WorldRes Woos Trade With WO

Tech company aims for 20% of its bookings to come via new code in GDSs

By: David Peterkofsky’s WO chain code for agents, rolled out in June on most of the major GDSs, could eventually account for one-fifth of all hotel reservations made through the company’s technology, according to a WorldRes executive.

The San Mateo, Calif., firm’s main focus remains the real-time distribution of its hotel customers’ rooms via the Internet, said Kurt Weinsheimer, vice president of marketing. But the debut of WO in multiple GDSs is the company’s first wide-scale agent-oriented initiative.

Weinsheimer said company officials are pleased with agents’ use of WO thus far, and they hope it will grow as travel agents become more aware of the WO code.

WorldRes offers the WO chain code in Galileo/Apollo, Worldspan and Sabre. The company plans to offer WO in Amadeus by the first quarter of 2003.

“Our main target is travel agents interested in increasing the leisure business they’re doing,” Weinsheimer said. “Independent hotels in leisure destinations are not well-covered traditionally in the GDS. We want to be able to provide that for travel agents so they can offer a wider range of products to their customers.”

Most of WorldRes’ hotel clientele comprises small or independent properties of 50 rooms or more the types of hotels that historically have been absent from the GDS due to either the cost of the technology or the fees of associating with a rep firm. WorldRes has chosen to specifically focus on destinations that either have easy access to an airport or are fairly close to a major metropolis.

Hotels in those spots make up the bulk of the 1,500 properties available to agents through WO.

“The top destinations we’ve been seeing don’t mirror the top destinations in the GDSs, but they are in line with what we expected to see,” said Weinsheimer, citing Jackson Hole, Wyo., Monterey, Calif., and Aspen, Colo., as examples of top-selling areas on WO. Ultimately, WorldRes plans to bring 3,000 to 4,000 properties online through the WO chain code.

Weinsheimer also stressed that all hotels listed on WO pay agents full commission, which he said should alleviate some retailers’ concerns about booking smaller, independent properties.

“Every hotel that signs on must agree to pay 10% commission,” he said, noting that WorldRes does not participate in commission payout processes.

“If they have trouble with it, we take them off. It’s not good for the hotel, and it’s not good for the travel agents.”

The smallest of WorldRes’ hotel clients, who don’t pay agents’ commissions, can be booked via the GDS through a different chain code, WS.

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