For trendy media-types who work from beanbags whilst sipping on iced coffee, content is a bit of a buzzword, but for those interested in travel management it means something else entirely…
Content is the term used in the business travel industry to refer to travel products, whether that’s train tickets, hotel rooms, flights, car hire etc and it’s big news when it comes to travel management, as it’s now widely acknowledged that access to a variety of content is one of the best ways to enable your organisation to make significant savings on travel spend.
No matter where you are in your travel management journey, whether you’re just procuring the services of a travel management company (TMC) or are a seasoned business travel pro, you’re certain to hear a lot about content, which is why we’ve produced this cut-out-and-keep (or bookmark and keep…) mini guide to all things content related, covering content providers, content tools and everything in between.
Travel products can be bought through a range of web sites and travel retail systems. Each of these points-of-sale are referred to as “content channels”. Travel suppliers, such as hotels, airlines and car rental companies will typically distribute their content through a number of different channels, often in an attempt to segment the market. However, modern travel retailers aggregate the content from multiple channels to work around this strategy.
Note that metasearch engines are not considered content channels because they don’t actually retail travel products, rather they act as a sign post redirecting the user to the content channel for their chosen product.
In travel management, the term Global Distribution System (GDS) relates to a system that distributes travel products to agents around the world.
In the world of air ticketing they remain the dominant distribution channel. However in other areas, online travel agents (OTAs) such as Booking.com are now cleaning up in terms of the sheer volume of content and bookings.
In business travel management, Galileo is one of the world’s largest global distribution systems, which distributes travel products to various agents around the world. With Galileo you can call and make a booking via an agent who can access the system, but bookers can also link into the system via an online booking tool.
Galileo aggregates information from various channels in order to enable TMCs to make travel reservations on behalf of their customers. Galileo then redirects the user to the chosen product’s service, providing access to multiple travel suppliers rates in one place.
In the world of business travel management, Amadeus is a global distribution system that is the largest transaction processor in the industry. Founded in 1987, Amadeus provides a variety of searches, bookings and other processes for various travel sectors.
Travel management companies use content aggregated from Amadeus, other GDS systems and online sites to show fare results to customers in their booking tools, allowing them to review all options before selecting the right choice for them.
Travel products can be bought through a range of web sites and travel retail systems. Each of these points-of-sale are referred to as “content channels”.
The term “Content aggregation” refers to the process of submitting a user’s search request to a range of content channels and combining the results into a single view for the user to choose from. It is conceptually similar to metasearch.
Content aggregation results in wider choice, more flexibility and greater cost saving opportunities. By tapping into a wider variety of content channels it can also substantially reduce core travel costs through exploitation of price fluctuations.
The acronym NDC stands for New Distribution Capability, which was created by IATA to improve the way airline content is distributed.
NDC is designed to address the industry’s distribution limitations and provide access to rich and full air content with a transparent shopping experience, as it allows airlines to sell their fares directly to consumers.
NDC enables TMCs that have technology to aggregate content to transform the way air products are retailed to business travellers.
Full content agreement
Full content agreement refers to a clause in a contract between an airline and a Global Distribution System (GDS) which obligates the airline to distribute all of it’s fares via the GDS, effectively creating a level playing field between the GDS and other distribution channels such as the airlines own web site.
Direct connect in the travel industry refers to a technical service provided by travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, car rental companies, et al) that provides programmatic access to their sales systems, enabling third party travel retailers to search for availability, and typically make and manage bookings too.
Direct connects are typically represent a travel suppliers lowest cost sales channel and as such they are becoming more and more popular.
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