISCO is to always make sure our customers have access to the best technology.

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That means not only keeping our systems up to date but also teaming up with innovators in the travel distribution space.

That’s why I’m excited to announce we have launched a new interface with Peakwork AG, a German company that offers next-generation, dynamic pricing solutions for packaging leisure travel.

With its unique technology called Player Hub, Peakwork connects leading international tour operators and agents to travel suppliers, enabling them to quickly bundle hotels, flights, car rentals and other amenities.

Peakwork’s solutions provide accurate, real-time, high-performance access to all the travel offers across its worldwide Player Hub network. The system is flexible and able to easily cope with large traffic demands and connections with metasearch partners.

In other words, it’s really cool. When I first saw their demonstration last year at ITB, I knew they’d be great to team up with.

We did. And now Peakwork has developed a new API to DHISCO’s seamless and push ARI connections with its Player Hub Technology and will now be able to extend this connectivity to its network of travel sales partners. Their initial launch is with DER Touristik Group, a Frankfurt, Germany-based travel group.

It’s the kind of strategic alliance we call a “win-win.”

As Peakwork CEO Jan Gerlach says, the partnership enables Peakwork to leverage its unique technology to give its clients access to real-time rate and availability information from DHISCO’s more than 500,000 hotel partners around the globe. It’s also key to Peakwork’s goal of expanding bookings across America and Europe.

And that, of course, is a big win for our hotel partners, who are now connected to this fast, accurate, leading-edge digital travel network and its important audience of travel buyers.

As I said, we first connected with Peakwork at ITB, which underscores the importance of networking. That’s why we’ll be attending ITB in Berlin again next week, to keep up those all-important connections with our partners, competitors and startups.

If you’re there, please stop by our booth (Hall 8.1 Stand # 135) and say hello. We’d love to chat about what we’re doing right, what we can do better and compare notes and ideas about the next best solutions for travel distribution technology.

– CEO Toni Portmann

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Jan 22

tapping the world’s no. 1 outbound travel market

We’ve long been hearing about the importance of Chinese travelers, as China consistently ranks as the No. 1 market for outbound tourism.

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According to the China National Tourism Administration, Chinese tourists made 62 million outbound trips in the first half of 2017, an increase of 5 percent over the same period last year and more than any other country in the world. That number is expected to increase again by 4 percent when final 2017 numbers are tallied.

Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is the fact Chinese tourism officials say only 10 percent of Chinese even have passports, which underscores the phenomenal impact Chinese tourists will continue to have on the global tourism industry.

Given the language and cultural barriers, one of the top priorities for Western hotel companies today is finding effective ways to tap into this market. After all, more and more Chinese tourists are traveling beyond Asia to the United States and Europe.

Hotels.com’s Chinese International Travel Monitor projects the U.S. will become an increasingly popular destination for Chinese travelers, ranking only behind France among international destinations this year. So getting Western brands front and center is key.

That’s why we are so excited to announce our new partnership with CHINAonline, which is one of China’s original online travel distribution platforms and has direct connections to more than 60 of the country’s leading travel websites, wholesalers and tour operators.

This partnership makes it easier for hotel companies to put their inventory and brands before the top travel sellers in China. And it’s just the beginning of what we hope will be a more expanded alliance with CHINAonline in the future.

With the DHISCO link, CHINAonline can now offer travel sellers and consumers access to natural language content and real-time rate and availability information from DHISCO’s more than 514,000 hotel partners around the world.

As CHINAonline Managing Director Anson Lau says, this partnership literally opens the world to Chinese distributors and the huge market they serve.

So exactly how big is that market? Phocuswright’s Maggie Rauch told the Onyx CenterSource FutureSource 2017 conference that she expects the total Chinese travel market to reach $165 billion this year, representing 42 percent of the Asia-Pacific region. So, obviously, we are thrilled to offer our partners a new way to tap into this key and growing market.

The partnership between DHISCO and CHINAonline makes perfect sense. DHISCO brings unmatched global hotel distribution depth and breadth while CHINAonline offers unsurpassed distribution reach in the rapidly growing Chinese market.

– CEO Toni Portmann

 

 

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Dec 20

looking forward to another successful, opportunity-filled year

As we prepare to close the books on another productive year, I want to, first, thank all of our friends and partners for making 2017 a success, and wish you all happy holidays and a prosperous New Year.

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It’s been another year of exciting opportunity, growth and, of course, challenge as we’ve navigated the fast-changing hospitality distribution landscape, developing new solutions for today while keeping a close eye out for disruptors on the horizon.

Much of the talk in tech circles this year has focused on artificial intelligence, big data and the so-called internet of things. The potential for these technologies is huge. And we are just beginning to uncover all the ways they can be applied in the travel and hospitality distribution sectors.

At the same time, however, we are hearing more and more about things like blockchain, which most us are still trying to wrap our heads around, let alone be able to predict its impact on and potential uses in distribution. We’ll be keeping an eye on the blockchain developments.

We will also be focused heavily on our continued collaboration with industry partners, through groups like HEDNA and on our own, to continue finding ways to keep delivering the best and most accurate rates along with the richest content.

In 2017, I am proud to say, we built a new data center that significantly improved capacity, response times and growth potential, and we are now handling more than 16 billion transactions a month.

And we are looking forward to announcing new products and partnerships to benefit us all in the year ahead.

We will also be continuing our global travels, making sure we maintain those all-important personal connections that enable us to build real, collaborative relationships while also identifying new challenges and new opportunities.

Our first stop in 2018 will be HEDNA. If we don’t see you there, we hope to see you soon.

– CEO Toni Portmann

 

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Nov 27

assessing the boom in travel startups

With all the disruption we’re seeing in travel these days, it wasn’t surprising to read that Phocuswright research shows we are in an unprecedented period of opportunity for travel startups.

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According to their report, “The State of Travel Startups 2017,” a flood of travel-focused investors, incubators and other entrepreneurial support programs have given $62 billion to 1,497 travel startups since 2005.

While a lot of that has been poured into mobile and the sharing economy, the report says early-stage companies across a wide spectrum of categories, from search and data analytics to social networking and rich media, are getting more support than ever.

Importantly, however, the report notes that while “the price of entry for startups has never been lower, the price of success (has) never (been) higher.”

So what’s working and what’s not? According to Phocuswright, 392, or 26 percent, of the startups tracked have closed. And those farthest away from the actual transaction had the highest rates of failure.

The report categorized the companies by vertical, with the traditional lodging, air, tours, cruises and ground transportation -- as well as private accommodations -- all logging failure rates below 20 percent. At the same time, companies at the top of the booking funnel categories like “inspiration” and “itinerary” had a failure rate above 40 percent.

In other words, the further away from the transaction they are, the less likely they may be to generate revenue and survive, the report says.

That’s certainly valuable information for entrepreneurs and investors looking at travel startups going forward. Because after all, startups are always a risky venture. And in travel they are competing with established giants who are also focused on new growth areas,  

With so many new ideas and technologies, and the fast pace of change, hopefully Phocuswright and others will keep digging deeper to give us more insight and metrics behind the companies that excelled vs. those that failed. For instance, did the size of investment play a role? What other factors, both internal and external, are at play? And what conclusions can be drawn to help startups maximize their chances for success?

These are indeed exciting times for the travel technology space. But the fast pace of change also creates huge challenges. Thanks to the bright minds and ongoing analysis and trends from organizations like Phocuswright, it’s just a little bit easier for us all to remain relevant and competitive.

– CEO Toni Portmann

 

 

 

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