INTRICO's Outlook on CONFIRM RS
Never before has the marketplace been such a competitive arena for the hospitality and travel industries. A superior reservations and information management system is clearly needed to catapult this industry into success in the 90's and beyond. INTRICO (International Reservations and Information Consortium) is a joint venture among four of the leading companies in the travel and hospitality industries: AMR Information Services, Budget Rent a Car, Hilton Hotels Corporation, and Marriott Corporation. United in March of 1988, $125 million has been devoted to create and implement the CONFIRM Reservations System.
The concept of a partnership joining forces to develop a system is the key to the appealing design of CONFIRM RS. The cooperative efforts and pool of information within the partnership add to the strength of the final product.
The partners began this development project after recognizing that emerging technology offered important opportunities for enhancing their individual reservations systems. The availability of new technology, combined with mounting competitive pressures, demanded upgrading or replacing current systems. The partnership was formed as a cooperative venture to share risks of high costs and benefit from shared expertise. CONFIRM RS is built on partnership requirements but consistent with the identified needs of the industry.
In addition, the partners realized the need in the hospitality and travel industry for advanced reservations and information management services. Accordingly, CONFIRM RS provides the ability to customize user components, and ensures absolute data security with transaction-based fee structure. At this point there has been substantial interest shown by hotel and car rental companies, both in the United States and internationally, in the application of CONFIRM RS to their particular operations - whether large or small.
INTRICO assembled a staff of 400 systems experts including 100 hotel and car rental operations and reservations personnel. This development group is housed in INTRICO's Carrollton, Texas corporate and development headquarters.
The task began with an analysis of operations effected by reservations systems to determine how automation could streamline the process. The desired result was a comprehensive and flexible system that allows easy response to changing business solutions. The system will be easy to use, for the reservation sales agents who use the system constantly throughout the day and for the infrequent users at a hotel or car rental counter.
Throughout the project, a basic requirement has been for a high capacity reservations system with unmatched speed and breadth of product information for client data. Linkage to global distribution systems, such as airline travel agent systems, was considered essential to the system's survival. Adding to its attractiveness would be integration with the most sophisticated yield management, sales, and marketing, reporting and data analysis systems, as well as two-way interface to property management systems.
CONFIRM RS is being built specifically for hotel and car rental companies to help them manage and sell services better. As the mission statement states, the very purpose behind the design of the CONFIRM Reservations System is to develop, operate, and market the state-of-the-art computerized reservations system for hotel and car rental companies. This not only meets INTRICO's partners' long range business objectives but also those of the industry. Data processing centers for the partners and other major chains will have the opportunity to design and tailor this system to meet their specific needs, using the Central Reservations System's, Property Management Systems, and Sales and Marketing Systems.
There are three vital components to the CONFIRM RS project: Partnership, People, and Product. These three components combined will surpass the effectiveness of any of them alone. Our partnership, people, and product will result in the CONFIRM Reservations System - the premier reservations and information management system.
Each partner of INTRICO has its people - technical experts, car rental counter and reservations agents, hotel personnel from regional and corporate offices - all working in a four-year development plan. These business experts are designing and testing a system that you will soon be using.
INTRICO's Goals and Objectives
Many goals and objectives were established by all of the partners at the beginning of the project. It is important to understand these goals and objectives in order to put the CONFIRM Reservations System in its proper perspective.
The goals and objectives that directed the development of the function specifications are:
Benefits with CONFIRM RS
The benefits offered by CONFIRM RS are not limited to a single area of marketing. The travel company using CONFIRM RS can quickly define products and control product pricing and inventory. When a sale is made, reservation details must be delivered to the hotel or car rental company who will satisfy the sale. Anything else often results in an unsatisfied customer... and unsatisfied customers don't come back. CONFIRM RS enhances the travel company's ability to define and sell, to deliver the reservation, and to analyze collected data to better specify qualities for the future product.
