Questioning the travel industry status quo, one blog post at a time

Posts Tagged ‘Farelogix’

With IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) project moving forward, we said to ourselves, “Hey, why don’t we invite airlines to Miami and show them all the innovative things we can do that align with NDC.” So, Delivering on NDC: A Technology Symposium was born.

If you work in IT, distribution, merchandising, or marketing for an airline, we suggest you make the trip to Miami to check out all the awesome things we’re doing that are right in line with NDC. And our event is taking place right before UATP’s Airline Distribution 2013 (also in Miami), so why not get two for one! Plus, it’s Miami in April! Who wouldn’t want to come down (or over, or up) for that!

Delivering on NDC Ad

Check out our event page for more information, including the agenda.

Hope to see you soon!

As many of you may know, we held a media day event down here in Miami a few weeks back. A bunch of media turned out, and overall I felt like the event was a success. A few days later, we started reading the coverage of our event, and it was all pretty positive, including a piece written by Cranky Flier. He even titled the piece Farelogix Shows How Booking a Flight Should Work, and It’s Excellent.

Well, somewhere in a lair in Texas, a beast was roused. Two days later, Cranky Flier started off an unrelated post saying that shortly after his previous post ran, he received a note from Sabre stating that, “Much of what was ‘mocked up’ by Farelogix is already being done today by Sabre.”

What?! How did they know?!  Who told them?! I sure hope they don’t tell all our airline customers that all those tickets and ancillary services we help them sell to consumers are just “mocked up.”

Seriously, ”mocked up?” Not digitally enhanced? Not graphically engineered? Not dynamically visually generated? Nope, just “mocked up!” What are they, Mad Men?

Oh yeah, I forgot…

Anyway, I remember being at all of our media day events, and for the life of me I do not remember anyone from Sabre being there. Now, certainly there could have been an imposter. Maybe someone from Sabre was wearing a very convincing mask of one of the reporters, but I just don’t think so.

Ok, so Sabre was not at the event and did not see any of the production-proven technology we presented, yet they managed to publicly confirm to the media, some of whom were actually at the event and saw first-hand what we presented, that what we did was “mocked up.” Sure… For the record, all of what we showed was live and most of it is in production. In fact, if anyone wants to swing by our office, we’ll happily show you how live it is.

All I can say is that I remember a day not so long ago when Farelogix was saying, “Hey, we can do everything for airlines the GDS do.” My, my how the tables have turned.

As always, your comments are welcome.

The Miami Boat Show was not the only hip and happening thing in Miami last week. Farelogix held a Media Day! We had speakers, food, cocktails, and lively discussion from industry thought leaders Henry Harteveldt, Norm Rose, Montie Brewer, Andy Menkes, and Doug Lavin from IATA. They all provided perspectives, trends, predictions, antidotes, and tales of industry successes and woes.

Here are a few key points I walked away with:

© Ivelin Radkov - Fotolia.com

© Ivelin Radkov – Fotolia.com

–  Consumers want choice when it comes to airline products. In fact, the more the better.

– The concept of democratizing ancillaries (i.e., allowing infrequent travelers the opportunity to purchase products and services normally only available to the elite travelers) is a good thing

– Traveler authenticated search and offer is the new normal, even if it is a deliberately anonymous request.

– Airlines must compete at each and every transaction.

– Mobile is not a channel, it’s everything.

– IATA’s NDC initiative is nothing more than a technology schema standard (developers roadmap) and optional workflow process where the distribution aggregator (yes, including the GDSs) makes a real-time offer request to the airline at the time of initial search (kind of like how the GDSs deal with a number of LCCs today).

And, oh, the product demos! Yes, they were our demos, but nevertheless, they were sensational!

We introduced and showed off our new Airline Commerce Gateway. We produced an array of real, live transactions (no PowerPoint or screen captures here) to demonstrate how airlines and travel agencies, and even GDSs will benefit when an airline implements the Airline Commerce Gateway powered by Farelogix.  Read the rest of this entry »

American Airlines’ new fare bundles reflect the growing popularity of airlines competing for consumers’ business through more personalized and unique airline product offers. We consumers just love choice, so this is a welcome change from the one-size-fits-all, commoditized airline product based solely on fares and schedules. Consumers can now pick the product that best suits their needs for a particular trip. Nice, huh!

