Rail products have now been fully integrated into the shopping basket. Rail services can now finally be searched and booked with the same ease and comfort as flights. This has thus «opened the door to Europe’s railways». Specifically, offers from SBB, Deutsche Bahn, SNCF (France), ÖBB (Austria), Trenitalia, AVE (Spain), Eurostar and Thalys can now be booked and combined with each other as well as with the other services in the IBE shopping basket, such as flights, hotels or excursions. This will make work much easier for travel agencies, since the intuitive booking interface makes combining rail travel, accommodation and a wide range of activities into one single package as easy as pie!
The new rail booking interface not only saves time, but also provides a better overview of the price structure. This means that economy prices, flex prices and TO prices are all visible in the same environment or the search can be filtered by selecting these criteria. Since national and international connections are combined, enquiries from the place of residence to the destination abroad are all easy to make – including reserving seats on all trains that offer seat reservations. And, best of all, in collaboration with Railtour/Frantour, there is an electronic ticket delivery service, meaning the travel agency can give the customer their e-tickets immediately.
The IBE shopping basket has already been in use at Railtour and TUI Suisse for several months. The new technology supports both the products of dynamic package tours and compositions of individual modular tours. Flight, train, hotel, transfer and rental car providers can all be integrated – either via «real-time» or «cache-based» player links.
The TUI Flex Travel Basket offers users additional flexibility because it lets them simultaneously book different hotels, empty stays and various excursions within one or more booked flight routes. Connecting various bed banks together gives users around 300,000 hotels to choose from.
The Flex Travel Basket replaces the previous Flex Travel Discount. With a new look and feel, the focus is on intuitive and easy use. Moreover, travel agency partners can book real-time availability of different products in a joint dossier. One further advantage is the multilingualism of the service (German, French, Italian and English) and the availability of non-refundable offers.
After Railtour/Frantour, TUI is the second tour operator on the Swiss market to use this new dynamic interface of Online Travel, which can still be accessed via Touronline and Cets.
Railtour/Frantour is the first customer to use the NDC solution from Online Travel. This means that, using Travelfusion technology, the new IBE shopping basket can be used to book all Lufthansa Group fares. It already has a large number of connected low-cost carriers and numerous network carriers, such as Lufthansa Group, British Airways and Air France/KLM, which are already linked via the new NDC protocol.
This low-cost NDC integration ensures that all airfares can still be booked via the various booking engines of Online Travel.
At present, only hotels, flights and extras can be booked, but rail services will be added at the end of 2019. All the services booked are combined in a single central shopping basket and, in the end, everything is booked in a single dossier.