Following their recent take over by Cendant, Galileo International have increased their UK market share and re-directed their focus towards developing new benefits for agents that allow them to maximise profits. I went to meet Pat Minogue, General Manager, UK - Galileo International to discuss Galileoå‘s current direction.
currently controls 60% of the UK market with a 70% share on business travellers and 50% on leisure. I asked Pat how this figure compared to last year, at which point, it was reported that Galileo’s market share was eroding, Pat commented: “We have gained some share over the last year. In the past, our share dipped gradually down to about 57%, but it has started to work back up again this year.
As well as an increase in their market share, several major travel agents have resigned with Galileo this year and Pat Minogue
tells me he is very happy with what they are doing.
I asked Pat what Galileo’s goals concerning its UK market share were, to which he responded: “We don’t have any goals in terms of market share. Our goals are very much focused towards generating additional revenue and contribution of the UK market as well as maximising the lifetime value of the customers”. He added, “Our whole approach is to grow the booking capabilities of our system, grow the number of solutions that we offer to our customers and to grow revenue - then the market share will grow as an output”.
Pat informed me that Galileo are striving to provide travel agents with greater booking capability and greater booking content than they have access to at the moment, offering solutions such as Viewpoint and e-Agent that have been developed specifically to meet those requirements.
I asked Pat what advice he would offer travel agents in this challenging environment, in order to retain customers, or to gain new clients. Emphasising the importance of customer needs, he commented: “I would advise travel agents to listen to their customers and create a USP for themselves by providing a service that is valued by their customers”.
Citing Galileo’s booking tool, SpecialAgent Pat commented “the Galileo booking tool will allow the corporate to make a booking unless it is a more complex booking where the travel agents adds value, then the booking is made in a travel agents environment”. He added, “The technology is there to help agents move away from that traditional way of doing business, where practically everything has to be done by the travel agent”.
Pat argued, “I think that from a travel agents point of view, they are becoming more consultants than agents as such. In order to grow and to become more efficient, they must utilise the technology that is available and root out wasted costs from the industry.
Pat encourages travel agents to consider recent survey results from America comparing trips that have been booked by customers themselves, or by an agent. Findings of which, all indicate, that the agent finds the best deals available.
So what competitive advantages does Galileo actually offer travel agents that other GDS’s don’t? According to Pat, the richness of Galileo’s solution is the first and key element. He comments, “Galileo’s viewpoint is more customised and capable of being redesigned to meet specific requirements of each agent”. Pat emphasises the importance of developing solutions that allows each agent to utilise the system in order to meet their own specific requirements.
He also tells me that Galileo are improving their content and introducing new services, for example ferries. Travel agents can now access all of their data efficiently.