Sabre and Amadeus revealed details of their new joint venture that aims to provide an industry solution for secure, automated payment processing, clearing and reconciliation of non-air travel components.
The joint venture received antitrust approval from the European Commission on Sept. 12.
Called Moneydirect, the solution is based on an Amadeus product launched in Australia and New Zealand in 1998. It will focus on hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, car rental companies, ferries, railways, and travel intermediaries such as travel agencies and wholesalers.
James Filsinger, chief executive officer and general manager of Moneydirect, said operations, which are currently hosted in Australia, will move to Ireland, with subsidiary offices in Australia and the U.S.
He said travel agencies can use Moneydirect to pass payments onto suppliers minus their commissions. They also can use it to schedule several payments to cruise and tour companies in installments.
Moneydirect also will address currency issues, he said.
For example, a U.S. travel agent who books a hotel in Australia might get a $10 check issued in Australian dollars 90 days later.
Moneydirect will enable the hotel to transfer the amount immediately directly into the agency's bank account.
"Payment can go in either direction," Filsinger said. "If a hotel company manages hotel commissions directly, it can use Moneydirect to pay agencies. He said the platform is flexible enough to handle transactions in which the agent has a net rate and can retain the markup when the customer's credit card is charged the full price for a travel component.
Any size agency, hotel or other travel company can use the product, he said. "Even a small company that provides scuba tours can use it, so it may open the door to some new content that wasn't ready available before," he said.
Filsinger said the fee structure has not yet been finalized but will be transaction-based. "We have a fee model that ranges from 10 to 20 cents, depending on the type of transaction," he said.
Moneydirect will be GDS-independent, he said. The joint venture is looking at ways in which it can communicate with agencies' back-office systems in an efficient manner.
In granted approval to the joint venture, the EC said it concluded that "the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it. . .. There would be no horizontal or vertical overlaps between the activities of Moneydirect and its parent companies."
The EC added that "this business is not closely related to the parties' GDS business" and Amadeus and Sabre "have put in place structures to limit the information flows between Moneydirect and its parent companies."
Previously, Filsinger was vice president of new business ventures at Sabre Holdings. Laurent Chartier, who was a director in Amadeus' corporate strategy department, will be chief operating officer of Moneydirect.