Hospitality Technology History

Where We've Been, Where We Are, and Where We Are Going

Looking back in time can be useful to gain a perspective of where we are today and where we are going tomorrow in travel, hospitality and technology. In many cases when a client selects the Hospitality Performance Group we are charged with moving decades old distribution management and Internet marketing into today’s standard as the first step in a productive relationship.


  • Circa 600,000 BCE – Ug a Neanderthal caveman rents a corner of his cave to Mo during a hunt for mammoths. Mo paid two saber-toothed skins for the overnight with no amenities included.

  • Circa 491 BCE – Darius I king of Persia needs accommodations while moving his army west to modern day Turkey. He displaces the Hittites from their homes and as a rate agrees not to destroy their village upon leaving.

  • Circa 6 BCE – Jesus Christ is born in a cave or cattle stall rented by a farmer in Bethlehem. With no advanced reservation by Joseph the family pays rack rate though no one is sure how much.

  • Circa 100 CE – The Romans determine that providing quality accommodations and amenities (of all types) to trade merchants was good for business and created laws to dictate quality – maybe the 1st AAA!

  • Circa 400 CE – The French coin the term hote for host (hotel today) which initially indicated a townhouse that receives many visitors, paid or unpaid.

  • 717 CE – The oldest hotel in the world the Hoshi Ryokan (hoshi is hotel in Japanese) opens and remains in operation today.

  • 1510 CE – King Henry VIII extends a number of “invitations” for family and friends (especially wives) to accommodations in the Tower of London. While there was not rate or amenities a visit there often resulted in a headache.

  • 1607 CE – The first record of an inn dedicated to providing accommodations at a fixed rate.

  • 1792-1807 CE – The first publicly traded hotel (the City Hotel) opens in New York City and the first “modern” hotel (the Tremont) opens in Boston.

  • Circa 1950 CE – The end of the reign of the motel-type property in the United States. Previously and with the advent of the automobile the motel was the preferred accommodation type for travelers starting in and about 1910.

  • 1946 CE – American Airlines installs the first automated booking system the electromechanical Reservisor. Both Sheraton Hotels and Goodyear Tire Company used the system to manage inventory.

  • 1952 CE – Kemmons Wilson opens the first Holiday Inn in Memphis, Tennessee. He pledged to have a pool at every property for the kids. Holiday Inn went international in 1960.

  • 1953 CE – American Airlines C.R. Smith and IBM’s R. Blair Smith (no relation!) meet and forge an alliance to improve the Reservisor system. The result was SABRE (Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment). The network was completed in 1964.

  • 1957 CE – J.W. Marriott opens the first Marriott motor-hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The Twin Bridges Marriott has 365 rooms.

  • 1969 – The first ARPANET link is create between the University of California and Stanford University.

  • 1968 to 1978 – A number of airlines follow American’s lead with development of Airline Reservation Systems (ARS). Delta’s DATAS launches in 1968 followed by United’s Apollo in 1971 and TWA’s PARS in 1972. In 1976 United provided the system to travel agents with the other airlines releasing their systems through 1978.

  • 1974 – The first recorded use of the term Internet in December by the Network Working Group. It was used as short-hand for the term internetworking.

  • 1978 – The TCP/IP transmission protocol is launched.

  • 1979 – CompuServe is the first to bring electronic mail and the service to support it to personal computers. America Online (AOL) and Prodigy emerge as dial-in networks.

  • 1987 – Air France and Lufthansa develop the Amadeus CRS.

  • 1988 – Videcom, the first multi-access global reservations system is migrated into the Galileo CRS.

  • 1990 – The first mobile phone the Nokia 9000 Communicator is launched in Finland.

  • 1990 to 1993 – Delta, Trans World and Northwest Airlines form Worldspan as British Airways, KLM and United create Galileo based on the Apollo platform.

  • 1994 – Version 4 of the BGP protocol is created and effectively decentralizes the Internet into a wholly public communications medium.

  • 1996 – Microsoft Corporation launches Expedia. USA Networks (later InterActiveCorp) under Barry Diller purchases the company for $1.5 billion.

  • 2001 – September 11, a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon prompts an 80% decline in travel.

  • 2001 – Blackberry launches the first phone-based e-mail delivery system.

  • 2006 – Travelport, owner of Galileo purchases Worldspan and immediately controls 46% of the travel agency market.

  • 2008 – The Hospitality Performance Group (HPG) is launched and immediately begins to change electronic marketing for the travel and hospitality industries.

  • 2009 – One of HPG’s 1st clients soundly beats all competitors in the Orlando market for occupancy and RevPar in Q-1.

Where is your operation relative to history? Surprisingly many have not progressed from the first days of the GDS or 3rd Party merchants. The fact is, customer behavior has changed with the Internet and if your operation is not effective within this pervasive medium your future success is unlikely. As they say, “if you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you always got – or less”. Communicate with the Hospitality Performance Group and let us help you move your operation into the present and let’s work together for the future.

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