AA Exec: Travelport Deal ‘Works for Both of Us’

by Michèle McDonald
AA Exec: Travelport Deal ‘Works for Both of Us’

The settlement agreement that brought an end to American Airlines’ antitrust lawsuit against Travelport is “plain evidence that an airline and a GDS can come together and work to deliver something that is good,” according to Cory Garner, American’s managing director of sales operations and distribution.

Garner told Travel Market Report that the agreement, which calls for the companies to integrate Travelport’s Universal API and American’s AADC direct-connect interface, required compromise from both sides but, in the end, “works for both of us.”

Initially, travel agents will have access to American’s Main Cabin Extra, its premium economy product, and to other desirable seats toward the front of the cabin. And “if all goes well,” there will be more to come, Garner said.

Coincides with NDC
The agreement comes at an interesting time for airline distribution, as IATA’s New Distribution Capability begins to take shape and undergoes testing this year.

The arrangement between American and Travelport is “perfectly consistent” with NDC, Garner said.

At this point, it’s not clear exactly what agents will see on their screens when the integration is complete. The Travelport Universal Desktop offers the capability of visual displays of airline products.

AA’s shopping engine
But Garner said the display is not as important as the fact that American is bringing its own shopping engine – one that was developed by Google’s ITA Software unit – to the party.

“The shopping logic is the key here,” he said.

Long before IATA began talking about “personalization,” American envisioned a system that would marry ancillary products to proprietary customer data to create customized offers.

No timeline for integration
Garner said he does not have a timeline for when the integration will be complete. “I hope it doesn’t drag on,” he said. “The content is compelling, and I think a lot of people will want access to it.”

Travelport is no stranger to these types of integration, having achieved a similar link with Southwest Airlines.

It also developed the Agencia desktop for Canadian agents, which provides access to Air Canada’s merchandising efforts in a deal that Travelport chief Gordon Wilson describes as “the way of the future.”

  0
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Five Places to Go for Spring Travel

1. Carlsbad, Calif.

2. Aspen, Colo.

3. Kauai, Hawaii.

4. Cabo San Lucas

5. Washington, D.C.

Source: Forbes

Top Stories
Facebook Data Misuse Could Dampen Tool’s Marketing Utility
Facebook Data Misuse Could Dampen Tool’s Marketing Utility

Cambridge Analytica’s access to the data of tens of millions of Facebook users brings uncertainty to the future use of the social media platform for travel agents.

Seven Apps Every Travel Agent Should Be Using
Seven Apps Every Travel Agent Should Be Using

Constant Contact Founder Ron Cates has done the hard work for you and tested them all out. Read about his top picks, as told to travel agents at last week's Travel MarketPlace conference.

When It Comes to Technology, Adapt and Adopt or Become Obsolete
When It Comes to Technology, Adapt and Adopt or Become Obsolete

ASTA’s Premium Business Summit highlighted the dramatic change that technology will soon bring to the travel trade and implored agents to get up-to-speed.

Facebook Launches New Advertising Tool to Help Attract Clients
Facebook Launches New Advertising Tool to Help Attract Clients

Social media platform offers “Trip Consideration” marketing tool to help attract travelers expressing interest, but who haven’t decided where they will go.

Airbnb Launches Hotel Distribution Platform
Airbnb Launches Hotel Distribution Platform

Competing with OTAs, the move allows boutique hotels and B&Bs to list on its site through a third-party distribution service.

Sabre Corporation Adds New Lodging Content
Sabre Corporation Adds New Lodging Content

More than 900,000 property options from both GDS and non-GDS sources will be offered through Sabre Content Services for Lodging, which is set to launch later this year.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Luxury Retreats