"Technology," says, Joan Lowell, VP of Electronic Distribution in Marketing for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, "makes for an "even" playing field - new territory. The internet is an interesting blend between art and science."

Technology has revolutionized the process in which to do business. As it has evolved, so has she. People are spending more time on the internet. "Developing these processes and policies has been challenging," says Lowell. Instead of describing something to your customer, you can show it. It's more efficient and they get more out of it."

Five to six years ago, Hyatt developed the OTA, the "Open Travel Alliance" for the XML transactional interface (a relatively new language - newer than html) and was the first in the industry to create and implement it. This established a common standard - a common language - for communicating business standards - referred to as "API" (Application Protocal Interface).

For example, with Travelocity, they've facilitated a "cash engine" that allows them to store rates and availabilities - each hotel stores data which alleviates hotel rates and availability.

Interfacing old technology and new technology was a strategy designed to enhance revenue and manage rates and inventory in a seamless fashion. It improved revenues - they always have inventory - they know when they're open (rates change on a "dynamic" basis) and there is a "rate of the day" - which is variable based on supply and demand. Negotiating contracts to facilitate the interface to implement these new technologies consumes a large percentage of Lowell's business day.

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