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Software and services provider Amdocs engaged Amadeus to build a customized booking solution that next year would provide parallel shopping in all global distribution systems, Web aggregator TRAVELfusion and the Amadeus e-Travel Management tool's direct supplier connections.
As part of a five-year deal, Amdocs is paying Amadeus to build scoring algorithms intended to present the best rates and most appropriate itineraries from these sources following a single search request. "It can ultimately be supplier-specific," said Amadeus North America e-Travel president and CEO Scott Gutz. A $2 billion company operating in more than 50 countries, Amdocs initiated the project both to contend with content fragmentation and to mitigate differences between systems on rate and availability results.
Amdocs is anticipating a user adoption level of between 90 and 95 percent. "It was important for the company to choose a solution that could effectively operate in a multi-GDS, multi-agency, multi-currency and multi-language environment," Gutz said in a prepared statement.
For Amdocs, a Guernsey corporation with tax-exempt status, the new functionality is designed to "take into account the many trip variables--such as desired times, elapsed time, alternate airports, cost, fare rules and preferred carriers--and weigh them to provide the ideal itinerary to the traveler." Following implementation in the United States early next year, Amadeus and Amdocs would add "other global markets ... in the first year of the five-year agreement."
Other providers have said they offer real-time, multi-GDS sourcing, but publicity on such technology has been minimal. Gutz was happy that a client had decided to fund the development, and noted that's part of a mini-trend. "Quite a few recent deals are for systems integration," Gutz told The Transnational. "Three quarters of the agreements we signed in the second quarter include some custom development."
That Amdocs would attempt to tackle content fragmentation using technology reflects the ongoing stress presented by growth among new suppliers that tend not to participate in GDSs and pressure from traditional suppliers that are increasingly threatening restrictions on access to their content as a way to lower distribution costs.
The company's desire to reconcile fare differentials addresses an irksome issue caused by differing technologies, content agreements and data-loading practices. Different GDSs and other systems regularly produce different results even on the same itinerary request processed at the same time. That can make chasing the truly lowest fare difficult, at best.
Best practices in supplier contracting, not to mention systems integration costs, often preclude corporations from sourcing multiple technology companies in the same market. While there may be benefits to using a single technology provider across markets, companies on the leading edge of multinational consolidation practices have stopped short of ubiquitous technology implementation.
Speaking at this week's National Business Travel Association convention in Chicago, Hewlett-Packard travel and meetings services director Lea McLeod emphasized that a multinational procurement strategy is more important than attempting to have a single supplier in each category. The company has a primary technology vendor, but that supplier does not cover all of H-P's program.
National idiosyncrasies have obstructed Cisco Systems' stated goal to winnow down to one GDS and one online booking tool vendor throughout its multinational program, global travel operations manager Debbie Winston said.
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