Feature-based retail system set to revolutionise hotel distribution in Asia

A new retail system for hotels allowing bookers to DIY rooms, F&B and activity packages, allowing for true personalisation and customisation of the desired experiences, is set to revolutionise the hotel B2C distribution market in Asia.

Originating from Germany, GauVendi Retail System for hotels breaks away from traditional room types and organise inventory by room feature combinations. Guests may design their own room by selecting, ranking and choosing individual room features like views, floors and space.

Gauvendi Retail System, which allows guests to customise their stay, is billed as the future of hotel distribution

Guests’ purchase journey starts with accessing the participating hotel’s website and clicking the “Customize Your Stay” button embedded on the booking page. It allows guests to DIY their stay experience, rather than booking a generic standard or deluxe room.

Debuted in 2019, GauVendi Retail System recently made its foray into Asia through key distributor, Hospitality Host (HH), founded by Winnie Chui in 2016 who now serves as the managing director of the company. A hotel veteran with over 30 years of marketing and revenue management experience, Chui formerly served at international chains like IHG, Sterling and Summit Hotels, followed by stints with hotel reservation systems like Micros-Fidelio and TravelSolutiones.

HH’s core business includes GDS connectivity and China online branding solutions. According to Chui, GauVendi pioneers the introduction of feature-based shopping for hotels, catering to current trends in consumer behaviour and purchase patterns by letting customers decide the exact room features, attributes and additional services they desire.

Deploying artificial intelligence to personalise offers in real-time, Chui said the company is now looking to onboard hotel operators who are keen on revolutionising the industry and want to embrace change.

Adoption of the dynamic pricing model afforded by the GauVendi retail system, which allows hospitality providers to monetise and sell all room features and ancillary services, still in its “very nascent stages”: Chui

According to Chui, the system benefits hotels by not only offering them differentiated products that they are unable to obtain through current distribution methods, but also boosting their bottomline. It is especially beneficial to hotels which target leisure and long-stay travellers, she added.

Noting that the retail model is common in many industries, especially the retail and airline sectors, she cited the example of how just by unbundling the baggage component, airlines recorded over a four-fold increase in baggage fees annually over a decade.

However, Chui pointed out, the adoption of that operating model is still in the “very nascent stages” in the hospitality industry. Envisioning that the system will drive the future of hotel marketing and sales, she urged hotels to rethink their strategy.

“Such dynamic pricing model is a wake-up call for hoteliers who have the ability to take the lead in transforming their business model at a time where (evolving) is even more critical than ever, helping them not only to generate much-needed revenues that go beyond just the room revenue, but also to stand out from the competition and provide a unique booking experience to create customer delight,” she said.

With today’s travellers becoming more sophisticated and aware of their desires, there is a greater demand for personalisation of experiences.

“Today, the world is a much more global marketplace than ever before, no doubt accelerated by the ‘new normal’ as a result of the challenges created by Covid-19. So we have global reach, as well as a concentration of resources in Asia and Australasia to support rapid growth,” Chui said.

The brand is currently in discussions with several luxury properties and business hotels globally on adopting the system. It is billed as a great fit for resort hotels or hotels which cater to both business and leisure travellers, or even serviced villas and apartments. The system benefits a 10-room beach lodge in the same way it does a 500-room luxury resort.

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