Flight Centre Limited (FLT), Australasia's best known travel agency group with more than 2,000 shops and businesses in 11 countries, including U.S. brand Liberty Travel, has commenced updating the desktop tools available to Flight Centre’s travel consultants with the launch of Travelport Universal Desktop, Travelport reports.
The change began in Queensland in August, following successful pilot programs in key markets around the world. A broader rollout will include the rest of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, then extending to the remainder of the global Flight Centre network.
Travelport Universal Desktop will enhance FLT's ability to access and sell airfares and other travel content globally and will provide travel consultants with a faster and simpler research and booking tool, thereby strengthening their relationship with their customers, Travelport says.
“Flight Centre Limited has enjoyed a long and prosperous relationship with Travelport over the past 25 and more years. The latest iteration of that relationship is the launch of Universal Desktop to our agents around the world, which is one of our key business strategies globally. We are proud to be first to market with a tool that will dynamically reshape how travel is booked at our agency, and greatly redefine the overall retail experience for our customers, " Graham Turner, managing director, Flight Centre, said.
“Travelport Universal Desktop doesn’t simply add a graphical layer to an existing GDS. The entire application has been designed to take travel agents into the next era of travel agency technology and we’re very excited to be partnering with Travelport in this initiative,” said Melanie Waters-Ryan, FLT’s chief operating officer and global product leader. "Feedback from our agents has been overwhelmingly positive and the Desktop’s superior workflow control and content integration is helping our travel consultants work faster and smarter, which in turn saves time and improves productivity.”
Added Waters-Ryan, “In particular, our new staff members are getting trained up quicker as the graphical user interface is more intuitive and easier to use, especially when it comes to round-the-world bookings now that they can build scenarios using Universal Desktop.”
Travelport Universal Desktop enables agents to deliver the type and level of customer service travellers are demanding today, providing access to multisource travel content and pricing, plus break-through travel management tools – all through a single platform.
Through enhanced workflow control and content integration, agents will become more productive, business processes will become more efficient, training costs will shrink, and new revenue opportunities can be realized. Underpinned by a re-engineered architectural and technical infrastructure that includes Travelport Universal API, Universal Profile and Universal Record, Travelport Universal Desktop is the flagship agency point of sale.
“Travelport’s collaboration with Flight Centre to launch Travelport Universal Desktop is a big step forward in delivering the technology tools necessary for the future needs of all of our agency community like Flight Centre, irrespective of their size or orientation,” said Gordon Wilson, CEO and president, Travelport. “Our two companies have grown together as Flight Centre has expanded its presence across the globe and we are truly delighted to deliver this ground-breaking application to them first and see it help them continue to succeed.”
The Universal Desktop launch with Flight Centre builds on an extensive development partner program in place with customers globally and follows an exhaustive GDS usability study with travel agencies worldwide, which guided the development of Travelport Universal Desktop.
Travelport reports it is also actively working with a number of beta customers across the globe to complete the next phase of validation and completion of in market testing prior to a broader rollout plan. During the coming months, Travelport said it will be working closely to support Flight Centre in its forthcoming rollout as well as ensuring beta customers are prepared for a wider market engagement.
Flight Centre Limited is one of the world’s largest travel agency groups. The company opened its first shop in Australia in 1981 and now has more than 2200 shops and businesses in 11 countries. Brands include the flagship Flight Centre leisure brand, Liberty Travel, Escape Travel, Student Flights, Cruiseabout, FCm Travel Solutions and Corporate Traveller.