Travel Weekly's Technology E-letter: May 2, 2007

THE SABRE/AGENTWARE NetCheck Web search and booking tool searches the Web sites of several Sabre Efficient Access Solution participating airlines, including AirTran, Alaska, US Airways, Delta and Northwest that have "full content" deals with Sabre, according to a NetCheck document being circulated to travel agencies and obtained by TravelWeekly.com. However, Greg Webb, the chief marketing officer of Sabre's travel network and airlines solutions units, said Tuesday that these types of NetCheck searches help TMCs comply with corporate contracts that mandate Web searches for low fares, and do not signify a gap in full content. In this context, NetCheck would search the Web for low fares but book the content in Sabre. Informed of NetCheck's searches, Al Lenza, Northwest's vice president of distribution and e-commerce, said the airline asked for and received assurances from Sabre that it would stop scraping NWA.com because the two have a full-content deal. Said Lenza, "If they don't stop, we will either pass the costs onto them for pinging our site or restrict [NetCheck's] pinging of our site."

SABRE, meanwhile, is proposing to charge content aggregators like NetCheck competitor BookingBuilder Technologies and others annual subscription fees of at least $100,000 to access the Sabre system, TravelWeekly.com learned. According to a proposed contract obtained by TravelWeekly.com, content aggregators that desire to access the Sabre GDS would have to prepay an annual subscription fee of $100,000 or $5 per month for each desktop using the aggregator's product, whichever is the higher amount. If an aggregator had 2,500 authorized Sabre users and wanted to access the Sabre GDS, the proposed annual fee then might jump to $150,000 based on desktop usage. Sabre's proposed new agreements have come into focus because of a dispute between Sabre and BookingBuilder Technologies of Mahopac, N.Y. BookingBuilder argues that Sabre should provide developers with free access to the GDS to foster innovation and that Sabre is engaged in anticompetitive practices because it controls access to the GDS and leverage that to launch NetCheck with more attractive economics. And Sabre counters that it has every right to maintain control of and be compensated for access to its own platform. In many cases, developers' and aggregators' access to the Sabre system used to be free, but Sabre is now seeking contracts to regulate usage. As previously reported, and confirmed in the contract, Sabre also seeks to charge content aggregators $3.75 per ticket for each non-Sabre booking that a Sabre user makes using the content aggregator. The proposed annual fee for software developers ranges from about $5,000 to $35,000, depending on the type of project. In other developments, Cornerstone Information Systems, a third-party developer of reservations processing services, stated that it signed a new developer contract with Sabre. Cornerstone declined to discuss the terms.

PEGASUS SOLUTIONS picked up the 25% of the hotel-switching business that it didn't already control when it acquired rival Wizcom from Travelport for an undisclosed sum, Pegasus Chairman and CEO John Davis told TravelWeekly.com. Davis, labeling his hotel technology and commission-processing firm "the natural buyer," said he called Blackstone Group officials shortly after the private equity group bought Travelport in August, expressing Pegasus' long-held interest in buying Wizcom. Founded in 1987 by Avis, Wizcom provides a "switch" between hotel res systems and the GDSs for retail sales. Pegasus, owned by Prides Capital Partners, is involved in a similar business, although its switch ties into GDSs as well as online agencies, including Expedia.com, Hotwire.com and Orbitz. Davis said the acquisition will be "accretive" to Pegasus' earnings and that Wizcom customers, including Travelport's Trust, Wyndham Hotels, Radisson Hotels, Accor Hotels and Supranational Hotels, would transition to the Pegasus platform. The Wizcom brand will be discontinued, Davis said. For its part, Travelport, in reviewing its businesses, decided to sell Wizcom because it had a niche market and would have required significant investment to stay competitive, said Ken Esterow, president and CEO of Travelport's GTA (Gullivers Travel Associates) unit.    

EXPEDIA INC. introduced its 13th international Web site, and its first Spanish-language site, in Spain. Expedia.es offers flights, hotels, vacation packages, car rentals and attractions. Expedia said that Spain is Europe's fourth-largest online travel market. In addition to offering online services, Expedia's Spain Web site, its ninth in Europe, enables consumers to book by phone through travel professionals. Expedia also operates Web sites in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the U.K.

Technology Editor: Dennis Schaal

Phone: (201) 902-1904

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

Comments

From Our Partners

2020 NTG Webinar Series
Travel, Our Future and Yours A Series of Conversations with Industry Leaders
Register Now
American Queen South
American Queen Steamboat Company
Read More
2020 Club Med Webinar
Let’s Escape Again with Club Med
Register Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI