HRG, the global travel management group, signed a global agreement to use the Travelport Universal API.
The API enables intermediaries to use one connection to tap into suppliers, including low cost carriers and rail providers, which don't distribute through Travelport's GDS core.
In North America, carriers such as Southwest Airlines and Air Canada are making their inventory available to some Travelport-connected agencies through the Travelport Universal API.
As a UK-headquartered travel management company with a network extending to 120 countries, HRG will be looking to use the Travelport Universal API to access low cost carriers and other non-GDS content on a global basis.
HRG says the Travelport Universal API enables HRG to forego having to use multiple API connections to its Super Platform architecture.
"By coding to one single solution instead of multiple APIs, HRG has quickly gained easy access to extensive new content for its customers," says Bill Brindle, HRG's group distribution and technology director. "We can continue to book this additional content in our normal workflow process so it's a win-win situation for both HRG and our customers."
Whether it is truly a win-win for Travelport and HRG, however, will be a question of execution amidst significant technology challenges.
If there are any parallels, Air Canada's move to deliver content through the Travelport Universal API and new desktop took a couple of years of experimentation to fine-tune.
As one industry observer put it, "The extent of Travelport's ability to deliver HRG's vision will now be tested."
Meanwhile, Brindle of HRG says use of Travelport's Universal Desktop is not on the agenda.
"We have no immediate plans to use the Universal Desktop as we have our own point of sale product," Brindle says. "We will, however, use the Universal API to provide content to our own point of sale."
HRG initially will use the Travelport Universal API to access low cost carrier content, Brindle says, "and will/may extend it to other content, as and when viable."