Many of the features and functions of the CONFIRM Reservations System will provide its users with significant advantages over their competition, including:
" Never before have travel companies been able to execute promotional strategies that will mean the difference between success and merely survival. CONFIRM RS is a total business solution," said Gordon Stevenson, INTRICO President.
CONFIRM RS Key Functionalities
Of the four INTRICO partners, two- Hilton and Marriott - are direct competitors. To meet the needs of these and other customer companies who will enter the system as competitors, CONFIRM RS provides a sophisticated and impenetrable data security system that ensures data confidentiality. CONFIRM RS places control of information and its security firmly in the hands of the customer.
CONFIRM RS Set Up
Prior to using CONFIRM RS, the entire corporate structure must be identified and described to the system. Components of the corporate structure include each location, hotel, car rental counter, regional or corporate office, or reservations center. For hotels and car rental counters, the products offered must be identified and priced, and inventory or reservation restrictions entered. In addition, promotions, such as packages and rate plans, may be identified. Group information, too, may be entered into the system and group inventory protected. Then, individual or group reservations may be accepted.
The Reservations Entry Process
Reservations are made in the system by creating a Consumer Name Record prior to confirmation. This record details consumer (guest) information, customer information, and specific requirements of the reservation such as the room or vehicle type reserved, the date, and arrival or pickup times. Each reservations carries a status. A reservation can be completed and confirmed; it can be entered as a wait list if the location is unable to confirm. A special request may be entered based on availability or status. In addition, there are multiple methods of entering a consumer name record: individually, as one of a sharing guest, as one in a rooming or rental list, or as part of an itinerary.
There are two general methods for producing CONFIRM RS reports: predefined reports or an ad hoc capability. Customers may subscribe to the preformatted reports most useful to them. or they design customized reports specifically suited to their needs. All data in the system can be incorporated into useful and usable reports.
Property Management Interfaces
In addition to reservation data, information is gathered actual arrivals and pick ups. This information may be entered manually or received automatically from a property management system. The "actuals" information may include the length of time originally scheduled in the reservation, the originally reserved product, room type, or vehicle, the addition of special equipment, or any thing that can be of use when comparing to the original reservation. CONFIRM RS provides companies with a "seamless and instantaneous interface" with the industry's expansive array of property management systems (PMS).
Other External Interfaces
Many existing systems can be beneficially interfaced with CONFIRM RS. These include sales and marketing systems, automatic call distributors, actual rental statistics, guest histories, various magnetic tapes, airline and other third party booking systems, and vehicle tracking systems. These interfaces enhance the integration required by hotel and car rental companies to centralize operation information and facilitate sales.
These are just a few of the key functionalities with the CONFIRM RS Reservations System. There are many existing systems that can beneficially be interfaced with CONFIRM RS. Interfaces include, among others, those to property management systems, sales and marketing systems, automatic call distributors, actual rental statistics, guest histories, tapes, airline and vehicle tracking systems. These interfaces provide full integration required by hotel and car rental companies in order to centralize operation information and facilitate sales.
The CONFIRM RS project provides a foundation to create a system with ultimate flexibility ranging from the free-form entry of conversational to the structured control of full-screen processing. The system used the organizational capabilities of a data base management system and adds the speed and power of the transaction processing facility.
The system will take advantage of existing distribution channels, interfacing with other industry systems such as SABRE, Apollo, System One, and Worldspan. Travel Agents will access the system from their existing reservations terminals and have the power to offer full travel and hospitality services.
The system is designed to handle operations, but the control of your business remains in your hands. Based on advanced technology, CONFIRM RS is flexible to fit into your way of doing business. This is one reason the system is valuable to any number of travel companies, even competitors. Each company can distinguish its products to reach particular market segments without encroaching on another company's ability to do the same. Your distinctive characteristics are highlighted with CONFIRM RS.
With CONFIRM RS, the travel and hospitality industry companies can plan for the ever changing and competitive global marketplace. The CONFIRM Reservations System is indeed a technological tool which will help you provide a more personalized and efficient service to your customers.