Airbnb, Uber and other shared economy companies could be incorporated into the GDS in future, if there was demand for it, Travelport has revealed.
Speaking at the Travelport Live 2016 event in Macau, senior Travelport’s executives told Travel Daily that “there is no reason” why Airbnb and Uber couldn’t be distributed via the travel agency channel, although there are no immediate plans to make this happen.
“I don’t see why not; I’m not aware of anything on the roadmap, but there’s no reason why not,” Martin Herbert, Travelport’s general manager for Asia, told us.
“We pull together and aggregate content, so from that point of view we have more than 20 different suppliers in our Rooms & More product… all there within the same interface. There’s no technical reason why an Airbnb product couldn’t go into that.
“We have the technology to bring it in. It’s more about the demand from the agency channel themselves about whether they want to offer that,” he added.
Herbert noted however, that there are “duty-of-care issues” relating to the use of accommodation sharing sites, especially in the corporate travel sector.
“The challenge is around corporate travel policies. But it’s something we’d be completely open to. Watch this space; who knows what might happen. We would not rule it out,” said Kate Aldridge, Travelport’s vice president of global corporate communications.