Okay, now for the nuts and bolts. American Airlines now displays its new products on AA.com and through its Direct Connect. They also state that it has made the bundles available to the GDSs. So far, so good. Both Sabre and Travelport say they now can display, sell, and ticket Americans’ new bundled products. Again, all good.

So let’s just see. No seriously, let’s see it! Lately we are all so focused on transparency, full disclosure, and no secrets. Okay, some in the industry like secrets—secret projects[1], secret boycotts[2], secret meetings[3]. But I say, no secrets! Let’s see how the selling of these bundles actually works in the Indirect Channel. So, we’ll show you ours—right here, right now. Here it is. Screenshots are below. Don’t like pictures? Check out our YouTube video of a fully transparent booking of American’s product bundles.

Okay, now let’s see yours…

SPRK1

SPRK2


[1] October 24th p35 lines 16-26 and p36 lines 1-11

[2] October 24th p 28 lines 1-2

[3] October 24th p49 lines 20-25 and p50 lines 1-17

I could not help but think of this famous Mark Twain quote as I read Mark Pestronk’s article published in the recent issue of Travel Weekly. I’ve known Mark since my days with System One, but  I was a bit surprised by his statement about Direct Connect being “a failure” and his related references to it being “vaporware.” Now, I can only assume that Mr. Pestronk is not referring to the Direct Connect developed by Farelogix. Because our Direct Connect is fully certified by ARC and BSP in over 60 countries, deployed by 15 airlines around the world, accessed by over 5000 travel agencies in 40 countries, and used by millions of passengers (knowingly or not) to fly on those airlines. And I certainly believe these numbers would be significantly higher were it not for the concerted efforts of a few in our industry to stall the progress of the Farelogix Direct Connect.

It certainly is no longer any secret that at least one GDS has wanted to stop Farelogix and its Direct Connect deployment. Quoting testimony from the recent American Airlines v. Sabre case (transcripts available at http://www.farelogix.com/transcripts.php), just as Mr. Pestronk did, we now know this GDS wanted Farelogix to go away. As stated in internal emails from Sabre,“Our goal is one—not let Farelogix spread any further, and number two, to discontinue the current locations.”[1] Another read, “We want to make sure we are still pushing on the strategy of shutting down Farelogix.”[2]

 

© iQoncept – Fotolia.com

 I have to ask, why would one GDS go to the lengths of “shutting down Farelogix” if Direct Connect is, as reported in Travel Weekly, “a failure” and “vaporware?”

Since I can’t answer the particular question as to what would motivate a GDS to want to shut down Farelogix, what I can do is propose an offer to Mr. Pestronk, or anyone else that writes about or wants to write about Direct Connect, to come to our office in Miami for a couple of hours where we will provide a fully transparent and in-depth review of the Farelogix Direct Connect. That way the next time anyone writes about Direct Connect, he or she can reliably report on the facts.

 



[1] October 24th p41, lines 18-21

[2] October 24th p41, lines 24-25

I recently read with great interest two articles: “Airlines Could Triple Ancillary Fee Revenue by Working with Agents” and “Airlines Forfeit $67 Billion in Revenue by Ignoring Agents, Report Says.” They focused on the opportunities for airlines to sell ancillary products through travel agencies. It is great to see growing industry dialogue on this topic, and I am in full agreement that travel agencies represent a powerful channel to sell airline ancillary products and services. However, I do believe the articles, as well as the study from IdeaWorks mentioned in both, risk oversimplifying the real issue at hand as relates to what it will take for ancillary selling to really take off in the agency channel.
So let’s talk some turkey: the real challenge is not implementation of EMDs (Electronic Miscellaneous Documents). Sure, EMDs are essential and must be supported. A few airlines, along with Sabre, Amadeus, and Farelogix already support the issuance of EMDs. As you may recall American Airlines, Farelogix, and a US-based travel agency delivered the first ARC-certified EMD. But really, looking at the full picture here, getting EMDs in place is relatively “small potatoes” compared to overcoming the vast number of imposed technical and commercial barriers to ancillary product adoption in the agency channel.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

In case you missed it, Direct Connect is extending its global reach!

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Mercator and Farelogix to Amplify Airline Direct Connect Reach Worldwide

DUBAI and MIAMI  August 23, 2011 — Mercator, the airline IT solutions provider of the Emirates Group, and Farelogix have entered into an agreement whereby Mercator will be able to offer the Farelogix Direct Connect technology platform to its current and prospective customers. The agreement enables Mercator to sell and implement the comprehensive repertoire of Farelogix technology, including airline direct connects, to Mercator’s airline customers seeking to reap the benefits of lower cost, highly flexible distribution technologies.

