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Sun 8 Jul 2007 12:00 AM

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EmQuest: technology uncovered

Arabian Travel News meets with EmQuest senior vice president Naz Nizari to talk technology.

EmQuest is the name of a group comprising Galileo by Travelport and a suite of new travel and distribution technology products unveiled by the Emirates Group.

The title combines the familiar "Em" of parent company the Emirates Group, and "Quest", which indicates the continuous pursuit of new and better services for the travel trade.

EmQuest's new products are designed to improve the distribution capability of smaller companies - hotels, airlines, car rental firms and tour operators - while several enhancements have been made to its core business, Galileo by Travelport.

"We are moving from GRS to RDS - the regional distribution system - which is going to include all the vendors and suppliers that are not on the GDS," said EmQuest senior vice president Naz Nizari.

"This is increasingly what our travel agents are looking for; they want a much wider choice today."

Now the technology is out there, the key is to ensure agents and suppliers are aware of what is available and to make sure that they understand how it can make their lives easier, she added.

"Even if you are doing something constructive and useful, if it is not explained properly, it becomes a source of confusion, but agents can now see they don't need so many people managing their paper," Nizari said.

ATN has provided a round up of the new and existing products that EmQuest offers.

Galileo

Galileo by Travelport, the GCC's most widely used GDS system, continues to launch new products to make life easier for travel agents.

Galileo Desktop gives agents real time access to GDS content and instant booking capability, along with back and front office systems to minimise paperwork and print off user friendly booking receipts.

New content includes Galileo Focalpoint Shopping, which provides travel agents with an automated availability search for lowest fares inclusive of taxes, minimising the time agents need to spend on administrative tasks such as working out the tax on a booking.

TravelsouQ

TravelsouQ is essentially an online B2B trading forum whereby regional companies can browse and purchase one another's products online.

EmQuest is pitching it as an online market place where smaller companies that do not use Galileo can display their products and services to achieve wider visibility and greater distribution.

"We want to help our travel agent partners who have a lot of inbound and outbound content, but don't have a way in which they can sell it to a wider audience," Nizari explained.

"So automating it and putting it in a place where other people can pick it up is really of huge benefit to them."

In essence, TravelsouQ allows agencies to specialise in niche products or markets without having to dedicate staff and time to sourcing and contracting products in which they do not wish to specialise.

"They can start having a supplier to supplier or an agency to agency relationship whereby they specialise in one area and the other specialises in something else and they sell to each others' customers, or they allow one another to let their customers buy products from each other," Nizari explained.

"This is the trading platform that we are trying to create on TravelsouQ."

VRS: Videcom Reservation Systems

Videcom Reservation Systems acts as a web portal for low cost carriers and private charter airlines in the region, providing them with a full inventory and fares management solution, ticketless operations, credit card transactions and departure control systems.

EmQuest has partnered with six regional aircraft operators to date, including Saudi Arabian all-business class carrier Al Khayala, but it is currently in talks with three additional carriers.

Pocket flight

Pocket flight is a tool allowing the customers of EmQuest clients to log into the system's real time flight schedule and instantly book flights.

"It gives you access to the full gallery of content so you can check the availability and schedule [of each participating airline] from your PDA," Nizari explained.

EmQuest clients like BCD Travel can register their customers with Pocket Flight and issue them with a login code allowing them to make their own travel bookings without having to call the agency.

Customers are then able to cancel the booking at any time, but they cannot alter bookings or change flight times.

"These are the kind of facilities that help our travel agents win the corporate business from their competitors, " said Nizari.

Insurance

EmQuest has recently partnered with travel insurance providers AIG Travel Guard and International Health Insurance to offer consumers the option to book their travel insurance when they make their booking, giving agents another source of revenue.

Both companies offer a selection of policies ranging from fully comprehensive family travel insurance to the basic insurance required to apply for a Schengen visa.

Value adds

New valued add products for travel agent partners include, BOSS (a Back Office Sales System), and Castaway, which is a document printing application allowing the user to design ticket masks, eliminating the need to handwrite any documents.

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