Travel Weekly's Technology E-letter: Dec. 1, 2004

ATPCO lisensed technology from travel-search start-up Fare Compare to automate a fare-rule solution for corporate air discounts. Mike Ferrier, ATPCO's president and CEO, said use of Fare Compare's product will enable airlines to automate pricing when a rule gives a discount on a published fare to a particular corporation.

ATPCO provides Category 25 data to airlines, but it doesn't generate the actual fares affected by the rules, Ferrier said. As a result, he said, carriers "are only seeing 75% of the picture." Ferrier said its new Fare Rule Merge solution will launch by the middle of next year and help airlines' decision-making when negotiating corporate discounts. ATPCO struck an agreement with Fare Compare, based in Dallas, because its product interfaces with ATPCO's legacy systems and will enable the company to roll out the product quickly, he added. Separately, Fare Compare is the only travel-search firm to license ATPCO's domestic fares.

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP, which dissed distribution through Expedia and Hotels.com, expanded its relationship with travel-search engine SideStep. Among the new components of the partnership, SideStep will promote within its search results offers from IHG-owned, -managed or -franchised properties in select cities, and publish IHG brands' deals on SideSteps' TravelFinds Web site and in the TravelFinds Specials e-letter.

"SideStep drives avid travelers straight to our Web site," said Michael Menis, director of IHG's global marketing services. "Whereas online agencies often look to own the customer relationship, SideStep helps us to promote our brands and continue building our customer relationships by driving direct interaction between valuable customers and IHG hotel brands."

The promotions through SideStep may be one way that IHG has opted to help its franchisees recoup business lost through its "decertification" of Expedia and Hotels.com.

GENESIS went live in Canada following an extensive testing period. The Genesis Phase 1 launch includes "a gradual migration ... of existing and new subscribers to the full production environment." Genesis positions its solution for small -- including home-based -- and midsize agencies that want relief from the productivity requirements of the traditional GDSs. Genesis is a Web-based platform that incorporates FareSpider, a search and booking tool. Genesis plans an early-2005 launch for the U.S., Mexico and Europe, with a roll out in Australia, India and other countries thereafter.

LEISURELINK is live in Worldspan, Sabre and Galileo, enabling agencies to electronically book -- and property owners to offer -- condominium, timeshare, villa and private-home inventory. For this nontraditional inventory, LeisureLink is offering 12% agent commission for bookings in the three GDSs through May 31. Standard commission is 10%.

AMADEUS will initiate a tender offer for an additional 35% stake in Optims, a European company that supplies technology services to the hospital industry. Amadeus already owns 30% of the shares. Amadeus agreed to pay $5.06 per share to Optims' founders and investors. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
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