Image via ATPCO

APEX Insight: ATPCO’s acquisition of Routehappy will help airlines become more sophisticated retailers and give consumers better decision-making tools when booking travel.

Airfare distribution company ATPCO today announced that it has acquired Routehappy, the developer of a rich content platform solution for flight shopping that promotes product differentiation. Routehappy will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and strategy business unit of ATPCO. Routehappy founder and CEO Robert Albert will continue to lead the company, which will be rebranded as Routehappy by ATPCO.

“This was something very organic that grew out of what the industry needed, and out of the two parties realizing that we actually do very similar things: one fare pricing, and the other shopping data and rich content,” Albert told APEX Media. Airline-owned ATPCO manages more than 170 million fares for 430 airlines in 160 countries. Working with airlines, travel agencies, search engines, global distribution systems (GDS) and governments around the world, it supports an average of 3.9 million daily fare changes. Routehappy has been dedicated to helping airlines move away from commodity pricing, towards a new competition model based on differentiated product features.

“The rich content was really a missing piece for ATPCO.” – Rolf Purzer, ATPCO president and CEO

Rolf Purzer, ATPCO president and CEO, took the lead of the company last year with a compatible vision of helping airlines to introduce branded fares and product differentiation. He has forged strategic partnerships to help improve the data exchange of value-added features. “The rich content was really a missing piece for ATPCO,” Purzer said. “We are making ATPCO a more agile company that serves the industry better, including for future high-tech requirements. Routehappy is the right company to do this as well.”

As a division of ATPCO, Routehappy can extend its capabilities and market reach. “We’re able to get closer to the raw data that airlines file with ATPCO as we create our UTAs [Universal Ticket Attributes],” Albert said. “We are getting closer to the infrastructure that ATPCO provides to the whole industry.”

“However the distribution ecosystem evolves including blockchain … I see Routehappy by ATPCO being an enabler of innovation.” – Robert Albert, CEO of Routehappy by ATPCO

Purzer and Albert expect the acquisition to help accelerate the adoption of rich-content as an integral part of airline retailing strategy. “It’s a network effect,” Purzer said. “The more airlines do this, the more interesting we are becoming for distributors, and vice versa.”

Routehappy by ATPCO will also explore future data applications, including blockchain. “Obviously, there is a lot that has to happen for blockchain to be a real solution in the travel industry, but I think we are perfectly positioned to support the development of it,” Albert said. “We help airlines manage and distribute their complex rich content, allowing them to differentiate in an open way. However the distribution ecosystem evolves including blockchain and NDC [New Distribution Capabilities], I see Routehappy by ATPCO being an enabler of innovation and transformation.”