Travel Weeklys Technology E-letter: February 8, 2006

TRAMS integrated AgentWares Trip Console, which agencies can use to search for and book non-GDS inventory, into Trams ClientBase Plus Live Connect, a CRM and back-office accounting system that facilitates Web bookings. What this means is that ClientBase Plus Live Connect users can use Trip Console to book flights from such carriers as JetBlue, Ryanair, Easyjet, Spirit, AirTran, Air Canada, consolidators and other Internet travel sellers and import the reservation details into ClientBase Plus without having to manually process the reservations. ClientBase Plus Live Connect -- the application is used at about 11,000 agency locations -- is sort of a two-way street to the Web and back. Agency log-in and client data get transferred to the supplier Web site for bookings, and then reservation details get imported into the ClientBase Plus database, enabling agencies to manage inventory and run reports on both GDS and non-GDS bookings.

HILTON HOTELS accredited Travelocity -- as in Travelocity.com, Lastminute.com, Zuji.com and Site59.com -- as an online distributor of Hilton properties merchant and opaque inventory, and Travelocity and Hilton penned their first chainwide agreement. With Travelocity in the fold, Hilton essentially completed the process it began in June when it issued distribution standards related to trademarks, technology, marketing practices and economic terms. Hilton said it has now accredited all major third-party, online merchant booking channels, including Travelocity, Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Priceline and Orbitz.

DEALS, DEALS, DEALS:

" Sabre separately reached GDS participation agreements with Northwest and US Airways, locking in their published fares for five years. The terms of the agreements, including the economics of the booking fees the airlines will pay, were not disclosed. Sabre and Northwest also reached a settlement, subject to bankruptcy court approval this month, in their litigation over the airlines 2004 shared GDS fee and the retaliatory steps that Sabre carried out. Details of the settlement are under seal, but Sabre would pay Northwest a mutually agreed sum that would bring substantial economic benefits to the airline, according to a bankruptcy court motion. The US Airways deal also covers America West-branded flights. Sabre and US Airways also signed a five-year pact that makes Travelocitys private-label business, called the Travelocity Partner Network, the exclusive hotel provider to the airlines Web sites.

" Meanwhile, KLM and Worldspan signed a multiyear full-content agreement, ensuring that Worldspan subscribers will be able to access the same KLM inventory available through all of the airlines sales channels without surcharges. Separately, KLM agreed to become a participant in the Worldspan Interchange, an e-ticket message communications hub for interline e-ticketing. The companies said that the Worldspan product can translate airlines divergent Edifact messaging versions, which helps to save on programming costs.

SABRE took a minority stake in VRX Worldwide and signed a three-year content licensing agreement with VRX Worldwide subsidiary VRX Studios. VRX, headquartered in Vancouver, provides Web-ready images of hotels, cruise ships and destinations to the Web sites of suppliers, including Carnival, Hyatt, Virgin Holidays, Priceline.com, Southwest Vacations and many others. The licensing agreement means Travelocity.com, Lastminute.com and the World Choice Travel affiliate network will be able to use VRX imagery, including still photography, virtual tours and interactive maps, as well as written descriptions. Sabres investment in VRX is in the form of a convertible debenture with a face value of some $955,145. Separately, VRX expanded its relationship with Hyatt, with VRX winning a contract to shoot imagery for all of Hyatts 90 international properties in Europe, Asia, Australia, Mexico and the Middle East. An agreement that the two companies announced last year covered Hyatts 120 properties in the U.S.

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