An online, real-time booking platform launched late last month is boosting the ability of tourism providers to sell a wide range of tourism products and services, both at home and abroad.
Tourism Exchange New Zealand “brings buyers to sellers over the internet”, says the company’s CEO, Chris Hunter.
“Tourism Exchange New Zealand is a neutral ‘business to business’ market place for tourism suppliers and distributors. Through the Tourism Exchange, participants can contract and transact New Zealand tourism product with live availability and dynamic pricing,” says Hunter.
The system links New Zealand based tourism providers, from bed and breakfasts to large operators, with distributors through a real-time booking engine.
Hunter says there is no joining fee.
“All suppliers need is ‘real-time booking’ capable software — which we can provide at minimal cost if required,” he says.
Tourism Exchange technical manager Scott Noble says the venture kicked off last October based on technology from UK company Eviivo. It has a sister company in Australia called V3. Tourism Exchange is a joint venture between Air New Zealand and V3, he says.
The system is built in Microsoft’s .Net and offers a browser-based portal for bookings.
Noble says the paltform is essentially made up of two parts: a property management system for tour and hotel operators; and a core system for connecting suppliers. Users do not have to use Tourism Exchange’s property management system, though, as most others can be integrated with the core engine through open application programming interfaces (APIs).
“A lot of what we do is building adapter services,” he says. “A lot of systems already have exposed APIs, but there’s always a little work in getting things to talk to each other.”
Noble says in the past a lot of tourism products were sold by allotment or parcels. Tourism Exchange, in contrast, links through to source databases for individual bookings from real-time inventory.
He says Tourism Exchange is neutral and will work with any distributor. It does not sell directly itself.
The Tourism Exchange operates on a success fee basis for suppliers. Depending on the distributors’ terms, there can be cash flow advantages, with suppliers being paid in full, at the time of booking.
Noble, who used to work for Air New Zealand developing its booking engines, says the exchange will remove significant inefficiencies in the way tourism products are distributed and sold.
Mitchell Corp, which represents more than 100 hotels and motels throughout New Zealand, is the first supplier to sign up and is now in a pilot.
“We believe, and have for some time, that the future for successful tourism businesses will be in online with cooperative approaches into the market place for the benefit of the traveller. Cooperation with fellow operators will be key going forward, in terms of open supply arrangements, access to technology and transparency of operation,” Mitchell Corp CEO Matt Standing says.
Air New Zealand is also part of the pilot scheme and is taking Tourism Exchange global through its distribution channels.