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Let’s shape the future of travel

“Things were quiet for a while regarding Pyton’s tourism-oriented Central Reservation System (CRS), acquired by Amadeus in 2015. Since then, Amadeus has invested heavily in the product. A relaunch was planned. Finally, on October 1, the reintroduction took place. At the same time, the name Pyton disappeared from the CRS product”, says René Schukkink, commercial director retail of Amadeus in Benelux & Pyton Travel Technology and Hubert van Velden, manager retail/tour operators with Amadeus.

Let’s take a step back. Pyton became very well known as a tourism CRS through which travel agents could book a wide variety of products. The offering for Dutch and foreign tour operators went hand in hand with a wide offering of leisure airlines. With Pyton’s help, travel agents could put together complete package trips themselves.

Pyton Leisure Travel, powered by Amadeus

In September 2015, Pyton was taken over by Amadeus.

With this acquisition, Amadeus saw an opportunity to strengthen its position in the leisure segment of the Dutch market. Since then, the tourism CRS has traded under the name ‘Pyton Leisure Portal, powered by Amadeus’.

“Pyton was a good complement for our leisure market,” says Schukkink. “Since then, we’ve invested a lot and rebuilt nearly everything to meet the demands of the market.”

Amadeus has invested in a new API (Application Programming Interface), a digital power strip enabling computer programs to communicate with one another. “Now, we have a large offering but the system is also fast and accurate. That’s very important when you have a large offering at your disposal and users want quick results from their searches,” says Hubert van Velden. His team is the point of contact for the travel branch in the Benelux. “We’re now at a point where we can take the next big step.”

Amadeus Leisure Platform

That big leap forward is the launch of a new version of the Pyton Leisure Portal, coinciding with the disappearance of the name. Pyton is integrated with other Amadeus packaging and distribution systems into the Amadeus Travel Platform. The new name: Amadeus Leisure Platform.

“The whole reason for bringing them together under the Amadeus flag is that we want to develop it on a worldwide platform,” says Schukkink. “At the moment, this platform already consists of leading leisure package platforms in Germany and Spain. By adding Pyton, this worldwide platform will be strengthened globally. We’ve invested a lot to produce something improved for the market.

And now we’re ready to roll it out.

Huge market demand 

When asked what the market needs, van Velden replied, “It needs simplified access to relevant content, dynamic inventories, and powerful distribution technology. By the way, when we say market, we mean more than just tour operators. We will focus on retail agents that put trips together, and both bricks-and-mortar travel agencies and online players. As an example: the major tour operators want to be able to enforce their omnichannel strategy, especially if it comes to their unique, differentiated inventory. That means that their hotels or concepts must be easily available to retail through Amadeus. Nowadays, we can meet these demands. If tour operators have a TUI-like model, with accommodations in the A, B and C categories, then the agent can differentiate through the search function settings, supporting the bilateral agreement with the tour operator.”

Foreign players in particular, generally German tour operators that seek profit in the Dutch market, can benefit from these technical improvements. The new connection (API) of Amadeus Leisure Platform can be linked with the German source. That means that the “search and book” system works in a way that Dutch consumers and travel agents are used to. 

What’s the main difference with the German market?

“The German market is still rather traditional, with strongly-positioned travel agencies. A German tour operator’s booking module is arranged rather classically, whereas in The Netherlands it’s geared more to inspire. In Germany, there’s more up-selling, offering comfort class flights or room upgrades for example. In the German market, an enormous volume of data is processed, which we have given a Dutch face” said van Velden. 

Schukkink adds: “The Netherlands has an enormous B2C-market. Customers already do a lot of online searching. To show your added value as a travel agent, you have to be able to do the same and preferably a bit more. A travel adviser’s added value is not just in technology, but also in offering inspiration. This is so much easier whenever you possess a variety of content sources. And we can offer that variety. In Germany, the B2C-model hasn’t reached that level. The agent has technology that the consumer doesn’t have. Besides, via our system, Dutch tour operators can offer their content more easily in other markets.”

More flexibility 

“Amadeus has not only invested in the quantitative offering but also the quality of its functionalities”, says van Velden. “We’ve replaced the engine because consumers want speed and search results from thousands of sources at the same time. But it’s also about quality and an offering that’s relevant for the Dutch market. The destinations offered by German tour operators are in many cases the same, but it makes no sense to offer departures from Berlin in the Netherlands. So, the offering is geared to departures from Dutch airports or airports in Germany, but close to the border.”

“Thanks to advancements in technology, package tours are once again on the rise”, says van Velden. “We used to have the fixed package tour (with a set flight and set hotel) but it has now become more flexible. Take-off times & departure airports are more flexible, and you can add all kinds of transfers. Retail players can improve their margins on these packages. What’s more, consumers, who compare the price of separate flights and hotels, will find it more difficult to uncover the relevant content and pricing for a composite package. And packages from the German market also perform quite well in the Netherlands.”

One-stop-shop

Schukkink: “In fact, Amadeus is a travel seller’s one-stop-shop. We cover package tours, separate content and new connections via NDC, through which extras can be booked with airline companies. And moreover, travel agents visit Google Maps to check the location of their hotel. Also, they check the hotel’s website for room type photos and visit airline.com for ancillaries. We are integrating all these functionalities. The same goes for automatic payments, to which strict legislation applies. All this requires enormous investment, beyond the capabilities of local players.”

“The agent can book all leisure-related products via our new platform. If something’s missing in the market, we can consult and see how we can bridge the gap”, adds van Velden. 

“The first step is to roll out the new name, Amadeus Leisure Platform, together with the integration within Amadeus Travel Platform”, concludes Schukkink.

 

This article was written by  Theo de Reus – TravMagazine.

René Schukkink

Hubert van Velden

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