ABC Global Services in the coming months plans to use a new GDS rate code for special hotel offers. This type of promotional activity isn’t unique among travel agency consortia, but ABC expects its size and reach to result in some differentiation.
According to ABC CEO Eric Altschul, traditional promotional rate programs usually require chains to provide offers across the entire brand. That means the offer “has to be generic enough to appeal to all properties,” he said. These programs usually levy a fee on participating hotels. While they are available only to consortia members, they often have market parity, Altshul said. In other words they are “typically available to all the consortia with whom a chain works.”
ABC will continue to offer its traditional program, which includes almost 50,000 hotel properties. Its new, no-fee program, called Unique Lodging Benefits, presents a distinct model, according to Altschul. Hoteliers can float offers by brand, geography or property, resulting in “many more unique and rich offers based on specific needs,” he said. These offers will be available only through the ABC program, though any TMC or corporate account can jump on.
Altschul said the special rates must be deeply discounted and/or inclusive of more amenities than usual. “They are the best of the best, and hotels can really ring-fence and yield manage,” Altschul said. He gave the example of a hotel facing a group cancellation and needs to unload the unused inventory. Another hypothetical scenario is a desire to fill more rooms on Friday nights in July.
Meanwhile, ABC’s hotel sourcing service helped 77 midmarket clients with 2019 rates, many through travel agencies that white-labeled the service. Called HotelConnex, the service added a “low-cost” rate auditing solution.
ABC also is about ready to launch an airline commission program. To be made available first to a select group of travel agency clients, the program covers more than a dozen international airlines.