Advantage 2010: Online selling platform to launch in August

Travel agent consortium Advantage will launch a new online selling platform for members in August that will aggregate content from all of its suppliers.

The Advantage Travel Gateway system, developed by Multicom, is being showcased at the annual overseas conference in Lucerne this weekend ahead of a planned launch in August.

The development comes on the back of the new Advantage members’ website developed with Traveltek and launched last year which offers a white label booking engine facility.

Advantage chief executive John McEwan described the new gateway as being like a Travelsupermarket for members except with bookability built in.

“At the moment if you want to book a bed bank in order to assess the best possible deal, you have to visit the bed banks individually and you could have as many as half a dozen browsers open at any one time,” he said.

“This is an aggregation system that brings together everything in one place. It gives members a one stop shop.”

The new system will support accommodation-only, air, cruise and ancillary providers and McEwan said it will enable the consortium to broaden the product available to members.

The system will also have other more niche ‘sub-sets’ including a new luxury hotel programme being developed by Advantage. “If we have commercial agreements with commercial partners, they will have an opportunity to come into the gateway,” McEwan said.

The gateway can be accessed either via a log in on a normal web browser, or through existing systems provided to members by the likes of Comtec and the consortia’s existing SABS system developed by Micros.

Although built ostensibly for business to business purposes, members with consumer websites will be able to link the gateway to provide a search and book facility for consumers.

McEwan added: “The real benefit for us is to aggregate the content to make it as easy as possible for our members. It’s a very simple booking process and it enables us to bring in existing relationships but also new ones.

“There are a lot of selling systems out there provided by consortia and other players where you can get access to content but are taken off to a suppliers’ site.”   

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