The Business Travel Coalition has disputed British Airways’ sales chief Richard Tams’ claims that the current travel distribution system model is broken.
BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell was responding to Tams’ comments made at the Guild of Travel Management Companies’ overseas conference in Abi Dhabi and reported by Travel Weekly.
Tams, the airline’s head of UK and Ireland sales, described global distribution systems (GDSs) as “gatekeepers” and the current model as “broken”.
But Mitchell said: “Of course, this has become almost fashionable to say, and in some circles, a litmus test of one’s presumed travel technology sophistication.
“However, saying the distribution model is broken actually accentuates a certain benightedness with respect to the value of the GDS-centric distribution model.
“An overwhelming majority of managed travel community participants keenly understand the huge value that the current distribution model generates.
“Thousands of suppliers with billions of prices and schedule options provide their offerings, in disparate data formats, through the ‘front doors’ of the GDSs,” added Mitchell.
“Normalised, comparative display feeds flow out the ‘back doors’ to TMCs and travel agencies around the world that service billions of consumers. This is all accomplished day in and day out with barely a hiccup.”
And Mitchell argued that BA arguably derives more value from GDSs and TMC distribution than any other airline in the world.
“BA’s easy availability and strong participation in GDSs gives it a decided advantage in securing a premium share of corporations’ high yield business,” said Mitchell. “Broken? I don’t think so.”
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