Agents should take advantage of evolving search technology
Speaking at Travelport’s “e-volve ‘14” conference in Monaco, data expert Reg Warlop said that travel agents should take advantage of new innovations in search technology, TTG Digital reports.
“Data is getting out of control,” Reg Warlop declared. “Each year it is increasing by 30%. It’s not just volume, but also complexity. You have to control it.”
Warlop, a vice-president of products at Travelport with responsibility for GDS cores, fares, search and airline systems, may have alarmed some delegates. But he went on to show how newer tools such as Flex Explore and Search Control Console could ease the pain.
Increasing numbers of searches made by customers looking for holidays can lead to rising costs for OTAs connected to GDSs; as look-to-book ratios go up, so do associated data retrieval costs. Warlop believes that with more consumers browsing on their iPads, with longer lead-in times, it is a trend that can only continue.
“People are undecided, they’re looking a lot. We need to cater for that customer behaviour,” he said.
“For example, I want to holiday in Florida. I can see the pictures of the hotel on an OTA’s website, so I know where I want to go. But the next bit is painful, finding out how to get there.
“Our goal is to address that broken experience. Agents are telling us we need to offer more relevant search results. We’re focusing on accuracy, speed, relevance and personalisation.”
He urged agents to experiment with Flex Explore, a function available through Travelport’s Universal API, which provides real-time pricing in an “inspirational” way.
[photo courtesy TTG Digital]