Travelport, a leading distribution services and e-commerce provider for the global travel industry, recently held a media event at its European headquarters in the UK and gathered together journalists from Travelport locations across Europe.
A total of 18 journalists from Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Austria, Norway, France, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands and Romania visited Travelport’s European headquarters and were informed on the latest on Travelport Merchandising Platform, Travelport uAPI, Hospitality and Point of Sale.
The journalists saw product demonstrations direct from the leaders of Travelport’s product developments and gained insight on what’s next for Travelport and the industry.
“More people traveling to more places”
“I’ve never seen the travel industry as rapid as it is today,” Travelport’s chief marketing officer, Bryan Conway, told the media at the launch of the media event. Mr. Conway presented data, according to which a doubling of travelers is expected in the next 20 years. “Travelport’s approach is to continue to provide the broadest possible range of travel content to the widest available audience through whatever means they wish to access it,” he informed journalists attending the event.
European Managed Travel: Growth Returns But Austerity Here To Stay
Travelport’s Damiano Sabatino, VP and managing director, introduced the Travelport-sponsored PhoCusWright white paper on the European managed travel sector that identifies new consumer demands and changes in corporate booking behavior. The study’s main conclusion was that while some countries face greater difficulties than others, Europe on the whole is continuing to shake off the effects of the economic downturn, and the challenges have altered the region’s managed travel marketplace.
“Overall, the European managed travel market is growing (modestly) and is moving online, particularly as more companies adopt managed travel policies to monitor and curtail expenses,” Mr. Sabatino informed the media. “Given the prevalence of restrictions on premium travel and accommodations, suppliers that offer more options are likely to be better positioned,” he said.
eNett Virtual Account Numbers (VANs)
Travelport’s Jason Hancock and Bryan Staunton gave insight on eNett International, a joint venture between Travelport and PSP International that provides a secure and cost effective virtual card solution that ensures efficient payments.
eNett’s Virtual Account Numbers (VANs), formerly known as vNett, can be used to make more secure and efficient payments to airlines, hotels, car rental companies and other suppliers. VANs eliminate the risk of misuse by issuing a MasterCard® virtual account number for each specific transaction.
VANs are available globally to travel suppliers (e.g., air, car, hotel) and all types of travel agencies (e.g., corporate, online, leisure).
Travelport’s Niklas Andreen and Richard Veitch informed on the GDS provider’s latest on hospitality solutions that “empower travel agents to respond to customers with confidence.” Journalists were informed on Travelport’s rate compliance program and soon-to-launch rating and reviews system. Innovations are also expected for Travelport’s “Rooms and More” solution that offers agents access to a wide variety of accommodations around the world. Features include enabling travel agents to find the accommodations their clients desire with highly flexible search options (price, star rating, location, facilities, activities) and also capture valuable booking and commission data to easily identify and capitalize on the most profitable segments of their businesses. The solution also shows offers for the same hotel from different aggregators for access to the best available offers.
In Travelport’s Open Platform session, journalists were informed by Phil Donathy and Pieter van der Voort on the Travelport Universal API that gives travel agents access to a world of content and functionality through a single API connection so they can access, shop and book travel content from multiple sources. It provides access to worldwide low cost carriers, high speed rail providers and multi-source content via a single API and helps agents clear the clutter of multiple programming interfaces and also save valuable time and money.
Travelport Mobile Agent: Customers are mobile – so now travel agents can be too
During the session, journalists were also informed by Susana Goncalves from tts (Travel Technology Solutions) on the Travelport Mobile Agent that gives travel agents access to their Galileo and Apollo systems with their smartphone or tablet. This gives agents the opportunity to conduct business when clients need them most.
Travelport Merchandising Platform
Travelport’s Fergal Kelly, Ian Heywood and Oscar Castano gave journalists a demonstration of the Travelport Merchandising Platform that transforms the way airlines deliver their products and the way that those products are displayed to travel agents. The platform enables an airline to distribute all of its products any way they choose and at the same time enables agents to access all airline content in their normal workflow in any way they choose.
Travel agents can access the full range of airline products, including ancillaries, in their familiar, consolidated and integrated workflow that assists them in making the best informed choice for their customers.
In late 2013 Travelport will add “Rich Content and Branding” to the platform that will give travel agents all of the information on an airline’s product within the booking flow.
Travelpoint Smartpoint App
Journalists were impressed when Jason Nash and Tracey Hempstock demonstrated the Travelport Smartpoint App, an add-on application for the Galileo Desktop that speeds up the reservation process, reduces call handling time and improves the agent user experience. The Smartpoint App combines the traditional cryptic commands with graphical overviews and click-through links.The product supports other GDS languages, eliminates the need for re-training, and allows any user to hit the ground running with the GDS language they are used to. The Travelpoint Smartpoint App reduces keystrokes substantially for the overall booking process by 15 percent and up to 72 percent when searching for the “best” itinerary to match travelers’ needs.