Travelport readies Rich Content and Branding for March rollout
Merchandising feature will include color photos, detailed descriptions
Air New Zealand introduced Skycouch, an unusual product that allows passengers to purchase a row of three seats in the economy cabin and turn it into a bed or play area on long-haul flights, more than two years ago, but the only place the carrier has been able to sell it is on its website.
That’s about to change with the launch of Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding, the third component of the Travelport Merchandising Platform. Travelport is testing the solution, which is designed to allow airlines to control the presentation of their differentiated products and services, with Air New Zealand and Delta Air Lines.
The key to the new solution is the simplicity of its operation. An airline marketer can follow the “plain English rules” on the Merchandising Management Portal to pull in images and write descriptions without assistance from the IT department, Steven Ratcliffe, product director-merchandising, said. “It’s very intuitive.”
Whenever an airline wants to put a product out for booking, “they don’t have to come to us,” he said. “They have the ability to do it so long as the fare is in the system.”
Even the setup is relatively painless, he said. “We worked with Delta to set up its entire domestic system, and it took us an hour,” Ratcliffe said.
“It’s really quick — much quicker than the usual fare filing.”
Travelport will begin beta pilots just before Christmas to “pressure test the product,” Ratcliffe said.
Travelport is aiming for a full launch in March with eight carriers, one or two of which would serve as “anchor clients” in each region of the world. Currently, Travelport is in talks with 15 airlines, Ratcliffe said.
Travel agencies will be able to access Rich Content and Branding via the Travelport Smartpoint App, the Universal Desktop or the Universal API.
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Read about IATA’s decision to extend acceptance of an EMD alternative in the December 3 issue of TTU.
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