Content Management Is HEDNA Goal

As the first travel agent elected to the top spot at HEDNA, Tiffany Topcik has a full, shape-shifting agenda. She assumes the presidency of the Hotel Electronic Network Distribution Association following the resignation of Jimmy Suh, vice president of revenue management and distribution, Kimpton Hotels.

Since the government threw GDSs open to the market, several GNE, or GDS new entrants, have entered the field. These direct-connect products, like Farelogix and G2 SwitchWorks, introduced technology that brings new ways of delivering travel-related content, says Topcik, an executive with ABC Corporate Services, a suburban Chicago travel agency.

These GNEs “have a different method of delivering content,” like prices and hotel information, she says, noting that e-commerce providers like Pegasus and TRUST continue to loom large.

“There's a lot of new players, which gives us the unique opportunity to deliver multiple solutions,” says Topcik. Meanwhile, travel agents continue to play a significant role in the industry.

“Their tools are changing and the technologies involved are being revolutionized, but there's very much a niche for an informed travel consultant,” she says. Airline restrictions are bewildering, she notes, and hotels are beginning to impose some of their own, like blackout nights. A travel agent can cut through the clutter.

“A lot of consumer-based front-end sites are reflecting content that is supplied via their own suppliers deals,” she says, “where a travel agent has the ability to gather all the options through a GDS system.”

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