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Dave Upton
Accommodation Guru
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Travel Trade - Media Release 19Nov 2007

New Accommodation Software gives Smaller Tourism Businesses a Competitive Edge

A Sydney-based IT firm has launched AccommodationGuru.com, an online booking system that allows small businesses to effectively compete with major reservation sites. AccommodationGuru.com turns any website into a revenue-producing travel portal that sells accommodations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Regional tourist offices and visitor information centres around the world have a problem. They may get visitors, they do get visitors. Either to their offices or to their site. Visitors who in both cases often want to make an immediate booking for somewhere to stay.

Many such regional tourist offices and information centres are struggling with a computer system because of the cost of decent software. It shouldn't be like that.

The customers are there. Many tourist offices already have a great client base phoning in or visiting the office on a daily basis. Some of the places at which they will make reservations are small -- say less than 5 rooms -- and they simply do not make it on to the major reservation systems because these engines insist on live inventory for which you need a fairly substantial number of rooms.

What is needed is immediate 24/7 booking service with instant confirmed reservations. As things stand the regional tourist offices and visitor information centres around the world -- both online and offline -- are not always able to give the immediate service, immediate bookings, immediate confirmation that customers want. And customers, since the start of the Internet, have come to expect this as part of the service. A trend which is increasing.

There is now a solution to this problem which is immediate, immensely affordable and, importantly, able to deal with both live inventory and request bookings.


The solution is AccommodationGuru which is a Content Managed Website which provides the tools to automate this process.

AccommodationGuru.com provides travellers with the same tools and conveniences offered by many of the popular accommodation websites. Features include first-screen availability and pricing comparison, last-minute booking options, and secure online credit card payments.

The product's creator makes its money by charging a nominal fee (A$3.85 or US$/Euro equivalent) for each booking and the charge is made to site visitors during the booking process.

AccommodationGuru.com provides:

    • Industrial strength software
    • The site is visually appealing and very user friendly. You can see this by checking it out yourself on www.accommodationGuru.com
    • The tourist office reservation service retains its full commission
    • AccommodationGuru.com makes its money by adding a $3.85 service fee on top of every reservation -- fairly standard with most reservation systems.
      (Note that AccommodationGuru.com is not trying to be a global reservation system in itself. Each service rolled out will be specifically for one customer complete with program and the customer's own online merchant facilities).

Features and benefits of AccommodationGuru.com:
    • Particularly good for regional tourism. (Although, in fact, the program is totally scaleable so expansion is effectively limitless).
    • Preferred property selection can be made from first result screen
    • Availability not restricted to properties with only 5 or more rooms available which makes it almost totally unique
    • Shows immediately what is instantly available and what is on request
    • Instant Bookings: confirmed immediately if inventory available
    • Request Bookings -- SMS & email to properties to speed response. As far as is known no other program offers this. It means that the smallest properties can be included and use SMS reply on their mobiles to immediately process a reservation
    • There is no restriction as to bookings. Hotels, motels, cottages, apartments, B&B's, campsites etc.) With current systems many of these options fall through the cracks
    • Fully integrated with Google mapping
    • 7 days after a guest has completed their stay, an invitation is emailed to the guest inviting them to review their stay
    • Easy to add rates, packages, information, whatever. Basically if you can use a word processor you can maintain and extend the site

How do we know it will work?
The man behind it is Dave Upton who has an extensive background in small business and particular experience in the travel industry, most recently as Co-founder and Executive Director of travel.com.au. Thus Dave Upton knows the travel business and, most importantly, its relationship with the internet.

Dave played an integral part in building travel.com.au from concept to one of Australia's most successful online travel companies.

Dave started his travel career with Trailfinders in London (now Britain's largest independent travel agent). He was a key member of the team that helped to develop Trailfinders and was subsequently elected to its Board of Directors.

Dave emigrated to Australia in 1983 where he founded The Travel Specialists.

In August 1997 Dave merged his company with Sydney Flight Centre to form travel.com.au and concentrated his efforts on the technical development of the business. As CIO he was responsible for the development of the travel.com.au web site, booking engines, fares search engines, back office systems, corporate sites, conference sites, dynamic travel package builder and wholesale booking engine.

travel.com.au went on to float on the Australian Stock Exchange in May 1999 with a highly successful IPO.
Travel.com.au is now in the process of being sold to Wotif.com for around A$55 million.

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