Travelport GDSs poised to display ‘what’s in a fare’

Travelport GDSs poised to display ‘what’s in a fare’

Travelport is close to unveiling branded air fares and full-service content on global distribution system (GDS) displays.

The technology company, owner of the Galileo GDS widely used in the UK, is due to launch the system with five airlines in two to three months.

Travelport believes the development will go a long way to meeting the demands of full-service carriers such as British Airways which want to differentiate what they offer on GDSs more than simply on price.

The system will display features of an airline’s service – such as a flat bed, lounge or Wifi – in a pop-up box when agents using an updated GDS display look at a fare.

Travelport president and chief executive Gordon Wilson said: “The airlines want to refine their offer. They are spending millions on their brand and want it represented on screen. You will see an announcement in the next few weeks involving major airlines.”

BA, in particular, has complained about the cost of GDS distribution and challenged the GDSs to deliver more in return. Last year, BA head of UK sales Richard Tams described the current GDS model as “broken” and said: “Airlines need to be able to freely manage the content they own.”

The development of branded fares comes amid a raft of technology features and platforms being rolled out by Travelport, which also owns the Worldspan GDS.

Travelport recently launched a new desktop application, SmartPoint, following trials in Europe. This offers an interactive version of the traditional green screen used by agents through an interface that works both with familiar command codes and point-and-click technology.

The company also rolled out a hotel reservations tool, Rooms and More, which allows agents to book more than 200,000 properties and handles their commission.

This and SmartPoint were bundled together in a connection package called Agility, launched this month.

Travelport is also offering enhanced fare search and pricing systems. However, the company sees SmartPoint as a stepping stone to a new, graphical booking tool called Universal Desktop which is undergoing extensive trials and is already in use in Flight Centre stores.

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