Friday, October 13, 2006

EyeForTravel Travel Distribution Summit USA 2006

Last week I spent a day in Chicago at the EyeForTravel travel distribution summit. I attended a joint session sponsored by several of the travel industry associations who are working together to improve electronic trading between partners in the transient and group travel markets.
  • Open Travel Alliance (OTA) - development of a commonly accepted communications process using XML standards
  • Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) - focussed on identifying distribution opportunities and providing solutions for the lodging industry
  • Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) - an industry organization founded to facilitate the development of next-generation, customer-centric technologies to better meet the needs of the global hotel community
  • Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) - an initiative of the Convention Industry Council uniting the meeting, convention, and exhibition industry in the development and implementation of voluntary standards

Yep - it looks like another bowl of alphabet soup. After a few hours of Powerpoint nirvana, I think I figured out how these groups are going to help me.

HEDNA works on technical issues that currently complicate electronic distribution of hotel products. For example, the hotel industry does not currently have a globally unique "property id" for each location, the way the airline industry has unique 3-letter codes for every airport. This complicates electronic distribution of hotel information, since the various databases that try to aggregate hotel data cannot be sure which facility is referenced in a transaction.

OTA is producing XML schemas that will be used to communicate between various trading partners in the travel industry. APEX is working with OTA to develop the XML standards that relate to *group travel* (as opposed to transient, single-person travel).

HTNG takes the work of HEDNA and OTA and works to implement these standards into practical applications used by the hotel industry.

So in the end, HEDNA will produce a list of unique hotel facility codes, OTA and APEX will produce an open XML standard that defines how two trading partners will send the unique property code between each other, and HTNG will certify applications that use a proven sub-set of the OTA standards in order to transact business in the real world.

See that? It only took you 10 minutes to figure out the alphabet soup and you didn't have to sit through any Powerpoints.


Anonymous said...

Good stuff. I appreciate the compression of information and the very clear and concise explanation of how these groups will effect the hotel industry.

Rob Wilson
Meeting Sites Resource

Rick Borry said...

EJ Siwek tells me that Roland Tanner at Lanyon is heading the HEDNA project to produce globally unique identifiers for the hotel industry. More information is available at these links: