Travelport Moves Toward a Single Desktop in Canada

by Michele McDonald

Travelport is moving toward a single agency desktop in Canada, country manager Maurita Baker said.

Many Travelport subscribers in Canada use Agencia, the six-year-old desktop designed to provide access to Air Canada’s merchandising content.

Travelport was the first GDS company to accommodate the carrier’s desire to display its fare families and a la carte products on agency desktops, a capability that the cryptic format did not support.

Agencia is more likely to be found in agencies located where Air Canada is dominant, Baker said.

Many Travelport agencies in other areas, such as western Canada, have adopted Smartpoint, the preferred desktop for the corporate market, since its debut in 2011.

Smartpoint, now used by the majority of Travelport agents, allows them to toggle easily between cryptic formats and merchandising content, such as the Rich Content & Branding solution.

And Smartpoint will be the likely surviving desktop in Canada, Baker said, although it will incorporate “the best of both.”

“Having two is never as efficient,” Baker said.

Such a move will involve some changes. Agencia consumes Air Canada’s content via the carrier’s API, developed by Farelogix. Smartpoint does not, so Air Canada’s merchandising context goes into Rich Content & Branding.

Eventually, that disparity will be resolved, Baker said.

Advances in GDS technology have greatly minimized the issues that accompanied conversions from one system to another in the past.

Agencia was born after the simmering relationship between Air Canada and the GDSs came to a boil in 2006.

The carrier yanked its lowest fare level, Tango, from the GDSs because it was an early example of a “stripped-down fare:” Seat assignments cost more, and travelers earned 50% of the usual mileage.

In addition to upsell opportunities, the carrier could “downsell” Tango passengers offering — offering discounts for not checking a bag or agreeing to make no changes — but at the time, the GDSs had no way of conveying those options.

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