Travelport is the latest travel technology company to create a platform similar to the Apple iTunes appstore so agency customers can download products and services.
Travelport Marketplace is due to be launched in beta next week and will feature applications developed both in-house and from members of its Developer Network.
The move comes two years after the original launch of the Developer Network as a way of bringing together startups and third parties to build tools and functionality which can be bolted on to existing technology within Travelport.
The Marketplace will allow Travelport's agency customers to select from a number of products (initially around 20 will be on offer, with plans to add more regularly) such as the service created by Cabforce to allow customers to book ground transport through the GDS, Travelport's own Mobile Agent platform and tools from Mantic Point and Navitas.
The popular Agentivity productivity platform developed by UK-based Inside Group is one service likely to be added to the Marketplace in the coming months.
Around 67,000 agencies worldwide will eventually have access to the Marketplace following its commercial launch in 2014.
Travelport's product director for developer tools, Phil Donathy, says the evolution of agency IT generally means there is a move away from "mass market product" of services to "individualisation", so customers can select tools based on their own requirements rather than complete systems.
The software development kit for developers currently available for Universal Desktop has also be extended to and is being tested with the Smartpoint platform, he adds.
The financial model for agencies, Travelport and developers will vary depending on the service being downloaded, Donathy says.
Some apps, such as the Cabforce product, are free to download and then agencies enter into a revenue share agreement based on volume of use.
Other tools aimed more at productivity and enhancing agent systems are likely to be paid-for services, with a mixture of reseller or referral fees set up for Travelport and the third party which created the product.
The app or product marketplace concept has become an interesting and important development in the travel industry over recent years.
Amadeus launched its Partner Network in early-2011, Sabre's Red App Center came on-stream in September 2011 and Concur's effort launched in April this year.
The Red App Center has around 145 tools available for agencies (although initially the vast majority were developed in-house) and Concur's platform features nearly 40 products.
NB:App marketplace image via Shutterstock.