As a follow up to last month’s diary, I’ve educated myself a little bit more on the GDS by speaking with other agents, my agency’s owner and an account manager from TravelPort .
Mike Papke, account manager at TravelPort had this to say in answer to my inquiry about the release of the Universal Desktop, “This new desktop point of sale application is still in beta testing and development in the US for Apollo through the balance of this year. As soon as it’s ready for a general release I’ll be sure to coordinate a demonstration of the tool with Kevin Loveless and your Global Travel team. “
Speaking of Kevin Loveless, owner and president of Global Travel, he offered me his perspective concerning the GDS. He wants his agents to book travel on any platform that has a revenue agreement. He’s open to any type of technology that will help agents be more productive and streamlined. He thinks the Universal Desktop has great potential and will consider it once it’s available.
He also had this to say when I asked him how important it is for new or semi new agents to learn all the codes and commands for the GDS; “Eventually, everything will be done from a browser window. Travel advisors and/or consumers will not necessarily know if they are using a GDS, multiple GDSs, Google, hotels.com, a consolidator, rental car direct connect, etc. A GDS is simply a switch. There are many ways to expand the connections to the switch and include others in a UI (user interface). Think of Expedia or Orbitz – can you tell when you’re accessing a GDS or something else? Not easily. It’s just a different UI. “
Other agents I spoke with tended to agree with me that the GDS is archaic and a pain to use. One even pointed out how frustrating it is when a client finds an airfare in a certain class of service on the airline’s website, but she can’t find that same class in the GDS. All the flights are supposed to be loaded, but that isn’t always the case. If a client can find a K class seat for $1000 and the agent can only book them in a G class costing $1200, why would they book with the agent? Another issue with air is the measly $30 service fee we charge never covers the time and trouble we endure if there is a schedule change or the passenger decides to exchange or change the ticket. Will agencies stop booking air altogether? I’m hoping! Do you see this trending any where?
I do feel better after speaking with Mr. Loveless and hearing from Mr. Papke. I’m glad the movers and shakers are aware of the disconnect between new agents and the user interfaces we are required to use. I think there will be great technological advances in the coming months for agencies. Let’s hope it’s not too cost prohibitive to incorporate and that new and seasoned agents alike will benefit by having better tools and doing what we all really love to do more effectively—make people’s travel dreams come true!
Julie Summers is a travel adviser for Global Travel in Boise, Idaho (www.myglobal.com). She has two teen boys and a spoiled Boston Terrier. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.