This article has been updated.
Open booking is only as good as the tools and the technology that allow it to happen.
Concur was one of the first vendors to introduce tools to support open booking outside traditional TMC channels. Now the GDSs, TMCs, software companies such as Germany-based SAP, and other suppliers are offering tools to support out-of-channel booking.
Here’s a quick look at open booking tools from four vendors that made an appearance in the exhibit hall at the recent GBTA conference.
The Amadeus One suite is integrated with Concur to support open booking for companies that want to loosen the bounds of travel policy. The underlying concept is that travel departments either have to meet travelers’ expectations for ease of use and breadth of access or they will fire up their own apps without regard to policy.
The Open Profile suite combines data from multiple channels and maintains a single traveler profile across HR, Travel and other corporate departments as needed. Coming next is a tool to unify data on a per-trip basis under a single PNR.
Concur replaced the Open Booking name with TripLink when it acquired GDSx earlier this year. The new product is designed to appeal to travel managers and TMCs who want better visibility across travel that is being booked outside traditional channels.
TripLink collects booking data from TMCs, brand.com websites that have signed onto the program and other sources and aggregates it into a single feed for TMCs and travel managers. The product similarly collects itinerary and expense data to help fill out a view of a business trip.
Sabre is rolling out the TruTrip Hub, a program the company calls an intelligent rules engine that can aggregate travel and itinerary data from multiple sources inside and outside the conventional managed travel system to create a single graphical itinerary. Traveler, corporation and TMC can all access the same data via mobile or web-based links.
TruTrip combines existing capabilities in TripCase, GetThere and Sabre Red. The open booking service is called TruTrip Shop, a gateway that extends the reach of managed travel beyond the core Sabre travel marketplace.
SAP Cloud for Travel and Expense is a cloud-based product that comes at open booking from the cost-control side. It's solution takes a trip-centric view and combines multiple steps from trip approval through booking, travel and reimbursement into a view.
Like many products, SAP Cloud for Travel and Expense only works with a select universe of suppliers, but SAP has signed up about 170 vendors, including hotel chains and OTAs, that can push data directly to SAP.
Travelers who try to book and buy outside the system will still run into road blocks, but SAP is expanding the list of cooperating suppliers and letting travel managers set their own limits based on company policy.