TDS Europe 2006 special: By EyeforTravel Correspondent<br><br>The traditional travel marketplace supply chain model of p

TDS Europe 2006 special: By EyeforTravel CorrespondentThe traditional travel marketplace supply chain model of product owner - wholesaler - retailer - consumer continues to blur, with increasing overlap and competition to access the consumer dire

Published: 02 Aug 2006

TDS Europe 2006 special: By EyeforTravel Correspondent

The traditional travel marketplace supply chain model of product owner - wholesaler - retailer - consumer continues to blur, with increasing overlap and competition to access the consumer dire

According to Cormac Whelan, chief executive officer, Datalex, dynamic packaging and the leisure product is seen as a key differentiator and a future competitive advantage for all.

“The Travel Distribution Platform, which is currently being launched by Datalex, represents a major development for Datalex and is a response to emerging dynamics of travel distribution. TDP enables travel suppliers and distributors to assemble a broad range of complex travel inventories and destination content for online consumer, call center and trade distribution. It extends the scope for these organizations to offer dynamic, multi-component travel packaging and enable integration and ease of interoperability with Central Reservations Systems and other enterprise systems,” he had told’s Ritesh Gupta recently. The detailed version of the interview follows:

What major trends have you witnessed in the marketplace? How have you translated them into business development opportunities?

a. The traditional supply chain model of supplier-wholesaler-retailer-consumer continues to converge as all parts of the value chain embrace new e-retail/wholesale models. A new paradigm is evolving in which travel supplier; retailer and wholesalers are strengthening their positions in leisure travel through a focus on dynamic packaging online. To embrace this new distribution paradigm, the travel distributor must consider efficiencies of dynamic procurement and pricing, dynamic business process optimization and dynamic channel presentation. The Datalex Travel Distribution Platform is a response to this imperative

b. For Airlines suppliers, oopportunities are emerging for more direct distribution to consumer and trade channels Reliance on single channel GDS distribution is eroding and emergent GDSs alternatives are evolving more cost effective 'broker' models . Technology advancements ideally position the airline to control all distribution, direct and indirect. To embrace this new distribution paradigm, an airline must consider the imperative of distribution control across all of its market channels. Evolving technology standards and solutions such as the Travel Distribution Platform are a critical response to this imperative.

What do you think are going to be the major challenges for a company like yours going forward in such market?

Datalex solutions support millions of online transactions each day for some of the world’s largest travel industry suppliers and distributors. Datalex has served travel distributors with innovative technology solutions for over 20 years. Our major challenge will be to continue to deliver solution to our customers who set the direction and pace of technology development for the marketplace.

With investment in technology and playing on existing brand awareness, there has recently been a resurgence in the confidence of the major tour operators online. What's your viewpoint on this?

We agree; established tour operators are not going to disappear. They are changing their technology to be able to offer full dynamic packaging and addressing their control of inventory. It is the larger more profitable tour operators who may be the big winners as many have already recognized the opportunity and have been busy updating their systems

In response to this; The TDP Leisure Solutions Portfolio, which is currently being developed by Datalex is a full-function, fully integrated, next generation central reservations solution and a result the result of extensive research and solution accomplishments with some of the world's largest operators.

Can supplier packaging really work, or will travel suppliers who focus on selling other people's products lose their grip on their own highly valuable direct to consumer sales?

Many suppliers already successfully distribute direct to consumer. Aer Lingus distribute 70% direct to consumer via the Datalex TDP for example. There will be a significant growth in dynamic packaging from suppliers as a means to drive ancillary revenue and value to their customers but in parallel we will see a drive to enable more efficient means of distributing their content to retailers with sufficient brand awareness and customer awareness.

How will advances in technology and better connectivity develop the intermediary leisure product and the suppliers' sources to market?

The industry has started to realise the benefits of XML and service-orientated architectures such as the Datalex TDP enabling open, low cost distribution platforms and new point-of-sale applications. Also as more suppliers and distributors begin to utilise The Open Travel Alliance (OTA) message standards for car, air, hotel and cruise; integrated dynamic multi-source procurement, packaging and pricing applications will flourish.

Specialisation - can big brands really offer a specialised product? Will recent consolidation in the online travel market lead to more homogeneity of products and less choice for the customer?

Certainly that could be, as niche sites continue to get eaten up by the mega-OTA’s; but as soon as they do more will be created and fragmentation in online shopping will continue to exist. The consumer demand has evolved and suppliers/distributors must now answer the demand for more extensive and dynamic content across multiple suppliers hence less Customer choice is not an option!

What's on your agenda?

Enabling new transformation of supplier and distributor business models through The Travel Distribution Platform.

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