Ireland-based travel technology specialist OpenJaw has signed up the first client to its recently launched t-Retail solution as well as its new managed service offering.
The deal means Russian regional carrier S7 Airlines, a member of the Oneworld alliance, will pioneer the technology firm’s new transaction-based partnership model.
The S7 agreement is the first of a number OpenJaw is expecting to make in coming weeks after its new technology product debuted at this year’s ITB in Berlin.
OpenJaw will effectively host S7’s retail offering, helping the airline to provide its customers with a seamless shopping experience for flights plus ancillaries including hotels, car hire and insurance.
Kieron Branagan, chief executive of OpenJaw, said this software-as-a-service approach will become increasingly popular with technology providers benefitting from the increased sales of its clients.
He said the key challenge for S7 was that it has a very inflexible booking system largely focused on selling flights and it was using white label solutions for ancillaries.
“They could not really get their existing solution providers to modify the functionality at the price they required.
“They would be launching a new route but this was a major constraint in terms of changing their IT systems to support it.
“Maybe they were working in a different market and could not do currency conversions, for instance, so they went out to look for an independent system.”
OpenJaw’s t-Retail system will allow S7 to differentiate itself from competitors by contracting their own hotels or other suppliers and manage their margin.
In time the t-Retail promotions feature will be added allowing the airline to create its own packages, promoting them at a fully-inclusive price to its six million customers and loyalty members.
Branagan said the new managed services model S7 is using offers its customers a more collaborative approach, drawing on OpenJaw’s 10 years of experience of the wider travel industry.
“From a commercial point of view it brings in a full business relationship with our customers rather than just being a technology provider.
“In the technology world in general the move to service as a software is absolutely there. In travel, compared to general retailing, however, the product is a very complex type of inventory.
“We are very keen to own the whole concept of t-Retail because we think in order to be selling travel products successfully a whole new approach is required.
“We have incredible insights from all around the world into what the pain points are and how you can address them. We have a composite view of the problem because we have worked with so many customers.”
OpenJaw’s data centre in Ireland will handle all the transactions and visitors to the S7 site will be able to complete the transaction without having to leave it for a third party site.
“The S7 ancillary platform runs 100% on t-Retail, it comes into us and we bring it to the point of conversion and check-out. It’s a unified platform for selling a very complicated thing like travel.”
Dmitry Chuyko, e-business director at S7, said: “We want to provide the best online experience possible for our customers.
“OpenJaw’s t-Retail Platform delivers this by enabling them to shop a full range of products on one site and in one shopping basket.
“What’s more they also benefit from great value, relevant deals from S7 Airlines and our partners. Importantly for us and our customers they are retailed under the trusted S7 brand for their entire journey.”