Monarch Travel Commerce – Delivered By Navitaire (via Colt Cooper)

December 21st, 2011

At the end of last month, Monarch Airlines switched on Navitaire’s Travel Commerce product to sell car hire in their SkySales booking path.  The article mentions that Monarch is the first carrier to use Travel Commerce in the European region.  Along with it being a first for Monarch, it was also a first for myself in working with Travel Commerce.

As I was solely responsible for the development of Monarch’s Avis car hire in SkySales, I quickly discovered that there wasn’t much information I could draw on to help with development issues.  Monarch had previously sold Avis rentals on the confirmation page using a separate site that was connected directly to the Avis API.  Irregardless of the quality of that API, it was easy to troubleshoot problems because it was a two-party handshake.  However, with Travel Commerce the simplicity of a two-party negotiation now turns into a contentious arbitration process.

An example of this was when the SkySales code was failing to pass certain required fields through to Avis.  Travel Commerce didn’t object and tried to sell the car (ignoring and not relaying any Avis error messages).  The result was a car that was considered sold as far as Travel Commerce was concerned, but awaiting confirmation (which Avis would never send).  It was only through asking Navitaire to dig through XML log messages on their side that we were able to discover the rejection messages Avis was sending.

I’m not sure if my experience developing against Travel Commerce is due to an immature Navitaire Avis connector or if it’s because just a few carriers are using Travel Commerce at the moment.  Regardless, I’ve got my battle scars now and am able to offer Travel Commerce customization to my list of professional service offerings.  If your airline is considering using Travel Commerce, feel free to contact me for a down to earth point of view.