evolution – raising the bar in CRS design and usability

Met with evolution at ITB11 – the new distribution solution from the GHOTW team, and I have to say – what a very smart interface, and a very smart approach to the total design execution of this product . Whilst Apple raised the bar in terms of smartphone design so evolution has raised the bar on CRS updating – no more clunky, uninspiring, illogical user interfaces.

SynXis gave us a starter for ten in 2005 being light years ahead with their iteration of the (then) RedX system. So we’ve had to wait a while for this new entrant. These guys at least get it that it’s distribution, revenue managers and ecommerce managers using these systems day in and day out. Most of whom fit neatly into GenY (and younger), and most of whom are technology dependent, not technology savvy- i.e this has to work for me – now. Not the kind of people who have the patience to sit down and work out a string of logic when trying to upload a rate – life’s too short.

Content management is based on a load-once, distribute-to-many solution and the system offers GDS, web design and booking engine, and a channel management solution. On this system you get streamlined rate building with rate management grouped by Rate Family –allowing for rate management by group and hooking up related rates to support rate parity (equivalent to managing rate categories and rate linking). We didn’t get into a whole load of detail as to what level of availability controls the system can support, but the availability and pricing manager I saw was intuitive and allowed for managing inventory and channels from one place.

The web booking engine interface is neat, uncomplicated, built in Ajax – (if you need to know) and again features a really strong focus on robust design concepts and usability. There are design templates to choose from and as you would expect, these draw upon the marketing experience of the GHOTW team. Product merchandising and upselling features mean you can build in package elements for ancillary product and create a final checkout price – but not yet link to true availability of package elements so for instance there’s a final off-line confirmation of a specific spa slot.

In terms of functionality and content loading, from the GDS perspective its pretty much what you would expect. Didn’t check the level of connectivity, so that’s a question to ask. The channel manager solution in place covers the main OTA players with connectivity to  600 channels. It also has an early warning solution that alerts you to channels that won’t accept a rate rule or restriction if you’re trying to load a rate with fences that don’t fit with the channel’s own policies.

Finally, the reporting system provides both pre-defined and user defined reports in both graphical format with a drill down per segment, and detailed data format.

Overall conclusion – if you want your reservations team to really enjoy keeping your inventory up to date, and you want a system that lets you train your team on understanding revenue strategy and process rather than tests their IT capabilities, then this is worth a look.

So a hearty thanks to Philippe Dewulf for my whistle-stop tour of the system – and for more info- here’s a link http://www.evolutiondistribution.com

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