Despite impressive technological advances in the industry, the “good old-fashioned” green screen remains the weapon of choice for many travel agents. But has this weapon lost its edge? Is the green screen really dead?
If it is, the culprit will be more user-friendly GUI applications.
Travel booking applications like Sabre Red, which will continue to roll out in 2011; or Travelport’s new and improved Agencia are the wave of the future. They present a whole host of benefits that our tried-and-true green screens just can’t compete with.
The most apparent advantage of GUIs is ease of use. Why should agents rely on the use of long, cryptic commands to perform a task that can be done with a few simple clicks?
Case-in-point: seat selection for a flight. A GUI gives the agent a clear and specific graphic representation of available seats, and allows them to pick one with a click of their mouse.
New programming will not only make the job easier, but will actually help agents to do their jobs more thoroughly. For example, the upcoming version of Agencia will allow agents to purchase items such as an Air Canada lounge pass with just a couple of mouse clicks at the time they are booking the flight.
Can your green screen do that? (If it can, I’m afraid you may be hallucinating!)
I’m all for nostalgia. Like many of you, I can type out green screen commands in my sleep. But that’s only because I’ve been doing it for years.
What about those who are new to the industry? Travel agents coming out of school have only ever been exposed to GUI applications. Green screens are completely foreign to them, and that means a training nightmare. It could take months to become acquainted with all those cumbersome commands.
In contrast, the user-friendly nature of GUIs makes them very learnable. In a day or two, anyone can become reasonably proficient.
Let’s recap. GUIs:
- make the job easier;
- do the job better;
- are much easier to learn.
So are you ready to bury your green screen yet?
Maybe not. But you should think about it. While it may be premature to call the undertaker, this type of application is definitely coming to the end of its life cycle.
In all likelihood, the next generation of faster, smarter travel software will finally send the green screen riding off into the sunset.