GulfNewsJournal.com: New technology allows for more convenient travel planning in MENA region

A technology company has created a new information aggregate that allows travel agents to speak directly with airlines, making travel in the Middle East and North Africa more convenient and less costly.

TPConnects – the region’s first online system that connects travel agents directly to airlines using real-time technology – is already operating in the United Arab Emirates with plans to grow throughout the region.

For the first time, a company spokeswoman says, travel agents will be able to see exactly what airline employees have access to in terms of ticket pricing and ancillary charges such as extra leg room, bag checks and in-flight meals. They’ll also be able to message airline employees directly to seek out the best deals.

“Most of the ancillaries on tickets purchased through agents are actually sold via the airline’s website,”Kristine Fernandez, TPConnects director of business development, recently told the Gulf News Journal. “That’s where the most detailed information is for options such as seats with extra legroom, lounge access or expedited boarding. Because agents—including online travel agents—don’t have easy access to this information, it is difficult for agents and online travel agents to help their customers to compare airline offerings beyond the basic schedule and fare.”

This new technology will allow travel agents access to those ancillary options, and the ability to pass that information on to travelers.

“With TPConnects Aggregator platform, passengers will be able to receive up-to-the-minute flight availability, pricing and customer reviews using platforms like TPConnects with the NDC standard,” Fernandez said.

The aggregate technology aims to personalize travel.

TPConnects will allow agents to create personalized special offers to travelers based on demographics, loyalty status and other factors. Travel agents will be able to reach out to airlines directly to inquire about special offers for certain travelers. 

“As a result, air travelers will benefit from greater transparency and access to all of an airline’s offerings, and airlines will be able to move beyond the mostly commoditized displays of fares and schedules for the consumers through the travel agent channel and online travel portals,” Fernandez told the Gulf News Journal.

The aggregate also enables agents to connect travel suppliers such as hotels and rental car companies with travelers, as well. TPConnects will be able to find the best deals and purchase other travel necessities, such as insurance or concert tickets, directly from the vendor.

TPConnects says its technology is the first to receive certification from the International Air Transport Association as an information technology vendor and as an aggregator.

When a traveler submits a travel request to an agent using TPConnects, the agent will be able to communicate with all appropriate to find an itinerary that works best for the passenger’s schedule and budget. In the long run, TPConnects says this technology will save travelers time and money. 

“As airlines develop bundled and unbundled fares, passengers need to be able to shop and compare the value of these options across airlines,” Fernandez said, “Just as they do when shopping for other consumer goods.”

TradeArabia.com: TPConnects selects UAE airline as first Iata NDC customer

TPConnects, a technology solution provider to the global trade, has confirmed that its Travel Aggregator platform based on Iata NDC’s XML-based data transmission standard is now live for its first airline customer in UAE.

Middle Eastern airline Rotana Jet is the first carrier to adopt TPConnects’ product, announced Tony Tyler, director general of IATA during the IATA Middle East and Africa Aviation Day in Abu Dhabi on October 27, 2015.

By adapting the NDC Standard and using TPConnects platform, the airline will be able to differentiate its products and services, distribute the entirety of the product portfolio, including ancillaries and promotional fares, present the airline’s products in an attractive manner using rich format like photos and videos, as well as expand the amount of information available on each product including attributes, facilities, policies, passenger reviews etc. The TPConnects platform will also offer value-added products and services when applicable in addition to other non-air product offerings like hotels, cars, activities, event and concert tickets and insurance.

Kristine Fernandez, director business development at TPConnects, said; “We are glad that our first airline customer went live with Iata NDC. With the airline industry under extreme financial pressure, stiff competition, consumers grow increasingly tech-savvy and mobile, TPConnects booking and distribution tool with NDC standard assist airlines to adopt a merchandising strategy that not only takes the need of travellers into account, but also achieves the main goal of airline to increase its profits and shift from a service provider to a retailer.

With TPConnects aggregator platform, travel agents are now able to search, compare and sell all the products and services of the airline including ancillaries and non-air products such as hotels, car, activities and insurance.  With volume business, airlines are now able to negotiate better rates from the non-air product suppliers which will eventually benefit the end customers. Alternatively, the switch model enables the travel agents to plug their own credentials and contracted rates from suppliers.

TPConnects is using IATA NDC standard to connect to many airlines, and GDS’s to receive up-to-the-minute flight availability, pricing and offers, both bundled and unbundled.

George Ibrahim, CEO of Rotana Jet, said: “We are glad to be the first airline in Middle East and Africa to go live with IATA NDC with the first publication of the latest NDC standard. As Rotana Jet develop bundled and unbundled offers, the travel community needs to be able to shop and compare the value of these options for their customers, just as they do when they shop online for any consumer items or walk-in to any retail shops. IATA NDC gives us the ability through the development of a modern, internet-based data standard for communications between Rotana Jet and the travel agents.” – TradeArabia News Service.

TTGAsia.com: TPConnects launches aggregator platform based on NDC standards

TRAVEL technology provider TPConnects has adopted IATA New Distribution Capability’s (NDC) XML-based data transmission standard into its Travel Aggregator platform, touted to give travel agents the capability to access features and options typically available only through airline websites.

 

Agents using TPConnects’ platform will be able to perform transactions via a rich interface, much like airline websites, and will for the first time be able to view and purchase the airline’s entire portfolio of products including ancillaries, customised offers, add-ons and promotional fares.

 

With volume business, airlines are now able to negotiate better rates from the non-air product suppliers, said TPConnects in a press release. Alternatively, the switch model enables the travel agents to plug their own credentials and contracted rates from suppliers.

 

Kristine Fernandez, director business development at TPConnects, said: “With the airline industry under extreme financial pressure (and) stiff competition (while) consumers grow increasingly tech-savvy and mobile, TPConnects booking and distribution tool with NDC standard assist airlines to adopt a merchandising strategy that not only takes the need of travellers into account, but also achieves the main goal of airline to increase its profits and shift from a service provider to a retailer.”

 

Middle Eastern airline Rotana Jet was the first carrier to adopt TPConnects’ product, announced Tony Tyler, director general of IATA during the IATA Middle East and Africa Aviation Day in Abu Dhabi on October 27, 2015.