Passenger Services

Click on pic, book your trip: NDC hackathon-winning innovation from IBS


"Wish I was there…" is a starting point for so many fun-filled vacations, when you see an attractive picture of your dream destination. And now, just one click along with that thought can help you plan your entire travel itinerary thanks to PhoTra, the ultimate hassle free experience, courtesy of technology developed by IBS Software!

According to the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI), in the year 2012 alone, as many as 40 million travelers around the world chose their destinations based on what they saw on screen! With examples like Northern Ireland (courtesy Game of Thrones) and New Zealand (courtesy The Lord of the Rings trilogy) even in more recent times, it is evident that the impact is more on regions which are otherwise lesser known and relatively less explored than the conventionally popular destinations on the world tourism map. Clearly, the movie/picture is doing much of the marketing on behalf of the travel organizer, whose primary job is to retain the customer-interest once he/she starts doing research towards the trip.

Seeing a picture of a place you like, looking up the details, logging into a travel website, searching for the perfect package, comparing options, deciding on an itinerary and finally making a booking that suits you in every way is undoubtedly a long process (at least in the conventional distribution chain). And in the travel business, especially when it comes to impulse purchases, a long sales cycle naturally means a higher chance of the customer dropping off before the booking is finalized and paid for. In other words, the look-to-book ratio falls when the length of the purchase cycle increases. It would be so much more productive (and thereby ensure more revenues for all companies on the value chain) if a customer could move from the first step to the final one faster and much more effortlessly than that.

Does right clicking on a picture and selecting "Wish I was there" seem too simple to be true?

IBS Software stormed to victory in the Corporate category at the IATA NDC Hackathon which concluded recently in Dublin, Ireland by enabling exactly that! Utilizing a range of different APIs as part of the challenge, the team created and demonstrated an app – titled 'PhoTra' - that lets you click on any picture you see on the internet, and in a matter of just seconds, builds an entire itinerary for your trip there – fully automated, and hassle free! The app, which takes the form of a Google Chrome extension, is capable of identifying the destination from the picture and then plugs into a range of compatible APIs for each aspect of the journey planning. This includes the Skyscanner API for car rentals and hotels, South Pole API for Carbon footprint calculation and the SITA API for airport locations, in addition to the SunExpress API which IBS developed, for making the appropriate flight reservations.

The primary focus of the app is to let you travel to your dream destination at the lowest possible expense (covering your flight, airport transfers, car rentals and hotel stays) within a fixed time frame (15 days as in the prototype) from your date of booking. Yet, in addition, the app also informs you of the carbon footprint you generate through this itinerary, and even lets you choose alternative itineraries that are more environmentally friendly! This involves choosing the closest airports to minimize your driving distance, shorter flight routes and even more suitable service classes, and can in future also be extended to include a choice of aircraft models for minimum pollution! How's that for green technology?

The SunExpress API developed by IBS grabbed a lot of attention at the event, for its incredible response speed and perfect stability; watch this blog for an upcoming post detailing this first major NDC native PSS solution!

Click here for a direct account of the event from Mark Lenahan, juror and mentor at the IATA NDC Hackathon

Click here for more information about PhoTra, the NDC hackathon winning technology innovation, or any of our other products or service offerings. 

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Saturday, 22 June 2024

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