Amadeus plans to introduce Crazy Shopping, an application that will free searches from the tyranny of origin, destination and time frame, in the second quarter of next year. The new search functionality enable users to query airlines in new ways: "I live between Frankfurt and Munich and can fly from either airport. I would like to go to either Thailand or Indonesia. Show me my options." Or, "I have €600. Where can I go?"
At the Amadeus E-Commerce Conference held earlier this month in Cannes, France, Denis LaCroix, vice president of sales and e-commerce platforms, said Crazy Shopping will be enabled by a massive computation platform that Amadeus is developing.
LaCroix said the results will not be real-time; in most cases, he said, it won't matter if the data are a few hours old. Nor will the system be entirely open-ended. A query for "all fares from Germany to the world" would produce 6 billion results, and "that would be totally useless," he said.
The second phase of the new shopping functionality will be "affinity shopping," allowing users to search based on preferences and interests. Amadeus also is enabling carriers to offer every seat in their inventory to customers for a mix of cash and frequent flyer miles. "We all hear people say, 'I have a ton of miles and I can't use them,'" LaCroix said. With airlines tightening requirements for reward travel, the y risk further antagonizing passengers.
The "any seat" concept will enable a carrier to dynamically adjust the balance of cash and miles that it can require for any given seat in its system, thereby allowing passengers to benefit from their mileage accruals while the airline maximizes revenue. Amadeus also is working to replace the "very old, very crude" passenger name record with a new off-TPF version called a Booking File that can store numerous document types. Currently, LaCroix said, the PNR stores basic information such as name, flight and ticket number, and "it's not easy to store other stuff, such as a scanned passport."
The first implementation of the Booking File will make its debut in the second half of 2009 with the ability to capture and store ancillary services, he said. That will be attractive to airlines that don't like sharing their customers with third-party white-label providers, LaCroix said.
Amadeus is planning for the unknowable future with the Booking File: Ultimately, it will be able to store such unlikely objects as MP3 files. "I don't know why you would want to, but why not?" LaCroix said.