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E-business offers tremendous potential for a GDS

Bruce HannaBruce Hanna, COO Galileo, shares his vision for the Indian market in an interview with Jyoti Koul

What is the role of consolidators in the Indian travel industry, especially with respect to GDS?

Consolidation is a trend that has been witnessed in the travel industry across the world. Consolidators represent a large and growing segment that has a better bargaining power for better deals and economies of scale. Interestingly another trend for consolidators is that they are adopting technology to effectively distribute their fares to the sub-agents and are now also going online. As a technology partner to most consolidators, Galileo provides means of effectively distributing fare sheets, automating business processes and providing the backend for online integration.

What are the future trends and challenges you see in this segment?

The airlines, especially the domestic carriers are providing extremely competitive fares so the fare advantage that the consolidators segment has will be impacted to a certain extent. Consolidators will also move towards an online web based model to distribute and better manage the bookings from sub-agents. This market offers a tremendous potential for all GDSs. And at the same time it is also a challenge for GDSs to meet the ever-changing demands and be one step ahead of the emerging trends.

Are you looking at other revenue opportunities in the future?

We are always looking for new and exciting opportunities that are likely to benefit both our travel agency and airline partners. Galileo has proactively introduced several products last year that generate revenue streams in addition to the traditional GDS content. Last year we launched Galileo Leisure that consolidates hotel content onto an agency terminal. Bookings from Galileo Leisure can be integrated to a single Galileo PNR enhancing agency efficiency and passenger comfort. Galileo Flight Integrator (GFI) offers Air Asia and SpiceJet inventory. GFI brings Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) content, which isn’t offered, on a traditional GDS.

What is the impact of e-business on the role of GDS in travel trade?

E-business offers a new market for a GDS and has tremendous potential. GDS booking engines power all the popular Indian online booking engines. Galileo Web Services offers an Indian travel agent the ability to tap into the ever-increasing online business. This way they can offer more user-friendly service to their customers. With e-tickets becoming mandatory from next year, the passenger will have the ease of booking and printing an e-ticket in the comfort of his home. This is a very critical aspect in the online business, as the customer who has been traditionally used to a travel agent, now has the choice of either contacting him personally or just doing so online. This offers the customer multiple choices.

What is your vision and strategy for India?

Galileo’s vision for the Indian market is to increase its market share and become the market leaders. Additionally we want a strong presence in the online market segment in India. We are the GDS that enables the travel agency partners to be the most efficient and productive in India and we will achieve this by concentrating on delivering products that drive in value and drive out costs.

What differentiates you from other GDS providers in terms of vision, strategy, business model etc?

At Galileo we are very focused on bringing maximum value to our partners, both the travel agents and airlines. We want to empower the travel agent via new revenue opportunities, technology and also bring maximum travel related content on to a travel agency terminal. We want our travel agency partners to be a `single stop shop’ for their customers. On the other side we are working along with the airlines to usher in e-ticketing and other cost reduction initiatives that improve an airlines cost structure.