Virgin “first of many” for Travelport

Hannah Edensor

Travelport has revealed to Travel Weekly that they’ve got a few more airlines in their sights, following Virgin’s sign up with the company.

The Aussie carrier has sealed the deal on an agreement for global distribution, enhanced with Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding solution, and according to Travelport’s vice president, Asia Pacific and global sales strategy, air commerce, Damian Hickey, they are hopeful other Pacific carriers “will follow suit.”

“Virgin Australia is the first major Pacific carrier to participate in our Rich Content and Branding solution,” Hickey told Travel Weekly, adding that when it comes to other big airlines in the region, no major player is off limits.

“We’re actively engaged in talks with all of them at this time, and hope to see more joining in the future.”

As a result of this marriage, Virgin Australia will now be able to market and retail its products more effectively by determining how their products are visually presented and described to travel agents.

It is designed to allow airlines to use more sophisticated retailing techniques in order to drive sales of core fares as well as ancillary products and optional services such as seats with extra legroom and lounge passes.

Virgin Australia is currently gearing up to launch new Business Class suites on its A330 aircraft, which fly between Perth and the East Coast of Australia, along with its B777 aircraft, which fly from Australia to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi.

The Premium Economy cabin on the airline’s B777 aircraft will also undergo a major redesign, and Travelport’s solution is designed to help Virgin establish its name as a major player for business travellers.

Hickey told Travel Weekly that its product was a unique one that has evolved over the last three years, the same way Virgin itself has also rebranded and refreshed itself.

“We’re not just putting products on the shelf, but we’re actually helping agents sell it.”

“We get information onto the desktop of every agent without the need for a global sales strategy,” he added, saying the match came down to how Travelport “suits the model” of Virgin.

Hickey told Travel Weekly this is clearly what Virgin has seen in Travelport and its Rich Content and Branding solution, and that hopes are high for others to follow suit.

Virgin Australia’s chief commercial officer Judith Crompton said the airline is excited to extend its marketing reach through Travelport.

“Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding solution will enable us to share details of exciting products and services such as our new Business Class suite with travel agents around Australia and worldwide,” she said.