Travelport celebrates one-year anniversary of Merchandising Platform

DUBLIN — Since launching its Travelport Merchandising Platform exactly one year ago to the day at the CAPA Airline Summit in Dublin, Travelport has outlined the significant progress it has made since launch.

The Travelport Merchandising Platform was developed to allow airlines to distribute and differentiate all of their fares and ancillaries via the travel agency channel, connecting to Travelport exactly how they chose to, while enabling travel agencies to fully compare the offers from those airlines. The platform offers three distinct solutions – Travelport Aggregated Shopping, Travelport Ancillary Services and Travelport Rich Content and Branding.

Since launching last April, Travelport has reported key successes in each of these areas.

• Travelport Aggregated Shopping – Bookings for Travelport Aggregated Shopping, an industry first, which allows travel agents to compare results from traditional carriers who connect through ATPCO with those from low cost carriers and others who prefer to connect with Travelport via an API connection, are showing a monthly growth rate of 60%. It’s anticipated that this figure will grow steadily during 2014 as more and more carriers come on board. The unique technology negates the need to shop and compare across several screens and allows travel agents to book both types of carriers in the same booking flow.

Recent signings include Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, which has now returned to the GDS channel and solely through Travelport, for the first time in over a decade, and AirAsia, Asia’s largest low cost carrier. These low cost carriers join launch partner easyJet as well as, and Tigerair. easyJet has stated that it grew its Travelport bookings by over 600% in January 2014, compared to the same period the previous year – five times more than originally forecasted.

• Travelport Ancillary Services – The last 12 months have also seen numerous airlines sign new content agreements with Travelport – both network and other low cost carriers – which have included a commitment to provide all Travelport agents globally with their extensive ancillaries through the Travelport Ancillary Services component of the platform. This component allows travel agents to sell airline ancillaries or ‘optional extras’, such as lounge passes, seats and bags, within their existing workflow rather than by booking on an airline website. Travelport now sells over 50 different ancillary products or ‘optional extras’ offered by 23 airlines across 178 countries. Airlines who have adopted the technology include Air Canada, KLM, Qantas, Air France, Alitalia, Air New Zealand, Aegean and Air Berlin. All the low cost carriers participating in Travelport Aggregated Shopping have also chosen to take advantage of this technology.

• Rich Content and Branding – Travelport has also enjoyed worldwide recognition and support for its highly progressive Rich Content and Branding retail solution. Rich Content and Branding allows airlines to more effectively control how their flights and ancillaries are visually presented and described on travel agency screens, bringing them more in line with the airline’s own website experience. This technology is on track to be launched globally over the coming months. An ‘alpha’ test phase using live content is currently under way with a number of airline partners and is scheduled for completion later in the year 2014.

Some 26 airlines have now signed up to use this solution when it goes live in Travelport’s Smartpoint agency desktop later this year. Delta, Peruvian Airlines, Ryanair, British Airways, Iberia, easyJet and Hong Kong Airlines are just a few of the high profile carriers who have signed up to date.

According to Derek Sharp, managing Director, Global Distribution Sales & Services, Travelport: “When we launched the Travelport Merchandising Platform one year ago, we were excited to be bringing new and innovative technology to the industry that would pave the way for significant change in the distribution landscape by enabling airlines to distribute all of their products in the right place, at the right time, in every channel. I’m pleased to report today some of the significant results that have been achieved since then which include seeing low cost carriers coming back into the GDS channel following very long absences and other carriers distributing through the GDS channel for the very first time. This is a clear demonstration of the value airlines are seeing in our approach and offering. We’re very much enabling our airline partners to distribute and market all of their content exactly the way they chose to and believe our technology has truly set us apart from our competitors.

“We’re not resting on our laurels though, we are continuing to work hard with numerous additional airlines to bring them onto the system and I expect to report many more significant achievements on our second anniversary.”

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