Concern in the travel industry over costs when meta search engines scrape a supplier’s websites for results has resulted in a new technology platform being built to ease relations between the two.
GDS and technology provider Amadeus is understood to have been approached by a number of airlines about the issue in the past year with a view to developing a solution to the problem, Travolution can reveal.
Amadeus, which couldn’t be reached for comment as Travolution went to press, is likely to officially unveil the product to clients and the wider industry in the coming weeks.
The initial version of the product is expected to be rolled out to existing airline clients of Amadeus, with a solution for online travel agents earmarked for the end of the year.
The system will be work by distributing the fares an airline wants to make available to the meta search engines. It is hoped the new go-between will also reduce the strain put on back-end systems of suppliers when bombarded with data queries.
Two OTAs are believed to have been approached about the product in recent weeks and are “very enthusiastic”, a senior industry figure said.
Critics of the meta search model have praised its role for driving more traffic to supplier sites and boosting sales, but have ultimately questioned the economics of the relationship.
Some suppliers are understood to have seen their look-to-lead ratios soar to one-to-1,000 in recent months, triggering the move by Amadeus, which is likely to be well-received by both suppliers and the growing meta search community.
Airlines have been particularly hit by the popularity of meta search engines such as Travelsupermarket and Kelkoo.
At June’s Institute of Travel and Tourism annual conference in Oman, Opodo openly questioned the role of meta search engines amid growing unease about the costs being incurred from the high levels of data passing through its systems from suppliers to meta search engines.
The move is also timely for Amadeus as a string of new meta search engines enter the market and suppliers are likely to feel an extra squeeze as more searches are carried out.