Advances in air fare shopping technology due to be rolled out within the next year will give travel agents and their customers more flexibility and choice.
Sabre Travel Network says it is focused on using technology to deliver richer, more tailored content based on what has been requested and a wider set of applicable options.
Development areas include much greater flexibility of shopping by date and enhanced itinerary selection to find cheaper options.
Also slated to be rolled out are more options for multi-destination shopping allowing up to 15 to be included in a single search.
The ability to shop by specific fare also heralds a new way to search for flights allowing travellers to find which dates fit their budgets.
Sabre has been including long stopovers in results for travellers who are not time restricted saying this is an opportunity for agents to sell add-ons such as hotel stays and attractions.
Tomasz Przybylik, director of software development, said: “We can find a fare that’s not only cheap, but one that meets travellers needs in terms of quality of experience, especially in terms of convenience.
“Diversity is our biggest investment. This gives us the ability to return a richer and wider set of options.”Sabre said this move towards diversity of results will be tested before being rolled out to agents so they can take control of the search parameters.
“They [agents] will be able to define their own profiles that will return options that are really appropriate for certain types of customers. It will create the impression that [agents] are only offering options applicable [to the client].”
Sabre said it is “ready to stack the shelves” with the ever-expanding types of bundled and unbundled fares.
Erol Arkan, product management and marketing director, said it was working with suppliers, agencies and Iata, the international airlines trade group, on ATCPO codes to establish new industry data standards for airline product.
These will allow airlines to better differentiate their products while remaining transparent to the customer so they can comparison shop.
“Next generation shopping is a reality today, but because of how central and core it is to our electronic marketplace, it’s something that is continuously improving.
“The reason why ATPCO and Iata can play such an important part is these standards are ever evolving.
“There is a critical mass to be reached that will open the floodgates and there will be an efficient way to activate the distribution of these air extras. If the airlines follow the codes it will help us stack our shelves more quickly.”