Since last fall’s rollout of Affinity Shopper, the application that allows travelers to search airline websites for destinations based on their interests, budgets and other criteria, the Amadeus team has been working to put more speed into the searches.
“That’s been our focus since Christmas,” Denis Lacroix, vice president of product development, sales and e-commerce platforms, told TTU during the Amadeus Airline e-Commerce Conference in Cannes, France. Having built a “massive computational platform,” Lacroix is looking to greatly cut the amount of time for the search engine to comb through the data.
While that is the current focus, Lacroix is looking ahead to new applications for Extreme Search, the technology behind Affinity Shopper.
Several online travel agencies have asked him whether Amadeus can replicate Affinity Shopper with multiple airlines and package the air purchase with a hotel.
“We are targeting an OTA launch customer by the end of the year,” Lacroix said.
Meanwhile, his team is taking the Extreme Search concept to the corporate travel arena with “Total Trip Concept,” which will relieve the traveler of having to figure out some of the logistics of a trip.
“The acid test is: I’m in Nice, and I have a 9 a.m. meeting in Frankfurt,” Lacroix said.
“First of all, is it even possible to get there in time if I leave on the same day?” If TTC determines that it is possible, it will then figure out the best combination of flight and ground transportation.
The task of assembling the necessary data and applying corporate policy “is not as hard as we thought it would be,” Lacroix said.
In most major European cities, there are three options for ground transportation: taxis, rental cars and public transportation such as rail or trams. The public option doesn’t have to take traffic jams into consideration. In the U.S., where large cities often lack speedy public options, the task is somewhat harder.
Lacroix also wants searches to become more “Google-like,” enabling the user to ask a question in natural language rather than sticking to a format or filling in fields on a web page.