Air Transport World

Package deal; dynamic packaging appears to offer something to everybody: one-stop shopping for consumers, opaque pricing for suppliers; but the concept still is evolving and hurdles remain. (IT-Distribution).

Dynamic packaging--creation of multielement trips online in real time and within a central record-is expected to become a significant factor in online distribution. Proponents say such an approach solves several problems at once: consumers' and distributors' desire to search far, compare and customize trip components seamlessly; suppliers' desire to reduce use of loss-making leisure fares by using more opaque pricing, and distributors' preference for more freedom to price products and services.

However, the concept still is evolving and developers are pursuing different courses. Al Toll, president and CEO of Planet Earth Exploration and a veteran in the field, says, "Many providers label their systems as dynamic packaging when they are simply linking dedicated, pre-priced inventory. But to maximize effectiveness, software must access all travel components in real time in concert with current revenue management/pricing rules. That equals looking at inventory and its value to the supplier with each request and returning the choices to the consumer. If properly implemented, it should provide the ability to compare prices on the dates desired and the best choices at the time of booking, maximum revenue and very low distribution costs."

While Toll and others have concentrated on applying the concept primarily to leisure sales, distribution experts anticipate independent business travelers and even corporate travel managers will use the tool, although not before important gaps are filled. …

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