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XFT, the language adopted by 65% of Tour-Operators is changing hands

A new momentum for the Exchange for Travel association

For over a decade, XFT has been enabling numerous players of the tourism industry (TO, distributors, GDS, technical service providers…) to develop, expand, and promote a unique common language. Today, the association hopes to take action beyond a purely technical realm.

Rédigé par Rémi Bain-Thouverez translated by Joséphine Foucher le Lundi 21 Septembre 2015

Created 10 years ago, the association XFT brings together numerous players of the tourism and travel industry (TO, distributors, GDS, technical service providers…)
Created 10 years ago, the association XFT brings together numerous players of the tourism and travel industry (TO, distributors, GDS, technical service providers…)
The association Exchange for Travel (XFT) was created 10 years ago, on the initiative of tour-operators and the GDS Galileo, to make electronic transactions simpler by enabling the distribution of holiday packages, via new distribution networks.

At the time, XML syntax barely existed.

Yet, there was a growing need to distribute product catalogues and to carry out reservations in real time.

The challenge for tour-operators was to confront the powerful online agencies, the famous OTAs, and to maintain an effective indirect distribution.

XFT was born out of that need, which led to the adoption of a joint technology.

A new momentum for the association Exchange for Travel

This was very successful because today, close to 65% of TO productions use the XFT language for their digital exchange.

For producers, it was extremely advantageous to be able to standardize files containing available rates and packages.

The majority of the profession subscribed to it.

With the technological help of the company Afidium, the association developed the XFT language in a collaborative manner by organizing workshops in which members participated.

Over time, distributors and technological companies joined the association in growing numbers, and actively participated to the work by improving and enriching this language.

Today, the technologies are widely broadcasted and used by everybody.

The needs have expanded and it is becoming vital for XFT to evolve beyond a pure technological realm.

The association’s strength was to make producers, distributors, and technological players meet to think and work together on the solutions demanded by users.

It is time to capitalize on this historical relational richness and to draw on the expertise of all the members.

A new mission for the association

In this context, the association’s Board of Directors decided to think about redefining the association’s mission in order to give it new momentum and expand its range of action.

While technological challenges are permanent, the needs of the users cannot be restricted to this only aspect.

Commercial, marketing, and financial needs must also be taken into account.

Our world, and especially the world of tourism, is becoming more and more interdependent.

The association must become, even more, a privileged place of dialogue between the different players of tourism from distributors, producers, to technological companies.

A place for dialogue

The association hopes to reinforce its role as a platform for dialogue between IT and tourism professionals to render the distribution and management of touristic products easier, in terms of connectivity, distribution costs, and client/provider relations.

Its mission will be to expand the use of cutting-edge technologies in the tourism industry and to help disseminating them to its members through diverse means, such as publishing articles, maintaining its website, organizing meetings and working groups, and setting-up presentations in various events.

Obviously, the association will continue to enrich, maintain, and promote the XFT language.

Working sessions around chosen themes

XFT will offer its members the possibility of addressing important topics in the industry through the organization of working sessions around thematics chosen by them, with a concrete theme and a more theoretical theme.

The thematic of concrete topics will touch on topics that have an important business impact, and will be implemented by the majority of the members of which the deliverable can be in the form of a straightforward specifications document, a modification of the XFT norm, or a simple coordination of actions.

The thematic of theoretical topics will target topics of an informative nature that will offer added value to the members when faced with technological evolutions or user feedbacks.

A new governance

The association hopes to reinforce its unifying principle around the members, neutrality, and independence towards the topics covered.

This is why the Board of Directors has adopted a volunteering principle.

These strong principles will be integrated within the association’s new statuses, of which the name will now simply be “Exchange for Travel.”

In the realm of this new momentum, an informational meeting will take place at the IFTM trade-fair on September 29th, 2015 at 4:30 pm in the TOKYO room.

The association’s provisional Board of Directors will explain these new orientations in detail, with the objective of welcoming new members who will thus be able to participate in the implementation of this new organization.

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Tags : XFT

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