The travel agent’s desktop has evolved significantly over the past 12 months and is moving closer towards graphical user interface (GUI) and point and click functionality. Applications like Travelport’s Smartpoint are preparing Middle East travel agencies for the transformation of the desktop and the inevitable wide scale roll-out of the Universal Desktop, which last year began to replace the traditional green screen across select retail outlets of leading travel agencies such as Flight Centre.
As was the case with Travelport and Flight Centre, travel retailers are partnering with technology companies in the early stages of product development to ensure that the solutions they create can be easily integrated into an agent’s workflow. As a result, product creation is becoming much more of a consultative process that allows agencies to test technology products before they are introduced on a wider scale. We’ve seen Managers become much more involved in assessing their agency’s technology requirements and ensure that the solutions they’ve adopted can be streamlined with their mid-back office.
On the supplier side, global carriers such as Emirates have been enhancing their customers’ online shopping experience by deploying new repricing technology that is making it easy for customers to maintain control of their journey when changing travel plans. For example, Travelport’s Rapid Reprice solution has been integrated with Emirates’ “manage an existing booking” feature to allow passengers to change or cancel their itinerary 24x7 from any device that has an internet connection.