Amadeus has created a website, Amadeus.com/ineed, that explains the GDS’s product offerings for retailers, including at-home agents who might be considering signing up with a GDS.
After proceeding past a landing page on the site and selecting their most pressing business need, such as "finding the best fares," "competing online" or "finding a host agency," agents are presented with correlating Amadeus products.
"Times have changed, and therefore needs have changed," said Tom Cates, chief commercial officer for Amadeus North America. "The purpose of our new site is specifically to engage travel professionals and to make sure Amadeus is delivering to them what they need most now."
Travel professionals exploring the new site can access information and demonstrations about the technology solutions, tools and services available from Amadeus. Pull-down menus facilitate navigation, and the site features an enhanced Solution Finder tool, which enables users to find and customize the best solution for them in four steps, whether they specialize in leisure, cruise or business travel.
Future phases of the site will enable agents to search the topic they wish to learn about, and the site will automatically present information about the most relevant solutions.
According to Debbie Iannaci, director of public relations for Amadeus North America, the GDS serves home-based, independent agents with a variety of options.
"Our two hosted options, Amadeus Hosted Agency Plus and Amadeus Hosted Agency, are very popular and well suited to the needs of home-based, independent agents," she said.
Hosted Agency Plus is geared for those with GDS experience and a travel industry background. It provides 100% of earned commissions, membership to Vacation.com and access to GDS and non-GDS content through the Amadeus Selling Platform. There’s a start-up fee of $179, a monthly connection fee of $65 and an invoice and services fee that ranges from $5 to $9.
The Hosted Agency plan is designed for those new to the industry, or for cruise-only agents with little GDS or industry experience. Commissions in this plan range from 75% to 90%, and it also includes Vacation.com membership. The annual contract, with a "full mentorship program," costs $499. The monthly connection fee is $49.
Iannaci also cited the newly launched Amadeus Vacation Link solution, which is free to any agent and can be used regardless of their GDS affiliation (or without a GDS at all). It’s a one-stop booking portal that enables travel agents to book cruises, shore excursions, tours, consolidator fares, rail trips and entertainment.
"Since our official launch in early April, we have already received hundreds of Amadeus Vacation Link registrations from travel agents who intend to use the product," she said.
Another option that Iannaci said could be beneficial to home-based independent travel agents on a very specific basis would be the Amadeus Professional package. "This is more the traditional GDS subscriber option for travel agencies. If a home-based, independent travel agent were interested in this option, it is best if they speak to an Amadeus representative regarding the benefits to their business objectives and the associated pricing," said Iannaci.