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 said.
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 content.
“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.