Farelogix has introduced an airline distribution platform that enables detailed product differentiation, right down to videos of premium seats and other ancillary services.
The platform, called the Airline Commerce Gateway, also holds the promise of providing travel agencies with the ability to easily comparison shop ancillary services as well as ticket prices.
The Farelogix Gateway combines Farelogix’s existing products, merchandising, pricing and distribution management into a single integrated platform that is mobile-enabled.
It is XML based and is designed to work with IATA’s New Distribution Capability, an optional airline industry standard that will use one of two open-access schemes developed for travel by the Open Axis Alliance or the Open Axis Group, recently acquired by ATPCO.
Airlines can use Gateway to deliver content on their websites, through mobile devices, their call centers, kiosks and social media sites. They can also use Gateway for indirect channels, including agencies, online travel agencies and corporate travel buyers. It is designed to work with GDSs, as well.
Gateway is designed to let airlines use traveler authentication to tailor offers to a customers.
Jim Davidson, Farelogix’ president and CEO, demonstrated the product at a media day Farelogix sponsored, showing how a travel agent could see a video of various airlines services. That included a video of a premium seat, a meal and airport lounges. Davidson’s demonstration included a display of offers from two airlines.
Gateway includes a mobile app that enables changing tickets on a mobile device. Davidson said that the only way to currently change a ticket is on an airline website or on the phone with an agent.
It also has a mobile app that notifies flyers of possible disruptions, such as an approaching storm, and can use the app to give travelers options such as canceling the flight or changing the flight. Airlines could also use the app to give an inconvenienced flyer frequent-flyer mileage.
Farelogix is just beginning to market Gateway; no airlines are using it yet. Gateway is an airline product, but Davidson said that agencies could take advantage of Gateway by using an intelligent aggregator, such as Farelogix SPRK or intelligent aggregation tools offered by GDSs.
“Then you could take feeds from all the different airlines,” he said.
Comparisons could get more challenging when comparing an airline with individual services with an airline that has bundled certain ancillary services into fare families, as American Airlines has recently done with its Choice Essential and Choice Plus seats.
“But this is where a travel agent can offer tremendous value,” said Davidson, who added that agents could explain the differences between the products and help consumers decide which fits them best. Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly.