By KarryOn News07 Feb 2018Hotel platform roomsXML has rolled out a series of agent inspired upgrades in which they say will make “nailing the sale easier and more efficient than ever.” Speaking to KARRYON, Mark Luckey, managing director of roomsXML Pacific, said the changes are indicative of the company’s passion for continual improvement. Mark Luckey, managing director of roomsXML Pacific “It started as an internal movement in 2010 to provide the best support across the industry,” he said. “Every year we found new initiatives that continually improve our value proposition in being the best hotel wholesaler in the industry.” Learning from travel agents is an important part of the process, with feedback from the front line enabling roomsXML to streamline the booking process. That has helped the online hotel platform to become more competitive in today’s “fast-moving” travel market, according to Luckey. Meanwhile, head of product development at roomsXML, Anuj Bang understands that whilst they are a tech business, no one else really cares about the technology. Anuj Bang, Head of product development at roomsXML “The time and effort in implementing these changes were phenomenal,” he said. “Improving 2 million lines of code is like opening a can of worms, but if it’s what agents want, it’s our job to seamlessly implement solutions that make their job easier.” One of the biggest bugbears of booking online accommodation is room type information, Bang explained. “It’s the same story; a hotel changes its marketing approach, updates room names and descriptions and before you know it, the same room is described differently on three different websites,” he said. He gave the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore as an example. “The room type descriptions have been upgraded to describe room furnishings, the floor plans and size, which floor each room is on and allows agents to identify upgrade opportunities,” he said. roomsXML has also implemented new hotel rating algorithms that not only aggregate reviews but trawl social media to get a feel for what guests are actually saying about the property. “By giving the agents narrative, they move past describing rooms and can start selling dreams,” he explained. “These algorithms sort ratings and commentary by couples, business travellers and families in an interface which is not available to the general public. “Why would you search elsewhere if your agent can give you all the information?” Head of product development at roomsXML, Anuj Bang RoomsXML has also moved cancellation policies upfront – something that’s easier said than done when 40 suppliers provide that information in different formats, across different time zones using any one of a dozen currencies. “It’s fewer button clicks for agents to get the important information they need,” Bang said. “Time is money and providing information upfront or saving a call to our customer service centre frees agents up to do it they do best – sell travel.” All of these innovations have helped the company grow, according to roomsXML global MD Ruchir Bang. Ruchir Bang, roomsXML global MD The company now has offices in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, UAE, USA, China and Ukraine. “Our success is driven by our fanatical focus on empowering travel agents with the most innovative systems and tools,” Bang said. “We are industry leaders in the way we harness data so agents can complete against giant OTAs. We do it by understanding the real-life challenges of agents. “There are so many exciting projects in the pipeline, the benefits of which agents will reap once they are rolled out over the course of next few months.” roomsXML global MD Ruchir Bang So what kind of projects are we talking about? Luckey was tight-lipped about the near future but gave a tiny clue. “We plan on getting a little bit funkier this year,” he revealed. Will you be keeping an eye on what roomsXML gets up to in 2018? Other stories you may like FREELOADERS: Gatecrashers are filling up Travel Agent only events AGENT INCENTIVE: Take part in the Stuba WORLD CUP competition & WIN! Which is Australia’s most attractive airline to work for: Qantas or Virgin?