Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Changing Face of Travel Distribution

This week, United Airlines is holding a summit entitled "Letting the GNE Out of the Bottle." (GNE is entities acronym for GDS New Entrants). Corporate buyers, TMCs and solution providers have been invited to UA's headquarters to discuss alternative distribution. This meeting demonstrates how serious the major carriers are about lowering distribution costs. ITA software and G2Switchworks are among the vendors presenting their distribution vision. By the nature of the attendees it is clear that UA recognizes that both the corporate buyer and their TMC must participate in an alternate GDS platform. For those corporations that have embraced self-booking, this move to alternate distribution will be easier as tools such as Outtask's Cliqbook are hooked into the new pipes provided by G2, ITA and others. The key issue that remains is support of non GDS bookings. Here the recurrent theme of a "super PNR" has relevance. For TMCs who continue to support their corporations using GDS "green screen" technology, embracing an alernative distribution platform will be challenging. Given the dire economic realtities of the major U.S. carriers this meeting signals a major trend that will have momentum in 2005.

36 comments:

AceMakr said...

Norm, Jay Campbell (BusinessTravelBeat.com) does commentary on the travel industry and also did a bit on the UA sponsored meeting. Not sure it fits within your budget but if you're not already a subscriber, you might consider it. btw, no connection other than Sabre has an enterprise agreement with him.

Gary

Adam said...

Hi Norm,

Wanted to say hi, and thank you for starting to publish this blog. Its right up my alley. My team is launching the online travel startup TripInvite.com in a few weeks and I write on travel at my blog, techpolicy.typepad.com/iamadamsmith

Now, I believe that a GNE is going to blow the existing GDSs out of the water, probably bankrupting two of them in the next five years.

Could you tell me a little more about what you meant by:
"The key issue that remains is support of non GDS bookings. Here the recurrent theme of a "super PNR" has relevance."

I saw in today's Travel Weekly that Travelocity attended United's Letting the GNE out summit. Even if some old school agencies and corporate travel offices have trouble switching over to GNEs, I dont think it matters. 1st, online travel is continuing to steal market share from brick&mortar, and nearly all new marginal growth will be from online companies.

After going through the torture of integrating our site with Galileo, I can only imagine that most online travel companies, especially startups, will go with the GNEs.

Norm Rose said...

Adam,

Thanks for your comments and for blogging me.
One aspect of the GNEs is the ability to tap a multi-GDS platform reducing the need for developers from writing a separate interface for each GDS.
The support issue is referring to the need for the travel agents to adopt a neutral POS display rather than depending on the GDS as the repository for all passenger information.

Best Regards,

Norm

Norm Rose said...

Adam,

Thanks for your comments and for blogging me.
One aspect of the GNEs is the ability to tap a multi-GDS platform reducing the need for developers from writing a separate interface for each GDS.
The support issue is referring to the need for the travel agents to adopt a neutral POS display rather than depending on the GDS as the repository for all passenger information.

Best Regards,

Norm

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For those corporations that have embraced self-booking, this move to alternate distribution will be easier as tools such as Outtask's Cliqbook are hooked into the new pipes provided by G2, ITA and others.

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