Galileo will streamline its corporate online market offerings from two products to one.Galileo will offer one product under the Highwire brandname before April.
Since acquiring Seattle-based Highwire last fall, Galileo has been promoting Highwire`s online booking tool, Travelport, and its own product, Corporate Travelpoint 2.0. Now Galileo will offer one product under the Highwire brand name by the end of March.
“This approach makes the most sense because it allows us to bring more features and functionality to the market more quickly,” said Marka Jenkins, chief executive officer of Highwire.
John Hach, Galileo`s vice president of corporate and consumer sales, said Galileo decided to combine key functionality from Corporate Travelpoint 2.0 with that of Travelport. “Merging functionality was relatively uncomplicated”, said Hach, “because both products are built on the same technology platform, Galileo`s XML Select, and both use Galileo`s CRS”.
Hach added that “existing customers of either product can upgrade to the new Highwire product seamlessly and without any extra charges”.
The most significant change with the technology merge is that Highwire customers now have the option of using Quick-Step Wizard, a feature developed by Galileo for Corporate Travelpoint 2.0.
Travelers using the Quick-Step Wizard to book a trip receive a “best-fit” itinerary based on the company`s travel policy, its preferred suppliers and the traveler`s preferences.
Hach said “Quick-Step Wizard enables companies to keep a tighter rein on their traveling employees”.However, he pointed out that some companies want to allow travelers more freedom and more choices. Travelport offered more of a shopping atmosphere for travelers, and that option still will be available with the new, combined product,
Other than the presence of Quick-Step Wizard in Corporate Travelpoint 2.0, Jenkins said the two products were so similar that it didn`t make sense for Galileo to continue selling both.
“At the end of the day, it was difficult for customers to tell any major differences between the two,” said Jenkins.
Hach and Jenkins said a factor in choosing the Highwire brand for the new booking tool was the fact that Highwire has existed in the marketplace for a longer period of time than Corporate Travelpoint 2.0.
Galileo introduced its booking tool at the National Business Travel Association convention and trade show in July 2001. “Galileo`s first clients were IBM and Visa, two companies that intend to retain Galileo as its online booking vendor”, Hach said.
By the end of second quarter 2002, Jenkins said Galileo will make Highwire`s booking engine compatible with all four CRSs.
GetThere, TRX and e-Travel, competitors in the online corporate market, already sell booking engines that are compatible with all CRSs.
Galileo also revealed its intention to purchase Highwire during the NBTA convention. At that time, Galileo was in the process of being purchased by Cendant Corp. Galileo now is a subsidiary of the Parsippany, N.J.-based company.