As Airlineworld has reported earlier, Amadeus and Sabre plan a joint venture to provide secure payment clearing and reconciliation service for non-air travel sales. Yesterday the two GDS (Global Distribution System) providers revealed some details about this new entity. In our previous article we have mentioned that the new joint venture required an antitrust approval from the European Commission, which they have received on 12SEP2007. The new solution called Moneydirect is based on an Amadeus product launched in Australia and New Zealand in 1998 already. It will focus on hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, car rental companies, ferries, railways, and travel intermediaries such as travel agencies and wholesalers.
James Filsinger, chief executive officer and general manager of Moneydirect, said operations, which are currently hosted in Australia, will move to Ireland, with subsidiary offices in Australia and the U.S. He said travel agencies can use Moneydirect to pass payments onto suppliers minus their commissions. They also can use it to schedule several payments to cruise and tour companies in installments.
Moneydirect also will address currency issues, he said. For example, a U.S. travel agent who books a hotel in Australia might get a $10 check issued in Australian dollars 90 days later. Moneydirect will enable the hotel to transfer the amount immediately directly into the agency’s bank account. “Payment can go in either direction,” Filsinger said. “If a hotel company manages hotel commissions directly, it can use Moneydirect to pay agencies.”
He said the platform is flexible enough to handle transactions in which the agent has a net rate and can retain the markup when the customer’s credit card is charged the full price for a travel component. Any size agency, hotel or other travel company can use the product, he said. “Even a small company that provides scuba tours can use it, so it may open the door to some new content that wasn’t already available before,” he said.
Filsinger said the fee structure has not yet been finalized but will be transaction-based. “We have a fee model that ranges from 10 to 20 cents, depending on the type of transaction,” he said. Moneydirect will be GDS-independent, he said. The joint venture is looking at ways in which it can communicate with agencies’ back-office systems in an efficient manner.
In granted approval to the joint venture, the EC said it concluded that “the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it. . .. There would be no horizontal or vertical overlaps between the activities of Moneydirect and its parent companies.”
The EC added that “this business is not closely related to the parties’ GDS business” and Amadeus and Sabre “have put in place structures to limit the information flows between Moneydirect and its parent companies.”
So Amadeus and Sabre has started on the road to provide an IATA BSP type of solution for travel agencies using their systems. The IATA BSP provides the same service of a general clearing house, but only in relation to air travel – between IATA member airlines and IATA member travel agencies selling those airlines’ tickets. Now the agencies (using Amadeus and Sabre reservation systems) will be able to take usage of similar services in relation with the other travel related content which they offer to their customers – their life will indeed be made much easier. Looking forward what will be the next cooperation between Amadeus and Sabre!
by balint01 (based on ATW News)