Air fare distribution technology provider Farelogix and rich content platform Routehappy have agreed a strategic partnership that will see an integrated solution offered to airline clients.
The partners say the collaboration has the potential to open up a new realm of financial opportunities for carriers to monetise their economy cabins and rely less on premium seats.
Farelogix and Routehappy said the tie-up made sense for both parties and both have previously been asked in the past by clients if they work together.
Jim Davidson, chief executive of Farelogix said as airlines look to merchandise increasing numbers of ancillary products and fare families they need the content to market them properly.
He said Farelogix had started to go down the route of developing a content platform but quickly realised it was a difficult and complex challenge.
“We quickly realised we were in a little bit over our heads in terms of putting something together from a product point of view.
“The complexity from airlines in terms of multiple people and management, multiple types of content meant we realised this wasn’t for the faint-hearted”.
Davidson in a more traditional corporate world synergies between the two firms could have resulted in a buyout,
But he said Fareologix has preferred to establish strategic partnerships, such as one with switchfly, that have extended the value of their product.
“My view is historically when once company buys another, particularly when it’s small, a lot gets lost in translation,” Davidson said.
“Since we started talking about working together we found we had mutual customers and prospects.”
As airlines become more sophisticated in the way they merchandise their seats, and associated products, direct and indirect channels are demanding appropriate content to depict those products.
This opens up the prospect of only showing content related certain amenities, like complimentary alcoholic drinks, when they are looking at flights that is appropriate on.
It will also see airlines bundle up added-value products and services so that economy customers can upgrade to more of a premium economy type experience if they so wish.
Robert Albert, chief executive of Routehappy said content is king when it comes to converting these offers online.
“We are building a rich content infrastructure for the industry. It’s complicated for airlines to manage all this rich content.
“What we build helps airlines get on top of that and ultimately deliver it to the customer.”
The shared platform will allow airlines to firstly create the differentiated products, price then and then distribute them through multiple channels with the right content.
Farelogix and Routehappy believes this approach heralds a new era for airline merchandising which takes it away from the price-focussed, commoditised model airlines are trying to move from.
“This raises the bar for the entire product line across all channels,” said Davidson. “They can deliver that content wherever they want to put the real sizzle around the offer.”
Albert said: “Airlines have dreamed of doing this kind of stuff for years. Now they can literally start dreaming up how to make buying their seats more compelling.”
Airlines are expected to become more competitive and inventive about the products they create to meet customer expectations.
And the entire financial model of running an airline could change, according to Davidson.
“The sky is the limit in terms of how airlines will use this. We are seeing bundles created in all cabins. I may not be a frequent flyer but I want to be treated like one.”
Albert added: “Every customer wants to best possible value. Airlines are realising that. They can make their seats more valuable in many ways.”