When it comes to business travel, Sabre's TripCase appears relatively agnostic about global distribution systems.
But, for leisure-travel consumers, it's got a much longer way to go.
TripCase's multi-GDS approach for business travel became apparent when it announced it will offer its mobile-messaging and itinerary-management services to corporations through sister company GetThere, starting in the third quarter.
From its early days, GetThere, a corporate-self booking tool, has used all of the major GDSs. GetThere's footprint extends to 79 countries and it is used by most of the 100 largest corporate-travel programs in the U.S.
At rollout in the third quarter, GetThere Mobile Powered by TripCase, as it is branded, will automatically sync bookings with TripCase when the traveler's corporation uses the Sabre GDS. If a traveler downloads TripCase and makes a booking through the Travelport Galileo, Apollo or Worldspan, or Amadeus GDSs, then there is no automatic sync and the traveler can forward their itineraries to TripCase.
But, TripCase and GetThere teams are working on PNR synchronization tools so an Amadeus or Travelport booking would likewise automatically be consolidated into a TripCase itinerary, the companies say.
They hope to have this multi-GDS PNR synchronization in place before the end of the year.
So, why isn't this capability in place already?
Is it a matter of getting the other GDSs to sign on to the arrangement?
Not really, says Michael O'Connell, director of business development at TripCase, because GetThere has always been a multi-GDS solution.
"This is not a question of agreements with other GDSs," O'Connell says. "It is more of an allocation of resources and time for development and testing to ensure a seamless experience for travelers."
Although corporations, with their far-flung operations, likely demand this kind of multi-GDS approach, it remains to be seen whether Sabre, which offers its own GDS, will take the same approach with leisure travelers who use TripCase.
For now, if a leisure traveler uses TripCase and books a trip on Sabre's Travelocity or any other company tied to the Sabre GDS, the booking gets automatically loaded into the user's TripCase itinerary.
However, bookings made through Orbitz, which uses Worldspan and Apollo, don't get automatically synched up. Consumers booking on Orbitz and other travel agencies not using the Sabre GDS, have to manually forward their itineraries to TripCase for inclusion.
I suspect that Sabre is not as amenable to leveling the GDS playing field at this juncture for leisure travelers as it is for GetThere's corporate clients, who demand multi-GDS functionality.
When GetThere Mobile is introduced in the third quarter, business travelers will get the now-standard itinerary views and flight notifications.
Travel managers also will be able to send a message to all of their employees in a particular city in case of an emergency or other time-sensitive event.
The GetThere and TripCase teams are said also to be working on booking capabilities that adhere to corporate travel policies.
Such hotel-booking capability is slated to be in place by the end of 2010, and air and car booking is on the agenda for 2011, the companies say.