Travel agents have overwhelmingly called for the return of old search and booking technology Viewdata in a poll on social media.
The surprise result in favour of the traditional ‘green screens’ comes despite major advances in technology, which have seen most suppliers switch off legacy systems to adopt web-based booking systems.
The Facebook poll, set up by Vertical Systems managing director Chris North on agent forum page Travel Gossip, asked: “Does the travel industry want tour operators back on Viewdata? Vertical Systems can make it happen! #Bringbackviewdata”
In total, 709 people responded to the poll, with 587 saying they would like the old technology to return. Travel industry technology provider Vertical Systems owns the Viewdata system.
North, who created the survey after being told by an agent how much they missed the legacy technology traditionally used by all agents to search and book holidays, said: “I was quite surprised by this poll result, I only did it as a bit of fun.
“Some operators are still on Viewdata but most aren’t. Viewdata is old technology but I wanted to see if there was still an appetite for it in the industry.
“My consensus is that agents want it but operators don’t. I get the impression agents are fed up with having to log into different operators’ systems to search for holidays.”
He added: “Viewdata was a lifeline for many businesses so if operators are interested we could start the discussion to get them back on Viewdata.”
The result may not be a complete surprise, however, as new technology has failed to replicate Viewdata’s “any date, any destination” search, said North. This allowed agents to search any available date and destination across tour operators’ product ranges.
Agents could then give clients an idea of what was available and an approximate price to help initiate the sale process.
North said the ‘any, any search’ remained a “utopia” for agents.
“Most operators don’t allow an any, any search, you have to choose a departure airport or destination. There is still a need in the agent community to be able to do that. We are working on that,” he said.
The new system, currently in development, would give agents the opportunity to search numerous operators’ product and availability at the same time by deep-linking into their systems via a desktop application to retrieve the relevant information.
What do you think? Do you want to see Viewdata come back? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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