The Power of Packaging

Within weeks of one another, Worldspan and Sabre introduced dynamic packaging tools that let agents automatically bundle together air, hotel and car-rental components into easily bookable itineraries.

By: David Peterkofsky

Within weeks of one another, Worldspan and Sabre introduced dynamic packaging tools that let agents automatically bundle together air, hotel and car-rental components into easily bookable itineraries.

The companies tout their respective new products as tools to enhance agents’ customer service as well as their own bottom lines, since agents can easily mark up the packages they assemble.

Worldspan’s new product, NeatAgent, is the result of a joint venture with the Neat Group, a Texas-based company whose dynamic packaging technology powers United Airlines’ UnitedEscapes Web site. (United helped fund the startup in 1999.)

It offers agents real-time availability and pricing for wholesale products throughout the United States, including all major U.S. carriers, more than 3,250 hotels and 570 car-rental locations.

NeatAgent also is integrated into Worldspan’s Go reservations platform, and agents can seamlessly incorporate their markup before sharing price information with their clients.

Meanwhile, Sabre unveiled Sabre Trip Shopping, a similar product but with a twist it gives agents a very broad choice of package possibilities to present to their clients.

When an agent executes a trip search, Sabre Trip Shopping generates up to 30 itineraries and breaks the results down into three categories: My Ideal Trips shows results that closely match the client’s preferences; Upgrade Your Trip suggests ways the agent can upsell the client on slightly higher-priced offerings; and Lowest Priced Trips lists money-saving options for the client, such as lower-cost accommodations or economy rental-car options in place of luxury rentals.

Sabre Trip Shopping searches negotiated and published fares, as well as net-rate hotel inventory culled from Sabre’s recently launched preferred-hotel program, which offers negotiated blocked-room deals with 600 properties in the United States and will add overseas properties later this year.

Like Worldspan’s NeatAgent, Sabre Trip Shopping requires no additional software it runs on Sabre’s eVoya Webtop platform. Agencies that offer their clients Web-booking capabilities can also integrate Sabre Trip Shopping into their sites.

There is one difference: Unlike Worldspan’s NeatAgent, Sabre Trip Shopping does not allow agents to mark up the packages sold within the application itself, so agents simply receive their normal commissions for each trip component.

To see a demonstration of Worldspan NeatAgent, visit www.neatagent.com. For more details on Sabre Trip Shopping, visit www.sabre. com, under Travel Agency Products and Services.

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