Travelport plans to roll out its new travel agency desktop in early 2009 with a number of "wow factors," including access to the Sabre and, eventually, Amadeus GDSs.
Development of the new work environment took a leap forward with the acquisition of G2 Switchworks' "Kestrel" point-of-sale application in April, Flo Lugli, Travelport GDS' senior vice president, commercial, said. Travelport also gained 18 former G2 employees. With the acquisition of Worldspan last year, Travelport now operates three GDS cores -- Galileo, Apollo and Worldspan -- but "our mantra has been 'no forced migration,'" Lugli told TTU. "So it was critical to gain efficiencies through a multi-GDS desktop."
A key element of the desktop will be its ability to create an off-TPF "universal data record" that will aggregate and synchronize information from multiple sources dynamically.
Michael Harbin, director of product strategy for Travelport GDS, said the system will function "proactively." For example, if a flight change affects a hotel or car rental reservation, or if a customer's credit card is about to expire, it will push that information to the agent.
Similarly, it will send out alerts about unused airline tickets and other unresolved issues.
Agency managers also will be able to design rules to prioritize tasks, such as dealing with a severe missed connection or a customer with a VIP profile.
"You can inject policy and preferences at every point," he said. In addition, he said, quality assurance "is inherent to the process."
The new desktop also will enable suppliers to "sell the way they want to," Lugli said.
Airlines that are "unbundling" their products will be able to collect prepayment for various services, and hotels will be able to provide deeper content that is integrated from multiple sources, she said.
"We have been very diligent in talking to the market," she said. "We want to understand the pain points." There is "no reason" that the system could not be configured to show the total cost of flights, including options and fees, across the top carriers in a market, she said.
The desktop also will also take targeted advertising to a new level. If, for example, an agent books a flight to Cleveland, an ad for a Cleveland hotel with which the agency has a relationship could appear. Such advertising would depend entirely on that relationship, Harbin said.
Lugli noted that the new desktop will focus more on services than on segments, which "really enables us to look at different economics."
"This puts everything on the table," she said. "There are varying models involved: merchandising, advertising, transaction, subscription. Whoever is realizing value should pay for it."