With the rapid deployment of new airline products and services – think baggage fees -through airline websites, Open AXIS members have expressed concern over the inability of travel agency desktop platforms to meet the display and selling requirements of both the airlines and travel agencies.
This is one motive behind the formation of an Open AXIS Working Group charged with understanding the distribution, content display and selling needs of airlines and their travel agency partners. One target is the famed CRS ‘Green Screen’ that is under scrutiny.
The Desktop 2.0 Working Group will consist of Open AXIS member airlines and third party developer allied members, along with invited prospective members from the travel agency, Travel Management Companies, Online Travel Agents, (OTA) and Corporate Booking Tool communities.
Its complex, but the goal of the Working Group is to evaluate the requirements of all participants, define general airline product display standards and make recommendations for developers of graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
“While there is overwhelming enthusiasm and support for the Open AXIS common XML connectivity to airlines, there is also a lot of positive discussion around how developers of graphical interfaces for travel agencies, corporate booking tools and consumer sites can effectively consume and display the airline direct connect,” stated Jim Young, Executive Director of the Open AXIS Group – a non profit association.
“Based on discussions that took place during forum sessions, it became clear that a typical travel agency cryptic ‘green screen’ will not handle new airline products and services coming down this new XML connection. Agencies will need the ability to ‘up- and cross-sell’ based on traveler authenticated offers coming from the airlines and simultaneously provide a level of product comparison,” Young said.
Last year, Open AXIS Member Airlines published a white paper called Distribution 2.0, outlining a common distribution strategy supported by Open AXIS airlines and its common XML schema. The Distribution 2.0 concept reinforces the airlines’ desire to provide a unique and customized display and selling experience similar to what they have on their own websites, Open Axis said.
“Finding common ground is what this new Desktop 2.0 Working Group is all about – balancing the need to go from today’s selling systems with their commoditized airline display to a display based on traveler authentication and personalization, all the while maintaining agency productivity and workflow consistency,” added Young.
“While not the easiest of challenges, it was very encouraging to witness the level of excitement among the highly creative and successful third party developers in attendance at our forums when they realized they could participate in creating and developing new display standards,” Young said.
The Open AXIS Group also reports that its Board of Directors approved a new process for schema upgrades and public download availability.
Open AXIS Group is a member-based, not-for-profit organization founded by North America’s largest airlines and ATPCO. Its primary goal is maintenance, advocacy and promotion of Distribution 2.0, a technology and distribution practice standard that utilizes eXtensible Markup Language (XML) for airline system connectivity used in full-content distribution.