New long-term agreements of Amadeus, Sabre and KAYAK with ATPCO will facilitate product differentiation from airlines and travel sellers

It is that time of the year that we regularly walk down city high streets mesmerised by the inviting window displays. Months of thought and years of industry experience has gone into the displays that  meet the differing objectives of each and every brand, and ultimately entice the shopper to move inside and spend.

For Amadeus, this is an excellent analogy to help explain why it and GDS rival Sabre have both recently signed-up to distribute ATPCO’s Routehappy Rich Content into their various flight shopping interfaces and applications serving travel agencies, online travel agencies, corporate booking tools and other sellers.

“Luxury stores and boutiques have mastered how to merchandise at the point of sale window. However, other sectors have not been sitting still either,” explains Ludo Verheggen, director of global air content adoption strategy of travel channels at Amadeus, bit it is perhaps less obvious than on the high-street. But, merchandising is already a strategic component in product commercialisation and, in the travel industry, airlines and travel agencies are very aware of this.

Airlines are now taking advantage of enhanced technological offers and increasingly differentiating their products, and competing to offer tailored experiences for every trip, by offering multiple options for every part of the journey. From the travel agency’s point of view, new opportunities to address their customers’ needs and enhance their loyalty arise.

To facilitate the product differentiation from airlines to travel sellers around the world, Amadeus and Sabre both signed long-term agreements with ATPCO last month. KAYAK has also signed a multi-year retailing deal with the company to integrate all three Routehappy Rich Content types: Amenities, Universal Ticket Attributes (UTA), and Universal Product Attributes (UPA) for its portfolio of travel brands

So what is all the fuss? Well, the agreement allows the platforms to integrate an extensive portfolio of airline rich content, including pictures and information on in-flight services, into their flight shopping solutions.

At Amadeus, Mr Verheggen explains this new rich content “will be deployed in both seller and traveller applications powered by Amadeus, including our flight shopping APIs, which are used by corporate booking tools and online travel agencies.” Ultimately, it will enhance its shop window experience for travellers and travel sellers, who “will be able to compare even better all the different flight offers thanks to the additional information and pictures of the flight attributes,” he adds.

Regardless of who has the best window display consumers remain a fickle bunch when it comes to making purchases. But, what this does emphasise is another step in the digital transformation of the travel industry, described by Routehappy founder Robert Albert as the “tipping point” for rapid growth and innovation around the content.

It will take some time for the content to be incorporated, but Amadeus and Sabre both expect to see key developments in 2020. “This will take months and years to accomplish,” acknowledges Mr Albert, “but flight shopping will never be the same again”. Coupled with the progress with IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC), these are all solid stepping stones towards the formation of true travel retailing environments.

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