First, I’d like to apologize to those of you who couldn’t get on the site this morning. I’ve been using Bluehost.com for my site hosting, and they went down once again. I’m up for renewal in a couple of months, and I’ll most likely be switching. Let me know if you know any more reliable hosts out there.
At last week’s Travel Innovation Summit, there was one company that really stood out. Believe it or not, the old-school global distribution system (GDS), Sabre, was at the show ready to show something innovative. What we got is effectively what Air Canada did on their website years ago and everyone else has been begging for every since. They’re finally getting around to putting a la carte shopping, or attribute-based shopping as they call it, into their system. This is innovative? Well at least it’s finally happening.
The demonstration they gave us used the Travelocity interface. Once you put in a search for a certain route on a certain date as you would now, it will return fares as you would expect to see. But there was also a new filter option that lets you include fees for meals, first checked bag, second checked bag, etc in the price that they show you. This way you can determine which of the fees you wanted to see included – basically it gives you a customized price for comparison purposes. I can talk about this all day, but here’s the video of Sabre’s presentation if you want to see it yourself. It’s a little over 10 minutes long. Despite my best efforts, I can’t get the embed function to work with this player, so you’ll have to click out.
As you may have noticed, the key here is that you won’t just be able to see the all-in price but you’ll actually be able to pay for everything at the time of booking. No more whipping out your wallet when you want a sandwich or when you need to drop off a bag. You will eventually be able to pay for this all in advance, effectively creating a tailored travel experience with only one swipe of the credit card.
This is the kind of system that I’ve been waiting for. I have no problem with a la carte pricing at all. I just don’t want to have to pay for each piece separately. As I said, Air Canada has done this for quite some time. I’m glad to see the lumbering GDS’s finally catching up. We’ll see when it’s actually in production.