Galileo expands globally with new international deals

Galileo International has its eye on the worldwide market, and with recent expansions into new markets and global deals the Rosemont, Ill.-based GDS seeks to strengthen its position as a global player against Amadeus and Sabre, the top international GDS companies.
In major move in the European market, Galileo last week strengthened a strategic relationship with Travelprice.com, a European online travel site that includes a minority equity investment. In addition, the GDS enhanced a current relationship with Asian travel portal, Asiatravelmart.com and extended a contract with UK tour operator Cyplon Holidays. In the U.S., it now powers Biztravel.com, which had been using Worldspan.
Under its new agreement with Travelprice.com, Galileo will not only provide the European site with access to the inventory of more than 500 airlines, 47,000 hotel properties and 37 car rental companies, but it also will give Travelprice.com access to many service offerings of Galileo including technology component licensing, managed hosting services and Internet protocol (IP) services through its enterprise networking subsidiary, Quantitude, Inc.
In addition, Travelprice.com can leverage marketing and content offerings currently available through Galileo’s subsidiary, TRIP.com.
In return, Galileo can make available to its travel agencies worldwide some of Travelprice.com’s unique leisure content and services via its Web portal, Galileo e-Agent, available on Viewpoint, Galileo’s graphical user interface booking solution, and through its travel agency Internet portal, TravelGalileo.com. This arrangement should enable Galileo to substantially increase the range of content available to its travel agencies and greatly expand the marketing reach of Travelprice.com on a global scale. In addition to the technology and marketing agreement, Galileo has made a strategic, minority investment in Travelprice.com. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
“Galileo believes in leveraging successful, local businesses, solidifying our position as a global market maker with a local touch,” said David Near, Galileo’s senior vice president, Internet and e-commerce. “Travelprice.com, with its local language, product and service expertise, is now even better positioned to be successful in the European e-commerce marketplace, enhancing Galileo’s points-of-presence strategy and share of this growing Internet market.”
Travelprice.com is a full-service Web site, which targets leisure and unmanaged business travel, and has a presence in six European countries (France, Germany, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and Belgium) as well as Canada. Since its launch in 1999, Travelprice.com has averaged one million site ‘hits’ per month. It recently added a B2B component to its service offerings that accounts for 15 percent of its revenue. Travelprice.com reported revenues of $32 million last year.
“This investment in Travelprice.com will provide powerful long-term advantages for both parties and the European travel industry as a whole, ” said Roland Coutas, chief executive officer of Travelprice.com. “With Galileo’s superior technological system and product offerings, Travelprice.com will be able to better serve its customers, while at the same time we will provide rich travel content to Galileo’s travel agencies around the world.”
Galileo also strengthened its relationship with Kuala Lumpur-based Asiatravelmart.com. Utilizing Galileo’s XML Select for its Internet booking engine Asiatravelmart.com now can offer its customers a wider range of airfares with real-time access to rates and availability information from the extensive air inventory contained in Galileo’s system.
“XML Select will allow us to further extend our global competitive edge,” said Alex Kong, chairman and CEO of Asiatravelmart.com. “This will greatly enhance our existing negotiated airfares uploaded by a number of airline consolidators into Asiatravelmart.com’s private fare engine, allowing our customers to depart to more than 200 countries from the existing three departure countries.” In the U.K., Galileo signed a new three-year agreement with Cyplon Holidays, an independent tour operator for holidays to the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus, extending a ten-year relationship between the companies.
Cyplon will take advantage of Galileo’s technology enhancements to connect to the Galileo CRS through Galileo`s Focalpoint 3.5 workstation software. Along with Focalpoint 3.5, which utilizes full TCP/IP connections, Cyplon travel agents now also have access to Galileo’s application protocol interface (API) product, Inside Access, providing faster response times in the delivery of travel information. “With the technology landscape for the travel industry changing on a daily basis, it is important to work with a company that is a leader in that change,” said Tasos Anastasi, sales director of Cyplon Holidays. “Galileo has always provided us with superior customer support, technology solutions and enhancements, and we look forward to continuing our successful relationship as we embrace the technology our customers want to use today.”
Cyplon, based in North London, also has a business travel section and a wholesale department known as Seatfinders, a leading consolidator for more than 23 well-known airlines throughout the world. Cyplon’s business travel section has built up over the last 30 years a portfolio of blue chip companies and local businesses, to which Cyplon provides business travel account services.
On the home front, Galileo has strengthened its relationship Rosenbluth Interactive to become the exclusive GDS behind Biztravel.com. Under terms of the five-year agreement, Galileo is providing the biztravel.com site with real-time connectivity to Galileo’s inventory, availability, pricing and booking functionality.
Galileo’s technology applications allow Biztravrel.com to use a single database for both corporate and leisure negotiated air, car and hotel rates. The site also will utilize technology developed under Galileo’s XML Select application. This will provide biztravel.com‘s customers with faster response times and the ability to access more robust travel applications.
“We chose Galileo as the exclusive GDS behind biztravel.com so we can continue to offer cutting-edge technology applications and fast response times that our customers expect from us as we further expand internationally,” said Neal Bibeau, president, Rosenbluth Interactive. “During our long relationship with Galileo, they have repeatedly provided advanced Internet travel solutions coupled with superior global customer service.”
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