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20 Innovative IT Ideas To Steal

InformationWeek 500 innovators have creative solutions to not-so-unusual business problems. How can these help your company?
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InterContinental Hotels Group's reservation processing system gets 45 million room availability and rate requests a day, with a 44% year-over-year increase in requests. In 2010, IHG forecast the system would reach capacity by the third quarter, requiring a $1.5 million upgrade. That spurred IHG to develop Smart Cache Services, a data caching model that let its partners and online travel agencies like Travelocity more efficiently manage IHG's room rates and availability information. The system alerts them when a rate or availability changes, so partners don't have to constantly ping the system to check for changes. With Smart Cache, requests from partners to the hotel group's systems dropped 95%, from 4 million per day to 200,000. Its look-to-book ratio (number of site visits compared with number of bookings) went from 2,000-to-1 to 80-to-1. And instead of keeping this innovation to itself, IHG has released it to the open community. OpenTravel Alliance, a nonprofit trade association, has made one of the services--the Change Discovery Service--part of its 2010B specifications, so other hotels can adopt it.

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