Personal Tech Pipeline | Booking Travel Online
Adaptive WAN: Resilent Financial Networks
 Resources and Downloads for Secure Financal Networks
FREE GUIDEBOOK
Adaptive WAN: The No Risk Network Solution
APPLICATION NOTES
Secure Optical Networks For Financial Firms
WHITE PAPER
Adaptive WAN: Enabling Web Services, Networked Remote Storage and Grid Computing
RESOURCE CENTER
Resilent Financial Networks: No Room For Risk

White Papers

Sponsor Resources

WebCasts
Free Newsletter GlossaryContact UsAbout Us
Players & CamsPhones & PDAsHome & AutoOnline

August 24, 2005

Travelers Can Soon Book Trips From Microsoft Outlook



Courtesy of InformationWeek

Travel agents need all the help they can get fending off the competitive threat of online travel sites like Expedia and Travelocity, and next month a startup called Portaga Inc. will add a key weapon to their arsenal. Portaga Travel Manager will let agencies offer travelers a desktop application that lets them book all the elements of a trip from Microsoft Outlook.

A year in development, Portaga is a Web-services platform that uses the Open Travel Alliance's industry-standard XML messaging schema to pull inventory from Sabre Holdings Corp.'s global distribution system. It will later add connections into other distributors, as well as the reservations systems of airlines, hotels, car-rental companies, limousine providers, and restaurants, CEO Rob Kost says. The company, founded in 2000 as Realtime Enterprises, spent its first few years building applications on a contract basis before deciding to attack a wider business need in the travel industry.

Portaga last year built what could be considered a mini-version of its new service for Cendant Corp.'s Avis Rent A Car System Inc. The Book Avis tool is downloaded into Outlook, adding a button to the main toolbar that travelers can click to initiate an Avis booking via an Open Travel Alliance XML link into its reservations system. Like that product, Portaga Travel Manager will automatically integrate travel-booking information into the traveler's calendar, as well as those of any colleagues who need to be alerted. It also will automatically create expense reports related to trips when needed.

Avis has seen enough from the Book Avis tool to know that Portaga Travel Manager is a welcome product in an increasingly complex travel-distribution market. John Turato, VP of technology for Cendant Car Rental Group, says the trend toward building travel-booking interfaces that rely on direct connections into reservation systems is going to accelerate, giving travelers more options in a single interface. Removing the need for travelers to come to the Avis site can only mean more business. "From the supplier point of view, more roads are better," Turato says. "It'll be interesting to see how the suppliers adapt to this new world and develop new distribution strategies."

Portaga's software targets travel agencies that are working with small companies--professional-services firms, for instance--that have a lot of business travelers but don't have formal travel policies. The company will provide the software free of charge to agencies, which will then make it available for download by their customers. Portaga gets paid a piece of the fees associated with each booking. The product will soon integrate with other desktop information tools, such as Lotus Notes and Microsoft Word, and will also support additional platforms such as PDAs and cell phones, Kost says. Once a user clicks on the Portaga button, a blank itinerary opens, with icons on the side representing airfares, hotels, and car rentals. Users simply drag one of those icons and drop it into the blank area, triggering a window asking for desired times and dates, and the app then retrieves options based on those parameters.

Kost believes the technology will benefit travel agencies in a number of ways. It should tempt business travelers away from the online travel sites they normally use to book travel, none of which provide the kind of travel aggregation and desktop integration Portaga says it can offer. It also will let agencies serve those customers without devoting the phone time it typically takes to book an agent-assisted trip. Best of all for the agencies, it allows them to retain their commissions, which suppliers will continue to pay for each booking. "The travel agents still have a place in the industry," Turato says. "Not everyone wants to interface with us through the Internet."

E-mail This Story
Print This Story
Reprint This Story




More Information


Get the latest Personal Tech news, product info, and trends every week.


Related Content

  Right-click and choose Copy to extract RSS Feed URL  Personal Tech Pipeline's Main RSS Feed
  Right-click and choose Copy to extract RSS Feed URL  Personal Tech Pipeline's Blog RSS Feed



Keeping Up To Date On Enterprise Server Tech?
Review our compilation of columns on server security, database software, and Linux issues.
Unleash the Power & Opportunity of Grid Computing
Experts will identify trends in grid computing, provide
examples and examine solution options.
Using Current Performance to Shape
Future Results

Hear new strategies for improving business
performance and results.

<A HREF="http://as.cmpnet.com/event.ng/Type=click&amp;FlightID=48963&amp;AdID=81851&amp;TargetID=347&amp;Segments=118,902,1411,3108,3448,4763,5080&amp;Targets=347,2625,2878,4234&amp;Values=34,46,51,63,77,85,90,100,140,205,222,227,442,645,646,659,1184,1311,1405,1431,1716,1767,1785,1798,1901,1925,1935,1936,1945,1970,2217,2299,2310,2329,2352,2678,2767,2787,2862,2878,2942,2956,3240,3347,3385&amp;RawValues=&amp;Redirect=http://www.thesmbadvantage.com" target="_top"><IMG SRC="http://i.cmpnet.com/ads/graphics/as5/ht/custom/HewlettPackard/WW/hsw_5011_CMP_125x125.gif" WIDTH=125 HEIGHT=125 BORDER=0></A>
Editor's Picks

Well, Microsoft has "unfolded" its "Origami" ultra-mobile PC platform Thursday. It turned out to be a full-featured PC smaller than a tablet but bigger than a PDA. Are you impressed?
Yes! I want one!
Sort of. We'll see.
No! It's too big for a pocket and too small for real computing. What's the point?


In search of personal tech products? See our new Product Finder, where you'll find personal computing devices, communications solutions, security products, and more.



PERSONAL TECH PIPELINE MARKETPLACE (sponsored links)
On the CIO Agenda with IBM
With business growth back on the agenda, the role of the CIO is changing from manager of technology to C-suite collaborator in enabling innovation that matters for the business. Read an executive summary and register to download the full IBM paper.

Symantec Backup Solutions
Desktop to Data Center Protection. Explore the Official Symantec Site.

Block or Secure IM Use
IM threats up 250%. Protect your corporate network. Free Download.

Secure & Easy Console Management with Digi CM
The Digi CM console server provides secure, intelligent & easy access to network devices with a serial console port. With Digi CM, you can securely monitor & control servers, routers, switches & other devices even when your network is down.

Understand the financial impact of open source.
Will open source pay off? Open source is becoming standard within enterprises, often because of cost savings. Find out how much of a financial impact it can have on your organization. Get this methodology and calculator now, compliments of JBoss. Go!


Buy a Link Now


Top ten search terms from the TechWeb TechEncyclopedia
How does your pay rate? Check the InformationWeek Salary Survey
Mobilized Solutions Guide: Find and compare solutions for your business
Top Requested White Paper Categories from TechWeb White paper Library
Top ten search terms from the TechWeb TechEncyclopedia