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The executive director of Vipservice holding Irina Solovyova told us about plans on launching a new service for hotel booking. Read the interview to learn why the largest ticket aggregator of the country decided to launch its own hotel product and what will give us this new solution by Vipservice.
Irina Borisovna, Vipserivce holds the leading positions in ticketing business. How did the company come up with the idea of proprietary hotel aggregator?
Over the years, we have created a reliable distribution network, where we can offer profitable terms of cooperation not only in ticketing business, but also in hotel booking.
The air service market grows year by year, but agency profits from air tickets sales are decreasing. The Vipservice Holding manages to achieve consistent results due to business diversification and traditionally strong positions during collaboration with the providers. They help us communicate profitable sales terms to subagents. Nevertheless, when looking at the global trends, we are thinking about the future. Proprietary system for hotel booking is a profitable business with great growth potential, which will make a great couple with our ticketing product.
How did the hotel business develop withing the holding?
The function of hotel booking with competitive prices was implemented in the very first version of Portbilet. In 2016, the system was substantially enriched with more hotel content, and Portbilet 2.0 was a great breakthrough — it gave the market a product able to perform tasks not only of a travel agency, but also of a company organizing business trips.
Currently, the hotel content of "Portbilet 2.0" offers a wide range of hotels in Russia and beyond and allows to implement simple functions to manage travel policy of a corporate customer. This product managed to meed needs of small and medium TMCs and travel agencies.
When celebrating success of "Portbilet 2.0", we also understood that there is a new stage ahead of us — move the hotel sales to a new level. The HotelStar system was an evolution in this direction. We've been working on it for half a year. HotelStar will have all necessary functions for cooperation with large TMCs, among existing providers we will add new ones, it will allow integration into external products using API, the entire operation will become faster and more efficient. We are confident that the project will be finalized and it will succeed. Now we're finishing the first stage, and in autumn, we will present the result for the whole market.
What major tasks did you perform? What should system have to succeed?
HotelStar will be a single platform, which will analyze interests and operation aspects of corporate businesses and travel agencies. Also it will give a great impulse to a project of dynamic packaging, which is now being developed by Biletix, a holding's business specializing on retail.
HotelStar will give corporate business possibility to automate management of direct contracts with hotels, provide qualified customer support and process offline orders. Using our system, subagents, corporate and direct clients will be able to adopt modern technologies, set competitive prices and establish profitable terms of collaboration.
What are the differences between HotelStar and its competitors?
Vipservice provides not only a hotel product from the best providers, but also its guarantees, brand reliablity. We serve as an umbrella above all sales, which are performed through our system. We accept some risks of our clients, allowing them to work with new providers. Most significantly, HotelStar has a transparent framework of business collaboration: the partners manage their profits and get all necessary accounting documents and tools.
Another important advantage of HotelStar is a total shift away from outsourcing. All software is being developed within Vipservice, which ensures high adaptability of aggregator to our tasks, possibility to quickly response to feedback from the users. The support team will consist entirely of the holding's employees, we educate them and monitor their professional growth.
A promise made to a market that we should be chosen by heart makes us pay attention to needs of our clients and invest into necessary services and solutions. I am sure that HotelStar will not be an exception from this rule, and we will add another "happy star" into our solution collection for the sake of our clients and their success.
HotelStar is a new online product of Vipservice holding. High-end online system integrates offers of the main providers of the Russian hotel market and large foreign salers. HotelStar will help increase hotel sales via holding's products — "Portbilet 2.0" and "Biletix" — as well as in a standalone solution.
Expert's opinion: why HotelStar would be interesting for subagents
Irina Vasilyeva, Director of Commercial Development of Ground Services at Vipservice Holding:
Our system is integrated with the offers from the best providers. In autumn, we will add Booking.com, Ostrovok, Travco, Sabre to the existing solutions. After an agent installs a HotelStar booking system on their website, they will be able to offer their clients ability to quickly choose the best option from the wide range of offers. Also we revised price policy: from now on, we will offer our partners net prices, to which the users will be able to add desired markup, based on their needs.
Separately I would like to note fast response, intuitive interface and great filters of search results, enabling quick and effective search of the best offers.
Since October 2017, Irina Vasilyeva has been a head of the HotelStar project, a new online hotel booking product of the holding. Before joining Vipservice, Irina was a Deputy General Manager of UTS Group, where she managed Hotelbook projects for travel agencies and UTS24 for corporate clients.