Later this year, Farelogix will integrate FLX Merchandise, a tool airlines use to create dynamic offers, with the Routehappy Hub content management tool built by Routehappy, the companies said today.
Farelogix, a Miami-based travel technology company with 135 employees, and Routehappy, a New York City-based startup with 15 employees, will continue to sell their own products separately. But the integration will be available if airlines want it, and the companies say they were prompted to offer the integration because several mutual customers had requested it.
Many airlines, including United, use Farelogix's engine to create bundled products, fare families, and post-ticketing ancillaries. And many, including United, use Routehappy's Hub to manage their content.
Farelogix CEO Jim Davidson told Tnooz airlines are starting to get comfortable with creating various merchandizing offers in the past few years at a more granular level. "Now they want to compete from an engagement-with-the-customer point-of-view and show off, in a non-commoditized way, like a true retailer, each product. They want to show a picture of business-class seat on a particular flight on a particular aircraft."
"The comparison is with retailers," he said. "When you buy a sweater, you don’t say, this image of the product may be a representative example of the sweater you’re buying. So airlines want to show the image of a relevant flight. For a business-class ticket, the seat details should be exactly as what's on the aircraft a passenger is considering flying. For a morning flight, the image of the business person in the seat should be of someone eating breakfast, not someone eating dinner."
Routehappy is providing a platform for airlines to manage and distribute their own unique product content in a standardized format that's targeted down to individual flights or routes. This product doesn't include Routehappy's own scores and amenities data, which it originally became known for among consumers. Either the airline provides all of the content or hires Routehappy to fill any gaps.
Routehappy's CEO Robert Albert said that airlines can predict with about 95% accuracy that the aircraft they describe at the time of reservation will be the metal that a passenger actually flies. For the approximately 5% of the time when airlines need to swap out planes at the last-minute, they usually use another plane within the same sub-fleet, so the basic amenities and seat map are comparable.
Albert said he expects some client airlines will work toward providing rich content for every flight and every fare. The challenge is that product content is dispersed within airline systems, with multiple gatekeepers.
The only central repository is a digital asset management system used by an e-commerce department. Routehappy's Hub takes the disparate content and standardizes it so that gaps and inconsistencies can be identified and fixed.