Interview: Sam Turner, Wholesales Sales & Sourcing Director of Hotelbeds & Frank Wöller, Retail Travel Agents Director, Continental Europe of Bedsonline
China is one of the most important markets for Hotelbeds. We asked Sam Turner, Wholesales Sales & Sourcing Director of Hotelbeds & Frank Wöller, Retail Travel Agents Director, Continental Europe of Bedsonline to tell us more.
ST: As a source market, China remains the company’s largest wholesale market in APAC for the third year running. Additionally, it has now become the 4th biggest source market for the company globally in the wholesale channel, up from 5th place only last year – and from 22nd place in only 2011. Of course, this is in part a re ection of the fact that Chinese travellers have now become the world’s number one travel segment, spending one in ve of all dollars spent on outbound tourism globally. But this success is also a reflection of Hotelbeds’ hard work and persistence, having been in the market for well over ten years and dedicated ourselves to creating a product tailored to the needs of the local market (with local commercial teams and local social media) – not least on the sourcing side, where we look for Chinese-friendly hotel accommodation and negotiate exclusive deals for Chinese B2B buyers.
WE ARE INTRODUCING THE BEST ELEMENTS OF THE GTA LEGACY BRANDS’ PLATFORMS INTO THE BEDSONLINE PLATFORM TO CREATE A NEW AND ENHANCED PLATFORM THAT FEATURES BEST- IN-CLASS FEATURES.
We are thrilled to con rm that we grew room nights by double digits year-on-year this year in China – and in this nancial year, which we started back on 1 October, we are confident to experience the same growth or more. The demand for travelling continues to grow in China as many Chinese people take their rst overseas trips.
Why does Bedsonline only work with travel agents?
FW: Since the inception of Bedsonline in 2004, it has been working exclusively with travel agents, combining our travel industry expertise and technology to help their businesses ourish. Our extensive portfolio of more than 170,000 properties in 185 destinations and 140 source markets, 24,000 transfer routes and 18,000 activities makes us the perfect partner for travel agents. By working with us they would not only be able to have access to a global and wide portfolio but also to offer exclusive and local product – much of which we contract under exclusive terms just for travel agents – that they would never have been able to offer by themselves. Meeting the needs of travel agents is in the DNA of Bedsonline, we understand the needs and demands of travel agents and that’s why we decided to work exclusively with them. But not only do we give access to a great and powerful portfolio, but also, we help them to boost their sales by giving them selling tips and offering a powerful and easy to use platform to do their daily reservations.
Since the acquisition of Tourico Holidays and GTA, what changes are taking place in the retail channel?
ST: Last September, we announced the consolidation of all the retail brands we had acquired recently (GTA, TravelCube and TravelBound) under the Bedsonline brand identity and platform. In this sense, we are introducing the best elements of the GTA legacy brands’ platforms into the Bedsonline platform to create a new and enhanced platform that features best-in-class features. Feedback from customers trialing the platform has been very positive. Bedsonline customers are now able to benefit from an exclusive and signi cantly enhanced product portfolio of hotels, a significant proportion of which are directly contracted, and a platform specifically designed to drive growth in the highly competitive travel retail space. Bedsonline offers customers a 360° travel partner offering that is customer centric and helps partners compete by offering unrivalled technology, the most competitive commercial terms, swift problem resolution and expert team support. In nearly all of our markets the booking capabilities of the legacy sites have been shut down. So ensuring that all agents from TravelBound, TravelCube and GTA have smoothly transitioned onto the new Bedsonline platform is essential for us. Old bookings are modifiable, of course, but all new bookings must take place on the new Bedsonline website.
Photo: Sam Turner Wholesales Sales & Sourcing Director, Hotelbeds
Photo: Frank Wöller Retail Travel Agents Director, Continental Europe, Bedsonline