Eaglelion, a systems technology firm, and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia have together launched a hotel booking and payment system. GetRooms and GetFee are the newly launched application platforms designed specifically for hotel and other hospitality service users. The platforms’ developer company, Eaglelion, elaborated on the applications at an event held today at Ethiopian Skylight hotel.
GetRooms is a platform for tourists mainly and is hoped to lift the hospitality and hotel industry significantly. It allows users to choose from a multitude of hotels, guest apartments, resorts and other available accommodation services in Ethiopia. Available on both Android and iOS, the platforms deliver detailed and verified information for users. It gives a 24/7 reservation service, maximizes booking revenue for the Ethiopian travel and tourism industry, allows for appealing offers. It is available in local and international languages and is accessible for more than 10 million online payers.
The other application platform is GetFee which in an international invoicing system allowing transaction and settling of bills from any international account at any place and time. This feature is designed for hotel and hospitality business owners helping in booking and transaction management, local and international invoicing, inventory management, user management and Hotel management and reporting.
Speaking at the event, CBE president Abe Sano said that, “There have been several efforts to exclude cash payments and transition into digital payment and the launching of these two platforms is a hallmark of these attempts.” He also mentioned that over the past 3-4 years Ethiopia has moved to carry out 57% of its transaction through digital payment system. Although appreciable, it still needs major revamping works to catch up with neighboring countries such as Kenya.
Selamawit Dawit, Minister D’etat of the Tourism minister said that “Digital transformation plays a great role for one of the 5 sectorial focuses of the government, which is Tourism. It is also vital for digital transformation of the tourism industry.” Additionally, the newly launched application platforms will ease data acquisition for income revenue of the tourism sector.
These application platforms play a significant role in securing much needed foreign currency by drawing more online customers that would have otherwise booked their hospitality reservations through expedia and booking.com websites. These two platforms have negative repercussions on the Ethiopian tourism since they do not pay tax and their high commission percentage for themselves deprives the Ethiopian economy millions of dollars annually, as pointed out at the event.