HTNG Workgroup to Address the Challenge of Content Management in Distribution
Monday, January 16, 2006
Chicago (January 16, 2006) -- Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) today announced a new workgroup that will focus on content management for distribution channels. This workgroup – the initial sponsors of which are Cendant Travel Distribution Services, Global Hyatt Corp., Lanyon, Leonardo Media, Pegasus Solutions, OpenTravel™ Alliance (OTA), and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. – will bring together interested hotel companies and technology vendors to define and implement a robust and reliable, open-standards-based approach to content management.
The new workgroup will be the first HTNG workgroup to hold its meetings principally in Europe, where languages, distribution channels, and resort destinations combine to make content management a particularly important issue.
“As distribution channels have evolved from simple text-based systems into multiple forms of rich media, often in multiple languages, the challenge of keeping channels updated with current information has grown exponentially,” says Douglas C. Rice, Executive Director of HTNG. “This workgroup will build on several of the commercial content management tools already available in the market, and will seek to create an open framework that will allow hotels to manage even the most complex content seamlessly.”
“The OTA has a wealth of experience building standard message structures that create much needed value between trading partners,” said John Turato, chair of the OpenTravel™ Alliance and vice-president of technology for Cendant Car Rental Group. “We are excited about partnering with HTNG again on another important industry initiative. Content management is an area where we can make great progress together.”
The four sponsoring vendors already offer important products to support content management for hotels, and all of them recognize that content management is an industry challenge that they cannot solve alone. By working together, these and other vendors can identify common technologies that they can all endorse and support, which can then be used to drive a more standards-based approach to content management in the external distribution channels.
This workgroup will seek to create "solution sets" that hotels, hotel companies, distribution channels, promotional channels, and intermediate service companies can "plug into" to achieve simple and consistent management and delivery of rich content from the source (hotels and hotel companies) to the destination (distribution channels and promotional channels). "Solution sets" are groups of technology solutions, developed by different vendors, that work well together to solve a larger business problem than any one solution by itself.
Conceptually, the premise of the workgroup is that hotels should have a single point of entry from which they can manage rich content in all connected distribution and promotional channels. Distribution and promotional channels should have a single point of access, from which they can receive rich content from all connected hotels and hotel companies. And intermediary content service companies, who perform services such as image enhancement, mapping, and translation, should have a single point of access, under the authority and control of the hotels, so that they can receive content updates, perform their enhancement services, and forward the results onward to the next stage in the editing, approval, or distribution process.
The new workgroup's charter states that the resulting approach should support key functionaliy that will enable hotels to manage the creation and maintenance of rich content, and to ensure its consistency across all supported channels. This includes role-based security to support the hotel company's business process by ensuring that only authorized people and contractors can edit and approve content, and support for the different workflow processes that are used by hotels to produce and distribute rich content.
The solution will leverage efforts by existing industry players to support this process, including technology vendors, hotel companies, and associations such as the OpenTravelTM Alliance (OTA) and the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA). As with HTNG's Property Distribution Workgroup, this workgroup will seek maximum use of existing standards (such as those published by OTA), where they apply.
"HTNG's vision for the future is one where hotel systems can seamlessly work together to serve the customer," said Rice. “Distribution systems’ content has been a major challenge in recognizing that vision. Hotel companies spend an enormous amount of money developing high-quality content to promote their products, but invariably it never reaches some channels, or quickly becomes stale. There is no systematic way to ensure that distribution channels – and therefore guests – can always have information that is up-to-date.”
In addition to the six sponsors, applications from other hotel companies and technology providers will be accepted through February 8, with an initial maximum of 25 companies. These organizations will provide a balance of insights from a variety of organizations serving the content management ecosystem.
Workgroups typically set interim deliverables goals every six months to ensure concrete and continual progress. Specifications are released to HTNG members as they are created and placed in the public domain once the workgroup has completed its work. Products can be created by participating companies and/or by other interested companies who follow the specifications.
About HTNG Workgroups
HTNG workgroups provide a forum for a small but representative group of customers to work with a cross-disciplinary set of vendors to solve problems. Highly focused and structured, the workgroups are charged with identifying and building specific solutions that will deliver value to hotels, that no one vendor can deliver on their own, and that can be accomplished in about six months. Because customers drive the requirements, vendors have a ready market for the new capabilities they build, and customers no longer have to buy multiple systems piecemeal and integrate them themselves.
HTNG specifications are released to the public domain when the workgroup that produces them disbands, usually after no more than eighteen months. HTNG members, both hotels and technology vendors, can propose and sponsor new workgroups, and can apply to participate in workgroups sponsored by other members.
Applications to participate in this workgroup will be accepted through February 8 from current or newly joining HTNG members. Information on the application process can be found at the Join a Workgroup page. HTNG's selection criteria, as well as the application process, are described at Forum & Workgroup Policies page. Applicants not selected to participate initially can apply to the workgroup after it is formed, and in any case will still have full opportunity to view proceedings and intermediate work product from the workgroup, as well as final specifications. Member technology vendors can develop product to those specifications and participate in HTNG-supported demonstrations. Applications for HTNG membership can be processed online at the Join page.
About Hotel Technology Next Generation
The premier technology solutions association in the hospitality industry, HTNG is a self-funded, non-profit organization with members from hotel and hospitality companies, technology vendors to hospitality, and other industry members including consultants, media, and academic experts. HTNG’s members participate in focused workgroups to bring open solution-sets addressing specific business problems to the hospitality market.
Membership in HTNG is open to hotel and hospitality companies, technology vendors to hospitality, consultants, academics, press and others. Currently nearly 300 companies and individuals from across this spectrum are active HTNG members. Workgroup proceedings, drafts, and specifications are published for all HTNG members as soon as they are created, encouraging rapid and broad adoption. Specifications are released to the public domain when the workgroup has completed its work, typically after no more than 18 months. For more information, visit www.htng.org.
About The OpenTravel™ Alliance
The OTA develops communications specifications to allow for the efficient and effective exchange of travel industry information via the Internet.
With a diversified member body representing influential names in all sectors of the travel industry, the OTA is comprised of representatives from the airlines, car rental firms, hotels, cruise lines, leisure suppliers, service providers, tour operators, travel agencies, and trade associations. OTA working groups develop open internet-compatible messages, which are currently in use by companies across the travel spectrum.