Amadeus, Sabre Enhance Search, Shopping Functions
by Michèle McDonald

Amadeus and Sabre Travel Network are both taking steps to improve travel search functionality.

Amadeus signed a strategic partnership agreement with Couchbase, a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of database technology, to use high-performance data management in order to improve the online travel shopping experience.

Amadeus will use Couchbase’s availability applications to ensure that shoppers see only prices that are current and available for purchase.

Real-time accuracy
Shoppers complain that searches on some online travel agencies yield fares that are no longer available when they get to the point of purchase. This is often due to caching, a process by which fares are stored in a GDS for a time to prevent constant hits on airline systems.

Amadeus said real-time fare accuracy can only be reached via a “highly effective data management backbone,” where information is replicated within milliseconds – a more sophisticated type of caching.

The first pilot with Couchbase, already under way, applies to all online solutions available via Amadeus’ distribution networks.

Enhanced flexibility
Couchbase and Amadeus will also work to introduce more scalability and flexibility to Amadeus’ service-oriented architecture, enabling it to build new products and extend existing product portfolios.

Prototypes will be implemented next year, and the new class of applications is expected to be available in 2015 and 2016.

Sabre’s new platform
Sabre launched what it calls the “air shopping platform for the future.”

Sabre said it is based on a “specifically developed algorithm that searches, evaluates and ranks more than a billion fare combinations, providing the shopper with a comprehensive list of the lowest fare options.”  

It also provides the ability to return multiple prices for the same itinerary, allowing travelers to shop and compare the different fares and services offered by airlines.

Sabre said it will also enable new services such as expanded calendar search and an enhanced “alternate city” search.  

Lower fares
To bolster its claim that the new shopping platform produces the lowest fares, Sabre commissioned Dr. Fried & Partner, a Munich-based consultancy, to conduct a competitive GDS low-fare search study.

The study included the 100 top-booked city pairs in 24 countries from key regions – North America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; Asia-Pacific and Latin America – each with eight combinations of advance purchase and travel duration.

According to the study, the average saving on the lowest Sabre fares is 2% against Amadeus and more than 10% against Travelport.

In a win-tie-loss comparison with Amadeus, Sabre tied 58.8% of the time, won 25.3% of the time and lost 15.9% of the time, the study said.

In a comparison with Travelport, the study said, Sabre tied 51.5% of the time, won 40.8% of the time and lost 7.7% of the time.

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Tip of the Day
The consumer is unaware of how many booking brands are actually owned by larger OTAs. A full 75% of all third parties roll into Expedia, and another 20% into Priceline. Consumers believe they are getting a choice but they are dealing with very few companies.
 
Katherine Lugar
American Hotel & Lodging Association
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