GDS ownership of agency technology called ‘scary’
Continued from Page 48
TAKING TECH TO THE BANK
At Atlas, technology helps customers. Internally, software frees employees from mundane chores to focus on
customer service. Externally, software
frees clients to do their own jobs instead of attending to travel details.
Atlas has been tracking unused electronic tickets for corporate clients almost since e-tickets were introduced.
In the old days, circa 1995, somebody
had to enter unused tickets manually
into the traveler’s GDS profile. In 2001,
Atlas introduced an automated unused
ticket bank for corporate travelers.
the last time Expedia called and said,
‘Hey, we saw you didn’t travel, so we’ll
save that $350 nonrefundable ticket
for your next trip’?” Blanco asked.
fees and threats to restrict airline
content. Blanco doesn’t claim to have
foreseen this summer’s squabbling
among airlines, GDSs and agencies.
Elaine Osgood and, second
from right, Rock Blanco, of
Atlas Travel at the launch of a
product developed by agency
partner Portaga in New York.
YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY
Today, unused tickets are banked for
leisure travelers as well as for corporate
flyers. The next time a traveler flies,
banked credits are used before tapping
the customer’s credit card. “When was
“In a world where clients want
more and more service at lower and
lower cost, technology lets us extend
service in ways no one thought possible just last week.”
Take the fracas over GDS segment
But he has a solution, and it doesn’t
bode well for GDSs.
THE PROBLEM WITH GDSS
Atlas has been a Sabre agency for
years. But beyond immediate prob-
lems with new segment fees, Blanco
saw a bigger GDS problem: ownership of and access to traveler profiles
and other data. “If you want to leave
a GDS, you’re screwed if you don’t
house your own data,” Blanco said.
“It’s scary when a GDS owns all your
technology, including your back office. So we built a system that lets us
house it all.”
It’s called Common Knowledge/
Profiler, a CRM system designed to
track, manage and synchronize client data. The system works with all
GDSs, all GNEs, all computer platforms and all major Web browsers. It
provides bi-directional synchronization of profile updates between any
GDS, Common Knowledge/Profiler
and all online booking systems; automatically manages any GDS field; and
provides query/reporting against integrated trip history and profile data
sources from a single Web interface.
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CUTTING LOOSE FROM GDSS
Blanco added BookingBuilder to
the mix, a productivity tool that monitors GDS keystrokes to collect data. It
also imports data automatically from
supplier Web sites and combines it
with existing profiles. The result is a
complete traveler profile that combines all data from all sources and all
suppliers into a single database.
“Now you can generate a complete
report in-house, using your own data
that you control,” Blanco said. “That
is impossible to do in any GDS. This
gives us 100% control, not the GDS.
It lets me negotiate directly with our
best suppliers … at the least expensive price possible. GDSs control us,
they tell us what to do, what we can’t
do. It’s time to cut loose.”
Most of Atlas’ latest capabilities
— click to talk, on-the-fly rebooking,
e-mail check-in reminders with one-click links to the proper check-in Web
page — are part of Common Knowledge/Profiler. The beauty of the system, Blanco said, is that it was built
with off-the-shelf programs.