While the threat of the pandemic persists, certified evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination are being mooted as prerequisites for air travel. But such requirements are not yet explicitly mandated, and while the regulatory landscape evolves, consumers are being confronted with a bewildering array of data when they try to book airline tickets.
During ATPCO’s The Foundation Industry Stand-Up webinar in February, attended by over 300 airlines and sales channels, COVID-19 test and vaccine requirements “were ranked as the top two reassurance content categories” deemed to be “most important for building flyer confidence,” Seth Anagnostis, head of Retailing at ATPCO, told APEX Media.
Based on this, ATPCO has unveiled a new category of Routehappy Content, “COVID-19 Testing & Vaccination Requirements.” It provides live clarification to prospective flyers on the status of health requirements during booking in the company’s Structured UPA (Universal Product Attributes) format, which gives airlines the facility to display essential retailing content to consumers using familiar graphical interfaces.
“Given how confusing and fast changing testing requirements are right now, particularly for flyers, our initial focus here was on speed to market so we could mitigate that confusion and transition from initial research to fully baked product in a matter of weeks,” Anagnostis explained.
The new content has already been centralized and standardized for 102 airlines, covering over 75% of global available seat kilometers, using simple and uniform text and visuals. Additional data provided is oriented around cleaning, masks, temperature checks, blocked seats, and passenger capacity. ATPCO is also provisioning for anticipated future requirements, including digital health passports.
In the coming weeks and months, Anagnostis said, “We’ll be looking at how we can coordinate with organizations and potential industry partners so we can ensure this content is as robust and up to date as possible and communicated to customers consistently.”
The new COVID-19-related content is included in the subscriptions already held by dozens of sales channels and technology partners at no additional charge. “Our Integrations team will be actively working with partners to get this information incorporated into their booking flows in whatever way makes sense for their offering,” he continued.
It is already live on multiple channels, including Sabre and Serko. Serko’s co-founder and CEO, Darrin Grafton, said, “ATPCO’s Routehappy Content is key to Serko’s ability to help customers travel safer and smarter … The efficiencies this brings our product development teams is a game-changer.”