First and Foremost to launch real-time link between ME hotels and tour operators at ATM

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Dubai-based hospitality and travel group company First and Foremost Travel Connections, is launching a dynamic B2B hotel booking system at Arabian Travel Market 2019, having recently signed a partnership agreement with UK hotel and travel distribution company Centrium Systems.

“We will market Centrium’s cloud-based software, throughout the Middle East, Indian Ocean, SE Asia and Africa. Through its XML gateway, we can provide direct connectivity between hotels and resorts and contracted blue chip tour operators, many of which feature international brands.

“In addition, we can offer real time availability, instant, dynamic rate adjustment, up-to-date inventory control, along with instant reservation and confirmation,” commented Michael Scully, Managing Director, First and Foremost Hospitality Group.

“The travel industry is a highly fragmented market with an overwhelming number of wholesalers and tour operators, each with their own specifications, policies and procedures. As such it is Centrium’s simplicity and effectiveness that are the keys to its success,” added Scully.

Centrium accommodates a much simpler and most importantly, a cost-effective and time sensitive shortcut to integrate disparate channels, by acting as a single hub or gateway for multiple hotel wholesalers. The gateway requires minimal installation and can also be connected to any existing booking engine or GDS.

“Centrium’s distribution model reaches over 100 tour operators, 6,000 travel agents and through more than 100 direct connections interfaces with major tour operators such as British Airways Holidays, Virgin Holidays and dnata, to name but a few,” said Scully.

With increased visibility and direct connectivity between hotels and tour operators, hotels can offer tour operators an open inventory, giving them access to the hotel’s inventory through their property management system (PMS) to make direct bookings from their allocation or to free-sell through to last available room. At the same time, hotels can make instant rate adjustments, direct to a global market.

The arrangement also promotes a win-win situation for both hotels and tour operators, with an instant and direct reservation and confirmation function, each party can still maintain their own individual client relationship.

“Moreover, the largest tour operators are already contracted into the Centrium system so bookings are made directly with them, not via a third party,” explained Scully.

First and Foremost, will initially target individual hotels, small hotel groups, destination management companies (DMCs), government tourism bodies and hotel associations, secure in the knowledge that the Centrium system has been operating successfully for the last 12 years – mainly between the Caribbean and United Kingdom and now generates over $100 million in annual turnover.

The return especially for smaller independent properties is significant. Many hotels that have already signed-up have experienced increased resort sales of between 15 and 25%.

“Hotels and destinations are selling direct and acting as principles both in a tour operator and agent capacity, which is now trending. 92% of the global hotel stock is now connected and hoteliers want a streamlined solution to distribution and in terms of the bottom line, the less hoteliers and tour operators have to rely on third party distributors, the more likely they are to improve their margins,” said Scully.

eTN is a media partner for ATM.

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