07 January 2009

GDS Warn: The End Of The World Is Nigh

Oh give me a break....

Scaremongering is the last resorts of scoundrels and cads. Believe me or believe me not?

Here is a good article by Travel Weekly. http://www.travelweekly.com/article.aspx?id=184466&ad_id=5732

The GDS predict that the world is about to come to an end unless the airlines conform and jump to the GDS tune. What the GDS are specifically asking for is a set of standards that the airlines confirm to for all ancillary services and the way they are charged. Hmmm in whose life time are they hoping that this will happen?

Complicating the issue is that various consumer advocate groups are weighing in and so is legislation. In the EU of course there is already legislation covering this - a consumer's bill of rights and a set of legislation is likely to appear this year (2009).

So I think the GDS need to get a life and either they have to conform to the airlines needs or they will be road kill. Everyone agrees that the Ancillary Revenue models are not going away. What ever it is - bundled, unbundled, partially bundled, at POS, at Airport, In-flight etc etc - this is now a steady state. While I personally dislike this behavior and have railed against it - we have to accept that this is now an accepted practice.

So getting the airlines to conform - well that is not going to happen. Can you just see a meeting where all the airlines sit down and try and describe their ancillary revenue goals, aims and tools... I would suspect that at the very least an anti-trust lawyer would have a cow.

What is the likely outcome?

A smart GDS will figure out how to provide merchandising tools for the airlines to use. The more tools provided and the ease with which it can be adapted into a production environment with direct and indirect distribution - then the better it will be adopted.

Interestingly what we are seeing is the further blurring of the lines between the PSS (the airlines core res system), the GDS and the distribution tool such as the IBE (Internet Booking Engine). An example of this is how Sabre should have been the company to provide the tool for Frontier's new system - but it could not be done fast enough - thus F9 went to Datalex and got the work done. OK - that was an airline direct solution. Who is doing the GDS indirect based solution? So far despite a lot of noise - no one has a satisfactory solution. I suspect that we will some some attempts pretty soon. Just don't hold your breath if you are expecting the GDS companies to step up fast to this position. Rather we will see more obfuscation emerging - I can just describe that as GDS whining.

Am I right? You be the judge.

If a GDS, or anyone else would care to respond - then please feel free.

Cheers and stay tuned

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