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Only TMP gives agents optimum access to all air product, claims Travelport


Issues & Trends – April 2013

Only TMP gives agents optimum access to all air product, claims Travelport

Derek SharpDELTA Air Lines and KLM have a similar “Economy Comfort” seating product, but they make it available to the distribution system in different ways.

KLM connects through traditional ATPCO technology. Delta uses an API connection. But agents using Galileo, Worldspan and Apollo can view both products on the same screen, according to the GDS’ parent company Travelport which claims to be “the only GDS that allows agencies to shop both types of carriers in a single display and booking flow”.

“The KLM and Delta displays look and feel the same to agents who interact with exactly the same seat map,” said Travelport’s managing director of global distribution sales and services Derek Sharp.

He was speaking to travelBulletin following the launch of the Travelport Merchandising Platform (TMP) earlier this month at CAPA’s “Airlines in Transition” summit in Dublin.

The platform has three elements:

• Aggregated Shopping consolidates results for both ATPCO and API connected carriers “so there is no need to duplicate shopping requests and compare across several screens,” according to Travelport’s launch announcement.

“Simply put, Aggregated Shopping gives airlines the ability to distribute their content in the way they choose to, and for travel agents to be able to sell this through a consistent, efficient workflow”.

• Ancillary Services enables agents “to sell airline ancillaries within their existing workflow so there is no need to navigate to airline.com to offer the full range of products for carriers that choose to do so,” the Travelport announcement stated.

• Rich Content and Branding is currently under development with partner airlines and is scheduled to launch later this year.

Travelport says it will allow airlines “to communicate the value of their products to, and through, the agency community.

“Travel agents (will) have access to all of the information on an airline’s product within the booking flow, improving efficiency, levels of service and the ability to make informed travel choices.”

In effect, Travelport is claiming it is already delivering the sort of outcomes that IATA aspires to achieve with its New Distribution Capability (NDC).

Sharp said the development of an industry standard may be helpful in the future but Travelport is providing practical solutions for airlines and agents here and now.

He stressed that the Travelport Merchandising Platform will work for airlines whether they rely on ATPCO (as most legacy carriers currently do) or APIs (as is the case with most low cost carriers).
And agents will get the information on a single screen whether they use green screen cryptic commands, point and click graphical user interfaces or a hybrid of the two.

Sharp noted that, whatever happens with the development of the NDC, many airlines will continue with ATPCO for many years into the future.

He claimed: “We are the only GDS encouraging airlines to connect in any way they want in order to deliver their full product portfolio with equal impact across all distribution channels.

“We are already utilising new technologies to work with any and all airlines interested in partnering to enable travel agents and consumers to shop, compare and buy travel in whichever channel they choose.”

Travelport this month launched Aggregated Shopping with EasyJet, boasting: “Travelport-connected agents can now sell all EasyJet fares and ancillaries, including those that were previously only available on the carrier’s website.

“This makes Travelport the only GDS that allows its subscribers to shop, price and book fares and ancillaries from all types of carrier in a common workflow regardless of the technology used to aggregate that content.”

In addition to EasyJet, Delta and KLM, existing implemented examples of the Travelport Merchandising Platform cited by the company include:

• Travelport agents can access and sell all Air Canada products including ancillaries and fare families (using an API connection with ATPCO filed fares);

• Travelport agents can book prepaid seating on British Airways flights for the first time via GDS using their usual desktop and workflow processes (using API connectivity); and

• Travelport agents can sell ancillary services from Air New Zealand, Alitalia and Aegean (using ATPCO filed ancillary services fulfilled via Electronic Miscellaneous Document).

 

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