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Historically, airline seats were a commodity, albeit with a number of pricing variables. Travelers would choose their "seat" based on price, schedule and class of service. This allowed most travel agents to function more or less as order processors, and the global distribution systems (GDSs) provided the technology. Now airlines are transforming their product to include optional services and branded fares. To accommodate the sale of these new services and packages, the travel distribution system is implementing major changes. Key to these developments are the existing profile systems of the GDSs and third-party technology companies. This article does the following:
- Reviews the changes taking place in travel profile systems
- Analyzes the relative value of additional customer profile information that a travel agent (online or traditional) might use to close a sale for these new services
- Details the profile initiatives of all three GDS companies and several travel management companies (TMCs)
- Assesses the potential implications for all companies that interact with these systems
- Examines the potential for a traveler-owned "open profile" industry standard
Table of Contents11 Pages
Introduction: Profiles Background
What is a good profile system?
Profiles: State of the Industry
Global Distribution System (GDS) Initiatives
Other Travel Technology Providers
Profiles: An Open Future?
Sources of Further Information