“We have developed a very productive relationship with Mercator over the years, and this agreement was a great next step for both companies,” says Jim Davidson, President and CEO of Farelogix. “Mercator hosts the reservation system for Emirates Airlines which, in 2006, was one of the first airlines to globally launch a Farelogix Direct Connect solution. As a result, Mercator has a high degree of technological expertise with Farelogix and our technology, making it a natural fit for them to broaden the reach of our Direct Connect and related technologies to other Mercator-supported carriers.“

“Mercator has distinguished itself by working in cooperation with our global customers to address their needs to be able to quickly adapt to change in the travel industry,” said Duncan Alexander, Mercator Vice President. “Passengers today expect more than just flights. They want easy, immediate access to the full range of products and services offered by their airline of choice. Farelogix Direct Connect perfectly meets these requirements by allowing carriers to create tailored access. In addition to providing Farelogix technology to our customers, Mercator will also provide additional benefits to them by offering consulting and implementation services that cater to the needs of individual airlines.”

About Mercator
Mercator, the airline IT solutions provider of the Emirates Group, is a leading supplier of IT solutions to the global air travel industry. The company also meets and satisfies the full range of the demanding IT needs of the main constituent parts of the Emirates Group – the award winning Emirates Airline and dnata, the largest air travel services organization in the Middle East. The philosophy behind the development of Mercator solutions ensures that each adds significant value by reducing costs, improving processes and increasing productivity.

Mercator’s customers include major world airlines such as: WestJet, JetBlue, British Airways, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, and SriLankan Airlines. Mercator’s continuing mission is to establish itself as the professional IT services and business solutions provider of choice; trusted, valued and respected by the global airline community. Mercator achieves this by consistently meeting the individual needs of its customers through quality of product, service and delivery. For more information, visit www.mercator.com.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Direct Connect debate continues to heat up. Bobblehead hasn’t been living under a rock, he’s just been… out of the country. But with all the hoopla surrounding Direct Connect, and some of the questions GDSs are telling their agencies to ask the airlines, I figured it’d be a good time to recall our bobbly buddy to lay some Direct Connect answers on you.

Enjoy!

Ask the Question 12

Launches SPRK Agent Website and YouTube Channel in Response to Increasing Customer Demand

MIAMI — June 16, 2011 — Farelogix has released the latest version of SPRK, the company’s travel agency desktop tool that enables agencies to source content from multiple travel providers including airline Direct Connect. SPRK, initially introduced to the travel agency market a little over a year ago, is being utilized by a growing number of travel agencies, including several OTAs.

In response to increased interest in SPRK, Farelogix has also launched a new website, www.sprkagent.com, where interested travel agencies can watch demonstration videos (also found on the SPRK Agent YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/SPRKagent), explore SPRK documentation, make product suggestions, and ultimately track enhancement schedules and software improvements. In addition, registered SPRK agents now have access to a users-only portal, which includes latest product notifications, documentation, maintenance schedules and, coming soon, a new series of webinars for training purposes.


Read the rest of this entry »

Farelogix disputes BTC after BTC disputes BA’s Richard Tams’ claims that the current travel distribution model is broken.

When many of your customers (customers who pay you A LOT of money) are unhappy with you, unhappy to the point of filing an antitrust lawsuit, I’d say something is at least askew, if not broken.

And calling the current model “broken” is not “fashionable,” as BTC’s Mitchell claims. Skinny ties are fashionable. Calling the model broken is an assessment by several of the world’s largest airlines and industry analysts.

But I must be a benighted person because I had to look up ‘benightedness.’ However, accusing those who take issue with the current distribution model of being ignorant borders on downright vitriol.

Do the GDS provide a valuable service model? They sure do. Do they need to update? They sure do. They claim taking XML connections is no issue. But if it’s not an issue, why not take the connections? These new airline direct XML connections allow for a more personalized shopping experience, far greater pricing transparency and easier reporting of the abundant optional services offered by airlines. All this can be accomplished by simply taking the XML.

Is the distribution model “broken?” Perhaps. But to dispute a claim from an airline (that pays the GDSs’ bills) that the model is broken, now I dispute that.