Clients now can configure Yapta to automatically rebook hotel rooms at lower rates in a variety of scenarios. These include when Yapta finds a better option with the same rate code, or another negotiated rate that’s lower, or the same room type, the same or a better cancellation policy or the same or better amenities.
After finding a better rate in the Sabre global distribution system (and soon Apollo), Yapta modifies the GDS passenger name record, sends the information to the hotel and receives a confirmation. The process uses Sabre’s API, according to Yapta chief product and services officer Valerie Layman. That connection “handles the modifications with the hotels and then provides the confirmation back to us,” she explained. “It’s the same process an agent would use if they were to modify an existing reservation.” The confirmation number does not change.
In some situations, clients may prefer to have certain rebookings routed to an agent for review. “For travel managers, it is important that we are clear and precise with what we are rebooking,” Layman said. “The only potential [problem] is the hotel may not confirm. So we do our own quality check and revert if there’s no confirmation.”
Competitor Tripbam also automates hotel rebooking.
Midsize agencies stand to benefit most from automated rebooking. The biggest ones have larger agent pools, whereas it’s “harder for a midsize TMC to ramp up agent support,” Layman said.
Corporate clients interested in hotel rebooking tend to ease into it, according to Layman. They hold off on switching room type or bed type but “usually don’t care about the rate code as long as they are getting a better rate,” she said. “Then they see how much savings is available” and start considering other rebooking opportunities. Yapta’s system looks for better rates only at the same property.
Yapta already provided touchless airfare rebooking as part of its price assurance services.
Tripbam searches for rates at nearby hotels as well as the one a traveler already booked. It has had automated hotel rebooking for almost two years. “The key is having a high level of confidence that the rate you’re offering meets exactly the companies’ criteria (bed, room, amenities, cancel policy, etc.),” said CEO Steve Reynolds. “The one time you rebook a VIP into a double bed and lose their Concierge floor room, you’re toast.”
He said touchless should mean automated reshopping and filtering, rebooking, file finishing, documenting and invoicing.
A BCD Travel spokesperson said a standard, no-cost version of Tripbam with preset rules was in use at “hundreds” of clients. BCD will start using Tripbam’s auto-rebooking option “next week.” Deeper integration and more features will come in via the BCD Hotel API “over the coming months.”