Andrew Cox, Sabre Hospitality, smiling

Andrew Cox

Sabre Hospitality Solutions plans to double its Asia Pacific business over the next two years with growth fuelled by the regional hotel building boom, increasing interest from Online Travel Agents and strong demand for new inventory management and distribution products.

Vice President Business Development Asia Pacific, Andrew Cox, predicted many of the new signings will come from existing client’s properties while the proliferation of hotel openings offers enormous opportunity.

“We’ve got a solid strategy in place and certainly believe this goal is achievable,” said Mr Cox, who recently transferred to SHS from Travelocity, where he was in charge of regional hotel contracting and client management.

“We have been thought of as a traditional CRS or GDS but now our partners are realising we’re much more than that with.”

Web-based booking management and distribution tools are probably the company’s biggest business driver these days.

Mr Cox said this gives SHS excellent insights into accommodation browsing and transaction trends by consumers, who he said are increasingly booking direct with hotels over Online Travel Agents.

He said the biggest trend is undoubtedly the need for speed among increasingly impatient consumers.

“Being able to transact quickly is what consumers are after,” Mr Cox said.

“The standard page load tolerance for normal customers is two to five seconds – anything longer than that and the page abandon rate doubles or triples.

Because of this “there needs to be an easily visible call to action and it has to be quick and easy to understand”.

Looking ahead, Mr Cox believes personalisation – tailoring offers and experience to users based on their browsing patterns – will become increasingly important to improve user experience.

But doing this quickly and effectively is a challenge given the enormous amount of data that needs to be crunched to ensure “true personalisation”.

“We also can’t have a conversation on hotel web trends without discussing meta-search, which is taking on a life of its own, especially with the new TripAdvisor search functionality,” Mr Cox said.

“I think there’s so much noise out there for consumers and that’s why meta-search is becoming more popular.

“Many hoteliers also prefer it over Online Travel Agents because their own brand can be offered as a booking option.”

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