Skift Take

Ever since selling Locomote, its previous corporate booking tool, Travelport was left with a gap. Now with new types of content coming soon to the U.S., courtesy of American Airlines and its New Distribution Capability push, Deem fills the void.

Travelport has regained its own corporate booking tool, after buying Deem from private car rental company Enterprise Holdings.

Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

It helps bring the global tech company into line with competitors Amadeus and Sabre, which each have their own corporate booking tools, namely Cytric and GetThere.

Travelport used to have its own, Locomote, but sold it off in 2019.

New CEO Greg Webb must have had a change of heart, but he denies it’s a replacement.

“I look at it more as a fundamental change in how we’re addressing the needs of the corporate travel landscape,” he said. “Certainly we haven’t really had a true online booking tool as part of the portfolio, and really for a period of time hadn’t seen a need. However, as we’ve accelerated out of the pandemic, we’ve seen that agents are looking for an end-to-end solution that allows for a deep integration of things like New Distribution Capability content.

Deem will be integrated into Travelport+, a platform the company has spent the last 18 months growing and investing in. More than 80 percent of Travelport’s travel agent customers are now using that platform, and the rest are expected to transition in the next 12 to 18 months.

Webb said Deem was viewed as the most modern and efficient online corporate booking tool. “We’ve already had this huge push to get modern with Travelport+, and this just allows us to layer on top of that, all the way to the end consumer in corporate travel,” he said.

The American Airlines Connection

American Airlines has got the industry rattled. Some travel agencies are concerned at how its fares are being removed from the global distribution systems. Platforms like Deem are designed to pull in newer, richer content from a range of sources, so offering it to its agency customers, who in turn offer it their corporate clients, could win Travelport a lot of new fans.

Webb said the timing didn’t have anything to do with American Airlines decision to move out 40 percent from the global distributions’ traditional channels.

“We’ve had American Airlines live on Travelport+ since 2022,” Webb said. “We haven’t been terribly concerned about American Airlines going live with their NDC plan. But we will certainly want to take the Deem platform and utilize the American Airlines connection we have in place.”

In a statement, Travelport said: “Access to this content is becoming critical for travel agencies, corporations, and travelers, particularly those in North America where airlines are beginning to shift some content exclusively to New Distribution Capability. This acquisition will dramatically improve Deem’s speed to market, allowing it to seamlessly integrate multisource content.”

All Deem’s employees will now move over to Travelport, and no changes are expected in the short term. “It’s not going to just sit by itself, as an as-is acquisition,” Webb said. “It will run independently, but we will take advantage of the technical synergies between the two companies.”


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Tags: american airlines, business travel, corporate travel, deem, ndc, travelport

Photo credit: Travelport has bought Deem from private car rental company Enterprise Holdings. Why Kei / Unsplash

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