Airline E-Commerce Platform - Driving down operational costs while innovating online fare handling
The cost of obtaining airline fares and tax information from host Global Distribution Systems (GDS) has risen exponentially over the past few years due largely to increased window shopping, price comparison and robotic web site scraping activities. Airlines have realized that this has become a significant part of the cost of running their online booking platform. Carriers have sought alternate means to obtain this data and at the same time continue to provide a dynamic online booking engine.
Here's how 2e Systems, together with our partner Vayant Travel Technologies, built a platform for airBaltic that not only provided a seamless online booking experience for their customers, but also achieved cost efficiency by driving down overall distribution costs. The solution provided by 2e Systems helped the carrier save half a million Euros in the first few months after implementation.
The carrier, based out of Latvia, serves over 60 destinations and carried more than 3 million passengers in 2012. Established in 1995, airBaltic operates a hybrid business model that combines both a traditional network airline structure together with that of a low cost carrier. Since the launch of the internet booking engine, airBaltic realized the cost of operating the site continued to rise dramatically year over year. The carrier sought alternate methods to provide flight availability, fare and tax information for customers and at the same time drive down costs. It was a critical requirement that the information provided by a new solution be both 100% reliable and available in real time.
2e Systems reviewed the requirements as well as inherent risks and provided alternate handling methods to address the challenges. According to Phil Douglas, CEO 2e Systems, "airBaltic came to 2e Systems with the inherent issues and we sought to develop a solution, together with Vayant Travel Technologies, in order to afford our customer an option to pricing inquiries beyond traditional GDS systems that can save money as well as improve performance." The partners collaborated and tailored their existing solutions to provide a new dynamic source tool that streamlined processes for fare and tax inquiries.
The solution combined the internet booking platform of 2e Systems and the Vayant microproducts FareList, TaxQuote and IntelliPricer. This partnership combined the powerful tools of both products and offered a dynamic pricing engine unparalleled in both cost savings and efficiency. This is key for any carrier engaged in online travel sales. The new approach allowed accurate fares, fare rules, one way and return taxes to be obtained and merged with last seat availability while at the same time driving down transactions against the GDS.
Vayant Travel Technologies and 2e Systems provided a tool where fares and taxes are updated 24x7 based on ATPCO fare filings and IATA tax data. The Vayant tools provided a fares and tax engine that built up the relevant information applying the associated rules. This removed the need for the booking engine to perform expensive fares and tax requests against the GDS. The data is extracted from the Vayant platform by 2e Systems using a well proven XML interface. This improved general booking engine processing time and made manual fares, rules and taxes handling unnecessary. In addition the pricing products combined data updates with unique caching methodology and therefore provided faster delivery to market. The tool drives up efficiencies of scale and also drives down operations costs.
The integrated solution which has been in place since 2011, has already realized a large cost saving for the carrier, as well as enhanced fare and tax handling capabilities.
Andis Drengers, airBaltic Commercial Projects Manager adds, "The highly effective and successful solution which has been provided to airBaltic was and remains absolutely critical in reducing our overall distribution costs and at the same time enhancing our online platform."
Eric Dumas, CEO of Vayant Travel Technologies comments, "Delivering the dynamic search experiences that today's travel shoppers expect makes distribution costs a strategic issue for airlines. With our partners 2e Systems, we have delivered an E-Commerce platform to airBaltic that gives customers a richer shopping experience, while simultaneously driving down cost." 2e Systems and Vayant Travel Technologies continue to optimize the tool in order to utilize the fares and taxes information for other related inquiries.
AIR BALTIC CORPORATION (airBaltic)
is a joint stock company that was established in 1995. airBaltic offers nonstop flights from three Baltic capital cities - Riga, Vilnius, and Tallinn. airBaltic offers convenient connections via North Hub Riga to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East. The primary shareholder of the airline is Latvian state with 99.8% of stock. The airBaltic fleet consists of 26 aircraft - five Boeing 737-500, eight Boeing 737-300, three Fokker 50 airplanes and ten Bombardier Q400Next Gen. For summer 2013, airBaltic will temporarily operate B757-200 aircraft on high-demand routes. airBaltic received the title of Airline of the Year 2009/2010 (Gold Award) from the European Regions Airline Association. airBaltic is the winner of Air Transport World Phoenix Award 2010 - a global recognition of excellence in restructuring business. airBaltic won a special Pacesetter Award 2010 from the Jury of the Budgies World Low Cost Airline Awards, recognizing achievements of airBaltic as a hybrid airline. In 2012, airBaltic was ranked by Airlinetrends among the Top 10 airlines globally for innovations. For summer 2013, airBaltic has introduced six new destinations - Prague (Czech Republic), Heviz-Balaton (Hungary), Olbia (Sardinia, Italy), Rijeka (Croatia), Larnaca (Cyprus), and Malta.
Vayant Travel Technologies (www.vayant.com)
Vayant, a world leader in airfare search innovation, provides the global travel industry with airfare search solutions that enable truly inspirational shopping experiences.
Other providers talk about inspirational travel shopping, but only Vayant delivers it with cost-effective, efficient and fast-to-deploy solutions that enable airlines, Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and Internet Booking Engines (IBEs) to get closer to their customers with targeted offers and promotions, presented intuitively across every online channel.
Vayant products are deployed by airlines, TOs, OTAs and IBE providers and run millions of searches daily