Amadeus and Sabre, two of the leading GDS providers, both announced new systems aimed at giving their subscribers even better access to the best airline fares. Amadeus signed a strategic partnership with California-based Couchbase, a leading provider of open-source and NoSQL database technologies, and the company behind the Couchbase opensource project, to use high-performance data management in order to improve the online travel shopping experience.
Just hours later on Nov. 14 Sabre announced the launch of its next generation air shopping platform to help travelers find the lowest fares and provide more fare choices. The platform is based on a specifically developed algorithm that searches, evaluates and ranks more than a billion fare combinations providing the shopper with a comprehensive list of the lowest fare options.
For Amadeus, Couchbase will support the GDS with its availability applications, ensuring that those wishing to book fares online will only see prices that are both up-to-date and available for purchase following the search process. This level of real-time fare accuracy can only be reached via a highly effective data management backbone, where information is replicated within milliseconds.
Amadeus said that with millions of flight options available today from increasing numbers of meta-search and online travel agencies around the world, accuracy of real-time fare evaluation is clearly critical to the online shopping experience, removing in turn the frustration of travellers failing to conclude their shopping online. This first pilot system with Couchbase will apply to all online solutions available via Amadeus’ distribution networks and commences immediately.
As part of the agreement, Couchbase and Amadeus will also be working together to introduce more scalability and flexibility to Amadeus’ service-oriented architecture (SOA) across its broader existing product line. This will provide an opportunity to build new products and applications, or extend existing product portfolios. It is planned that prototypes will be implemented in 2014 and that this new class of applications will reach the market in 2015-2016.
As for Sabre, the GDS said its new platform meets the needs of evolving consumer shopping behaviors and the growing number of airfare options. In addition, it allows for new features such as the ability to return multiple prices for the same itinerary, letting travelers easily shop and compare the different fares and services offered by airlines.
“Not only is air shopping more complex today, mobile and social trends are changing how travelers discover, shop and buy travel,” said Chris Kroeger, senior vice president for Sabre Travel Network. “In the next few years, personalization will really take off, exploding the number of ways to search and filter fares but the desire to find the lowest fare will never go away. The enhancements we’ve made to our system prepare us for this next phase of travel commerce.”
Sabre commissioned a third party, independent study by Fried & Partner, a marketing and management consulting company, to compare its shopping system to other providers in order to test its new platform. According to Sabre, the results show that its system delivers superior low fare search capabilities and the best airfare options in each region and globally. Further, the Sabre system also finds more of the itineraries that travelers want to buy, both in terms of time of day and length of travel times.
The enhanced shopping platform will also allow Sabre to add new services such as expanded calendar search and an enhanced “alternate city” search to its existing capabilities without compromising performance.