THE importance of having a strong technology development culture – rather than just using other off the shelf solutions – has been vividly demonstrated with The Lido Group winning the massive Defence Department accommodation account, worth between $20 million and $30 million a year.

Lido, Australia’s biggest accommodation broker, has developed a strong suite of inhouse technology products, including its own specialist booking technology and distribution system, known as E-GAPP, which General Manager Matt Tyler said was a major factor in the account win.

Tyler added that Lido made the decision five years ago to develop its own technology rather than relying on suppliers such as the GDS, a move that is now paying off as the company moves increasingly into product distribution. Having an inhouse technology capability also allows Lido to develop customised interfaces with partner companies (including the GDS).

In related news, Tyler said Lido is interested in signing up new properties interested in Defence Department business to E-GAPP. "This means that even the smaller operators in country locations can be part of the program,” he said.

At last count, 50,000 Defence staff had travel cards – making it the largest acommodation account in the country. Qantas Business Travel will continue handling other elements of the Department’s travel program, such as air and car (with Hertz the preferred supplier).

Travel Trends: July 19, 2007

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