Travelport acquired corporate travel booking and ground tech firm Deem from Enterprise Holdings for an undisclosed sum. Travelport plans to integrate Deem’s travel solution with its Travelport+ platform in the coming months and enable access to NDC offers, products and services.
Travelport CEO Greg Webb in 2021 said he did not want to be in the business of providing online corporate booking tool tech.
“What I was referring to was that I didn’t want to build a new one,” Webb said during a Thursday interview. “I thought there were enough players out there that it didn’t make sense to enter the business from point zero. Having the opportunity to combine with what we think is the leading tool is very different.” Noting that Amadeus, Sabre, and SAP have tools, he said Deem represented “one of only a couple that were independent.”
Major online booking tools can connect to any of the big global distribution systems. Webb said he assumed that would continue.
Apple and Toyota are among Deem’s largest clients.
“We were ridiculously surprised at how set apart Deem was compared to competitors in terms of ease-of-use, modern user interface and the direction they were headed with the structure of the tool,” said Webb. “We’ll take full advantage and make sure we exploit that to the market.”
“I kind of like it,” said Mitch Gross, a former GDS exec and consultant now with Cornerstone Information Systems. “It feels like a natural alignment, good for Deem and good for customers. Travelport is bringing in point-of-sale depth and a team that is really focused on the customer experience. Having that direct focus on the point of sale and the self-service experience brings a whole other dimension to what Travelport is doing with NDC.”
Gross suggested that in conjunction with Travelport’s agent desktop, a “unified content strategy has big servicing implications and therefore customer and cost implications downstream.”
Travel Tech Consulting’s Norm Rose pointed out that Travelport has had booking tools over the years and wondered what was different this time. (More than 20 years ago, the company had the Highwire tool. Used for a few years by IBM, Traversa launched in 2009. More recently, Travelport had an investment in Locomote.)
“They have been in this game before,” said Rose. “I’m not sure why Deem in particular. It has had important innovations but nothing groundbreaking. At least Travelport will be at parity with Amadeus and Sabre, which have OBTs.”