Channel connects hotels to travel agents direct
A new B2B booking channel, Travia, designed specifically for travel agents across the globe to book accommodation, is coming to South Africa. It’s designed for properties wanting to increase their travel agent sales through alternatives to the large room aggregators.
Sverrir Steinn Sverrison, a co-founder of Travia’s mother company, the Icelandic company Godo, told Tourism Update that in essence, what Travia did was that it made hotels very visible in the travel agency market.
This is great news for local accommodation providers, from small B&Bs to large hotels – especially for those who would love to reduce their dependency on the large ‘OTA’ room aggregators.
Now, South African properties of all sizes can achieve wide B2B reach across the globe without having to participate in those mega-sites that dominate the market. And they will be able to accept bookings from travel agents without having the hassle of all the manual processes involved in a telephonic or email booking – this will undoubtedly save participating hotels time, plus it will minimise errors and remove uncertainty around availability and pricing.
Travia allows member properties to accept bookings via their own websites, and that means bookings for rooms, plus activities and tours (if the property so desires).
There are no sign-up fees nor monthly fees, neither for the properties nor for agencies. Hotels are charged a small fee for each booking – around R15 (€0.8) for each booked night – and agencies pay a similar fee per booked night.
Travel agencies view live inventory in the channel, which has a simple dynamic pricing model. The properties have full power over what is displayed to an agency brand and agencies get a customised view of contracted rates and/or BAR rates. The contracting and negotiation between property (or group) and the agency is done on the system.
Sverrison told Tourism Update that in his native country, Iceland, Travia had already risen to become the largest B2B hotel channel. He said that, despite their geographic distance, there were tourism similarities between Iceland and South Africa: Both countries are travel-agent-heavy and both are considered exotic destinations. Both countries are visited for a ‘longer’ time period (one to two weeks). Also, it is more likely that travellers use travel agents to book their holidays in both countries than, for example, when they book a weekend trip to London, Paris or similar destinations.
The company is already building its South African inventory, which will incorporate content from Nightsbridge, eRes and Siteminder.
Sverrison is shortly to visit South Africa to hold talks with local travel agency consortiums and groups. Travia is simultaneously entering the Nordic market area, including Norway, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
The Travia booking engine is offered in South Africa through Go4itAfrica’s Web builder tool. Contact James Elstob: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Kate Nathan