The hotel technology industry is broad, complex, and constantly evolving. Attempting to make sense of the entire landscape can be intimidating. That was true pre-pandemic and the pandemic has only accelerated the industry’s change on all levels: technological capabilities and adoption, providers’ strategy and operations, and users’ requirements have all been transformed, probably permanently. And, as with any crisis, one of the first things to do is increase exposure for the brand and hotel and the best way to do this is to increase distribution.
Hundreds of hoteliers and industry insiders have made use of our distribution charts in the last six years. As we’re all planning strategy for a post-pandemic world, we wanted to update the chart a third time to reflect all the changes our industry has experienced so that it could be used to inform you and your team’s strategies for 2021 and beyond.
What is the Hotel Tech Distribution Chart?
So, what is the chart exactly? The Shiji Hotel Technology Distribution Chart serves as a tool to help visualize the current hotel and hospitality technology landscape, how the various providers fit in, and their relationships with the hotel, the guest, and each other.
When the Shiji Insights team started researching how to update the chart, we turned to Shiji Distribution Solutions, who have decades experience in the space, to get a deeper dive into the technology partners, vendors, and competitors on the market. So this year’s edition is probably the most comprehensive it has ever been. It doesn’t have everything, mostly because everything can’t fit on one chart.
A takeaway: Corporate travel has seen the most consolidation and shifts since the last edition.
Click below to take a look at the chart, or keep scrolling for our guide that will show you how to read the chart.
How to Read The Hotel Distribution Chart
The Hotel Distribution Technology Chart starts from the hotel at the center and expands outwards towards the guest. The chart is organized following the data flow from the hotel towards the guest via the three distribution groups: Online, Travel Agents & Tour Operators, and Meetings & Events. Each ring moving outwards is a level of technology that builds on the last to reach the guest.
For example, a Property Management System (PMS) connects to a Channel Manager, which connects to an OTA, which then connects to a search engine for advertising, and finally to the guest.
Below are descriptions of each section of the hotel tech industry, from the inside moving outwards.
Property Management Systems
Property Management Systems store information and are your main hub for your hotel’s data. Everything from your available rooms, to guest data, and much more.
Hotel Distribution Tools
This section is the software used to get the rates, availability, inventory, images, texts, and more channeled out to the various marketplaces (OTAs, GDS, etc.) which help you sell across all channels.
Aggregation platforms include common software like Revenue Management Systems and Channel Managers or Central Reservation Systems. They pick up information and put it together for others to use for sales. For example the GDS aggregates rates and hotels so Travel Agents can take the information and use it to sell.
Selling/ Booking Platforms
These are marketplaces or self-service platforms such as OTAs where guests and end-buyers have direct contact and can use it to make a purchase. They are one of the most important sales channels but before the data arrives to them it needs to be structured, have the right rates, and more. A hotel’s website is in this section, too.
Marketing platforms are used to generate demand towards the selling/booking platforms. This is where you can advertise and communicate to prospective guests and bring them in as guests.
Finally, these are the tools you need to analyze your revenue, your market, your hotel and guests’ experience which will help you optimize what you are doing at the start of the workflow in order to make the future reservations better and improve guest experience.
The Hotel Distribution Chart is more important than ever. Coming out of a crisis, the first thing hotel brands should do is increase distribution which, in turn, increases brand exposure. Now is a great time to ensure your entire distribution stack is solid and ready to go. So take a look at our chart by clicking the link below and use it to inform your own successful distribution strategy.