“Dad, at school we learned that green promotes creativity.” My daughter likes to go straight to the point, so I listen closely—and this particular comment had me pondering for a while. I immediately had to think of a topic that is currently bothering both me and the industry: Airlines like to poke at the magnificent color green.
When talking about GDSs, why do airlines often speak so disparagingly of the “antiquated green screen”? Why is GDS technology reduced to this one, unchanged and frequently used view? I’ll admit it is easy to portray the green screen as outdated. In a direct comparison between a text-based output format and a graphical user interface like Windows or between a GDS output format for professional users and an airline website, an online travel agency or a metasearch engine, it seems immediately clear which must be the more modern format.
But is that true? Let’s compare the purpose of each display.
An image-based program controlled by mouse makes it easier for users to understand complex information. Its goal is to present product differences—such as stopover destinations, flight times, prices, seat pitches and more—in visual fashion. The target group is end users or novice users at the travel agency.
The green screen, however, is the domain of professional travel agents, who work very efficiently under considerable time and cost pressure, analyzing routes, comparing prices, preparing reservations, importing traveler profile data, adding to bookings by script and running macros on bookings to complete them. All this is closely linked with companies’ downstream systems for fulfilling other requirements, such as reporting, invoicing, passenger safety and more.
These users often operate the program blindly and are fast and efficient. They are rightly proud of being able to work as professionals with a professional tool, doing so, according to independent comparisons, up to three times faster than with menu-driven software. A craftsman needs professional tools. Or do you know a professional craftsman who buys his tools at the supermarket?
What airlines often and quite intentionally fail to mention is that there are also colorful, menu-drive pages in the GDSs, both in Amadeus and in the other companies, whether for hotels, rental cars or even for airlines. Not every employee at a travel agency is an expert in every area a GDS covers. For them, the GDS works like a modern website with supporting images, map-based search and 1-A menu navigation. It looks much like an online travel agency—whose data incidentally flows over a GDS interface.
GDSs offer the best of both worlds in one place, so that professionals can choose. Green screen and menu-driven software are two sides of the same coin.
So, my daughter is right: Green is great. And I realize I love green.
Read the original article here.