Sterling Technology Group, whose GoCruiseDirect.com Web site will connect cruise lines with travel agencies, has chosen Unisys Corporation as its e-business technology partner.
Cruise lines are one of the fastest growing segments of the leisure industry and has the potential of becoming a $54-$97 billion market over the next five years, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. Most major cruise lines are participating in the Global Distribution System’s leisure booking products, but they are looking to the Internet, with its ability to provide far richer content, as a distribution channel as well.
What GoCruiseDirect.com will do is create a single online cruise marketplace for cruise lines and travel agents. Its Web site will hold direct connections to real-time inventory from multiple cruise lines, and will initially hold 76% of the cabin availability of CLIA member cruise lines. Additional cruise lines are being pursued for participation as well.
GoCruiseDirect will use Unisys [email protected] Distributed Systems Outsourcing Services, which includes servers, network, help desk and technical support. It has an Outsourcing Service Center in Eagan, Minnesota.
GoCruiseDirect.com is developing a number of Web-based systems to provide travel agencies the ability to access availability and book cruises in real-time. “Regardless of what you have heard or read,” the company says, “multiple cruise line availability and booking cannot be handled ‘real-time’ from a single Web site over the Internet today. When we say ‘real-time’, we mean the cabin category availability you see is identical to the availability that a cruise line reservation agent sees ...we mean the pricing you see is identical to the pricing that a cruise line reservation agent sees ...we mean the pricing is travel agency-specific, lowest available fare pricing ... we mean the confirmation number comes directly from the cruise line.”
Unisys is acting as an equipment manager and helping with computer configurations, according to James Bussey, president, GoCruiseDirect.com. It also brings computer power and scalability to the equation—as an equipment provider, it has the hardware that can handle GoCruiseDirect.com’s traffic as it grows.
GoCruiseDirect.com will begin a month-long beta test in July, with eight cruise lines and a select number of travel agencies and then do a full scale launch in August. It will be a Web site that all travel agents can use. It will then gradually launch other, more complicated products, such as plug-ins that agencies can install on their own Web sites.
GoCruiseDirect.com is just now finalizing an agreement with Sabre that will allow it to provide Sabre with an upgrade to Cruise Director, a process that probably will take about 12 months.
About Sterling Technology Group Sterling Technology Group is a multi-discipline provider of technology consulting, development and staffing services to the travel industry, specializing in major projects for the dynamic cruise industry.
It was founded in 1996 and employs 47 professionals. Its headquarters are in Miami Lakes, Florida.
Unisys is an electronic business solutions company with 36,000 employees. It offers a portfolio of Unisys [email protected] Solutions for electronic business based on its expertise in vertical industry solutions, network services, outsourcing, systems integration and multivendor support, coupled with enterprise-class server and related technologies.