Galileo Merges Two Booking Tools Under Highwire Name
Galileo International today announced it would meld its two corporate self-booking tools, Corporate Travelpoint 2.0 and Highwire's Travelport, into a new product, called Highwire, to be launched formally later this quarter. According to a company statement, the new Highwire will offer "at least three unique user interfaces, enabling unequaled customization." Galileo cited the common application interface in use by both products, its own XML Select, as reason to expect "easy integration of the presentation layers or user interfaces into one product on one platform. The platform allows for seamless integration for existing customers and requires no new training."
The product merger--first reported online by Business Travel News Dec. 11--adds a choice of Travelpoint's Quick-Step Wizard interface, which offers a "best-fit" itinerary based on policy, profile and preferences to Travelport's Pre-Packaged Options and Segment-by-Segment interfaces. Pre-Packaged Options presents multiple itineraries without selecting individual segments, while Segment-by-Segment allows travelers to select multiple journey legs. Galileo soon will make Highwire multilingual and, starting this year, compatible with multiple GDSs. That would help set up entry into Europe in tandem with Galileo's new SpecialAgent product, powered by Paris-based KDS, for small and medium enterprises.
Galileo had committed to maintaining both Travelpoint 2.0 and Travelport when it announced the acquisition of Highwire in July. One executive who is no longer with the company noted at the time that both products were "viable in their own right." But the new management under Cendant later determined it could address multiple needs within a single product. "Cendant's acquisition of Galileo and Galileo's acquisition of Highwire both closed and we were able to really evaluate what our customers wanted," said Highwire CEO Marka Jenkins in a Friday interview. "To merge the products is what the market was asking for. In addition to synergies you no doubt get, you get the benefits of being able to introduce more choices."
The decision to combine the two products stemmed, in part, from marketplace confusion over the Travelpoint and Travelport brands. Galileo officials stuck by the theme of "no forced migration" trumpeted in July, and at least one key customer was unconcerned. "They've done a good job of keeping us in the loop," said Rich Case, travel manager at Microsoft. "Their intent is to maximize the best features to produce one tool, to integrate them to a degree. I'm feeling comfortable that there isn't anticipated to be much change in the development team and people responsible for the tool. I'm also optimistic about the increased resources Galileo and Cendant bring to Highwire."
Galileo officials said there would be "no change" to earlier deals for Travelpoint 2.0 struck with IBM, with which Cendant last month signed a mammoth information technology contract, and Visa International.