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Travelport launches new tool at Capa’s Airlines in Transition conference

October 5, 2013

(Published in TTG 12.04.13)

Travelport has launched a new tool, the Travelport Merchandising Platform, to give airlines more flexibility in the fares and ancillaries they publish on the GDS, writes Matthew Parsons in Dublin.

The new software will allow airlines to put their full range of extras, such as extra bags, seat types and meals, in front of agents, via API. The ancillary market is set to be worth £45 billion by 2015, according to Capa – Centre for Aviation.

Speaking at the launch, Ian Heywood, head of global supplier strategy, said the move would appeal to no-frills carriers, with easyJet already plugging into the system.

“We are not forcing any airline to distribute in a certain way,” he said. “But to distribute ancillaries, to more people, you can’t just do it on your own website.”

Later this year, rich content and branding will be added, allowing agents to see seat types in pictures for the first time, without having to leave the workflow.

Steven Ratcliffe, product director, said it was important for agents to be able to upsell.

“We’re mixing API with GDS standards and putting the upsell in front of agents. After usability testing, we found the agent’s perception of the airline was greatly enhanced with imagery,” he said.

Catherine Lynn, easyJet commercial director, said the tool “made it easier for business passengers”. “We’ve been challenging Travelport. We have 10 million business passengers, who mostly book via our website. This new tool now provides a lever for TMCs to help customers.

“It’s industry-changing software and it’s a journey for easyJet to get more into corporate.”

Air Canada has also signed up to the Travelport Merchandising Platform.

However, Travelport declined to comment on whether it had been in talks with Ryanair over the service: “It’s up to them,” said Heywood. “In the past, the technology wasn’t there for Ryanair to work with us. We have changed. We are the flexible partner, and it’s Ryanair’s choice if it wants to work with the travel agent community.”

Derek Sharp, managing director, global distribution and sales, added: “Travelport Merchandising Platform paves the way for significant change in the distribution landscape by enabling airlines to go to market with all of their products in the right place, at the right time, in every channel. It provides complete consistency in how an airline’s product portfolio is presented and sold across all channels.”

The platform had taken two years to develop, and can be integrated into most airlines’ booking systems within three months.

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