TTE: GDSs to bring touch screen to agencies

Touch screen technology is set to become a reality in travel agencies in the UK as GDS’s develop systems designed to simplify the booking process and enhance point of sale.

Sabre Travel Holdings is trialling a touch screen desktop in the US and the Travel Technology Europe show saw Amadeus-owned Traveltainment showcase its touch screen system.

Travel Technology EuropeSabre said initial feedback on the technology in the US has been good and Traveltainment expects its system to come to the UK later this year after trials in Germany next month.

It said the technology, which was displayed as a desktop but could be wall-mounted, had generated “incredible interest” at the two-day technology show this week.

The Microsoft Surface, which allows hands-on manipulation of imagery and other content, was demonstrated last year at the Travolution Summit.

The competitive GDS sector is seeing increasing technological competition between the three main global players as they look to justify their value both to airlines and agents.

Dean Bibb, Sabre Travel Holdings vice president of supplier relations and joint ventures, said its new agent interfaces were designed to allow agents to spend more time with clients.

“We are still some of the best aggregators of content, if not the best,” he said. “We recognise that’s out key role and through technology and products and services we have got to make that content aggregation as easy as possible for our customers.

“That’s been the real focus; making sure we are ahead of where our customers want to be. If you have the content you have to make the front end easier for the consultants.”

Bibb said Sabre’s more intuitive front is designed to help agencies cut down on training agents how to extract the relevant information, allowing them to spend more time with the customer.

One key area for GDSs is developing technology that incorporates airline ancillary sales and special fares, like family fares, to allow a more sophisticated comparison of fares and options.

Tim Russell, Amadeus managing director, said: “When push comes to shove if you can’t put the right fare in front of somebody you are in trouble.

“Cheap does not necessarily mean the best fare, we are looking at what a person wants when they enter their search.”

Russell said ancillaries are increasingly being used by airlines as the key differentiating factor rather than cabin grades and third party channels are proved to optimise yields and customer satisfaction.

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