SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 11- Interactive Hotel Solutions (IHS) point of difference can be found in its name. More than an online provider of hotel reservations, IHS puts the emphasis on building interactive relationships to enable its affiliates to connect more effectively with customers. The company's primary goals include partnering with multiple suppliers to give affiliates the best rate available to offer their customers and providing hoteliers with viable options to increase their revenues. Combining goals and technology, IHS offers solutions that give affiliates the tools they need to make the right decisions.
Today's 30 member team, which started in 2001 with five, is constantly innovating and creating solutions that result in greater efficiency. That translates to a better bottom line for the company and its affiliates. From its initial start, IHS has experienced significant growth adding to the overall profitability of the company. A contributing factor to this phenomenal growth has been the directed focus on the development of the affiliate program launched in September of 2004. The company ended its first year (2001) of operation with sales of $13.7M. Through 2004 the company has experienced average sales growth of 220% while also creating strategic alliances to make 160% more money per sales acquisition. Based on the 2005 estimated projections, IHS will realize a growth of 336% since its conception in 2001.
That kind of success is the result of several factors according to the company's leadership team. "There are no obstacles to communication here," said IHS President Doug Lurvey. "After attending the Great Game of Business training, we adopted an open-book style of management and the employees understand our financial picture. They are fully empowered to solve problems or innovate in ways that positively affect the bottom line."
Lurvey cited as an example the recent selection of an application to better identify, diagnose and resolve web application errors. "Our affiliates reported customers were not booking hotels as frequently from IHS websites. Our frontline employees immediately recognized the importance of responding to and identifying the source of this trend. They recommended an investment in an application which provided an accurate visual record of the error in a real user session. This has enabled us to quickly tell our affiliates with certainty the source and fix to an application error. We have already recognized an increase in successful customer transactions as a result," Lurvey said. "By implementing the philosophy of the Great Game of Business, we have seen all of our associates and management team become fully engaged in problem solving techniques. Whether it has been on the customer service side or looking at expense management, all invariably make a greater impact on bottom line profitability."
Vice President Jason Harris believes the company's technical innovation and efficiency has allowed it to accomplish a work load that would normally require a much larger workforce. "We are ahead of the curve in search engine marketing because we've harnessed the superior technical acumen of our employees. It has also strengthened our ability to adapt to market changes," said Harris.
While more than 25% of all hotel room revenue will be booked online in 2005, another 25% of hotel bookings will be directly influenced by the Internet secured in an offline capacity. "We look at that and say there's still a great deal of opportunity out there for an innovator like IHS to convert those offline bookings into online business by building relationships with a more diverse array of partners," said Harris.
That's why IHS's primary focus is now on growing its affiliate program. Vice President of Revenue and Affiliate Development Jeff McDaniel believes IHS has differentiated itself from the competition by creating an affiliate program that is not a "one size fits all" approach. "Our focus is on the affiliate and optimizing their potential in partnership with IHS. We work on providing each one with the unique strategies, services and support that will grow their business," said McDaniel. "Understanding their needs and helping their business grow has the long-term effect of creating more business for IHS."
IHS is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri.
Source: Interactive Hotel Solutions