The world's two largest GDSs -- Amadeus and Sabre -- have
agreed to distribute ATPCO's Routehappy rich content into their various flight-shopping
interfaces and applications serving travel agencies, OTAs, corporate booking
tools and other sellers.
Robert Albert, ATPCO's executive vice president of retailing
and the founder of Routehappy, said the agreements are a mass modernization
project" of the systems that connect airlines to sales channels.
"We are improving those pipes, modernizing those pipes," he
Albert founded Routehappy almost a decade ago. ATPCO
acquired the company in early 2018, and talks with Amadeus and Sabre have been
ongoing for many years. These agreements, he said, signal the transformation
that is underway in flight shopping, giving travelers access to details about
the flight experience such as entertainment, WiFi, leg room, power access,
baggage allowance, cancellation policies and more.
"We are at a tipping point. We’ve been at this almost 10
years, but we feel like the industry is finally coming together," Albert said.
"IATA has been pushing NDC (New Distribution Capability),
honing it and socializing it. Airlines have gotten behind it. Then you had the
GDSs committing to NDC. ... Then ATPCO, with Routehappy's help, has been
developing the Next Generation Storefront together with airlines and channels,
and Routehappy has been building up this repository of rich content. It’s all
coming together now."
Through these agreements, airlines get distribution reach of
their offerings that is “exponentially greater than it has been," which adds
value to their investments in creating and maintaining the content. Sellers
gain easier access to that content -- coming directly from the GDS, through the
same APIs that already provide fares and availability.
And the ultimate beneficiaries, said Albert, will be
consumers who in the next few years will get an improved flight-shopping
experience that more closely resembles buying from other e-commerce sites such
as Amazon or hotel brand sites, with detailed product information, photos and
videos that make it easy to compare offers.
ATPCO also has integrations with Japanese GDS Infini and
Chinese GDS TravelSky. When asked if it may also work with Travelport, Albert
said, “My hunch is that the reason they are not here, in addition to changing
ownership and changing management, is that they have some of their own rich
"There’s lots of conversations happening, and we’ll see what
happens in the future. I don’t think it will just be Amadeus and Sabre working
with us in this way,” he said.