ArabianTravel News talks to Triton Distribution CEO Gregory Lykiardopoulos about the future direction of global distribution strategies and adapting to a changing marketplace.
What products does Triton Distribution offer and how do you differ from other GDS providers?
Triton is a Colorado-based company that has been in business since January 2006.
Travel agents here are not prepared to charge the customers any fees — they need to find another solution.
Basically it's a global distribution company, but not in the sense of Galileo, Sabre and Amadeus, which are more focused on distributing airline inventory.
Flights are one of the elements we distribute, but we offer many other products; hotels, motels, B&Bs, theatre tickets, yachts, ferries, and trains - you name it - we distribute anything to do with the travel, transportation or hospitality industries.
Who are your customers?
We distribute on an exclusively B2B basis. We don't have any inclination in our business plan to go B2C yet.
We are also creating a dynamic capability for agencies, enabling them to perform dynamic packaging.
Instead of the travel agent searching the internet trying to figure out what he can include, he can get into [Triton] and actually find a one-stop-shop where he can put together anything that he wants.
How do you work with your vendors?
We have two ways to accommodate vendors.
If they are sophisticated and have the technical capability to access their database, we can do that on direct connect and get inventory from them and distribute it worldwide.
If they don't have that capability, we give them another facility; a data warehouse.
They can go in there and install and manage their inventory themselves.
On that basis, with very little money, these people can actually access the global market.
What are the benefits of the Global Gateways you can offer?
We take a region and we develop an online gateway to it. Every single travel agent in the world can go to that gateway and get all of the information they need in one place.
We can create an interactive capability for them to book in that gateway.
In some cases the travel agent has to go into 10 different websites to get all the information they require to package something together, which wastes so much time.
We will give them the ability to do it seamlessly. We are going to build a gateway for the Middle East, as well as one for North Africa.
How user-friendly is the system?
The core of the system can accommodate a multitude of databases that it accesses, but as far as the user is concerned, there is only one user interface (UI).
They do not have to get out of that UI in any way. The user can stay in there and it will walk them through all these destinations and even build the PNR for them.
They don't have to wait for a tour operator to follow up, which saves them time and their customers money, because a tour operator would charge them for additional services.
Due to savings made the agent can either mark up their price [by adding a service fee] or pass that saving onto the customer.
Has there been much interest in Triton from the Middle East market?
We have signed [numerous] travel agencies in the Middle East who have realised the power of the system and how helpful it is going to be for them.
Right now they all have these green screens - they thought they already had the best technology, but the world doesn't stop evolving and looking to the future. The growth of the Middle East's travel industry looks set to accelerate further.
What feedback have you had from Middle East-based agents?
I spoke to several agents who said the reason they don't use the GDS, except for air tickets, is because the content they are looking for is not on the GDS.
When they see what they can do [with Triton], they realise this is where they can make money - the ticket is not where they make money any more.
The wave has already hit the UK and the US - most airlines have cut their commissions - that wave is now coming here. When they realise what is happening and suddenly one of the carriers stops paying commission, what happens?
How are they going to make money? Travel agents here are not prepared to charge the customers any fees - they need to find another solution and that is the leisure sector.
We have never asked them to eliminate the GDS, but invited them to run us alongside the GDS so they can see what the difference is.
They accept it because they see they have to diversify.
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