TTI Standards – Unicorn, REScon, TOPAS and TORIX

TTI Standards – Unicorn, REScon, TOPAS and TORIX
Organisation: Travel Technology Initiative
Keywords: TTI Standards, Unicorn, REScon, TOPAS, TORIX
Description: The Travel Technology Initiative (TTI) has developed a number of standard message sets to benefit the Ferry and Tour Operator sectors.

Unicorn was conceived by the European ferry industry to process and respond to travel requests between host ferry reservation systems and travel agents. Since the first messages were developed in 1985, Unicorn has been expanded to cover other sectors of travel, such as air, general sales, insurance, rail and accommodation. The ability to provide travel documentation, such as paper tickets and magnetically encoded ATB2’s (Automated Ticket and Boarding cards), is also provided in the message set. The latest release of Unicorn (Version 6.2) has nearly a hundred and forty messages.

Unicorn was developed within the guidelines defined in the United Nations Trade Data Interchange Standards (UNTDI dated 1975) which included a body of existing applications, principally within freight transport.

Typically, Unicorn is used to pass messages between host computer systems, although there are applications between PCs and hosts. Unicorn is a set of EDI messages that sit above the user application and have no influence on the presentation of data at the receiving system and is not designed to interact directly with non intelligent terminals.

Unicorn is maintained as a database using Foresight Corporation’s EDISIM product.

REScon, which stands for ‘Reservation Confirmation’, is a recommended format for travel agent’s systems to capture booking information direct from the tour operator. Travel agents no longer need to create and maintain complex screen maps for each tour operator and the transfer of data is immediate, transparent and secure. The REScon format was developed jointly by the major tour operators and travel agents for use on any computer system. It has been successfully installed by Cosmos and Co-op Travelcare, where it has made life much easier for both sales and support staff. REScon is an industry wide technical standard for transferring full booking details between computer systems. It is endorsed by the travel industry’s standards body, the Travel Technology Initiative, and is available to everyone in the travel business. What’s more, it provides a sound base for other important developments, such as printing invoices, ATOL receipts and travel tickets.

TOPAS is made up of the following components:

– TOPAS data definitions – These describe the data items which are used to provide availability information.  These definitions help ensure the standardisation of the data which is transmitted.

– AVLABL EDI file format – The TOPAS data definitions describe the content of the availability file, but not its format.  TTI support the use of the AVLABL EDI file format for the distribution of availability data.  Use of the AVLABL EDI file format helps ensure the integrity of the data which is transmitted:

– Ambassador toolkit – This is a suite of applications, developed by Foresight Corp and provided by TTI, to assist organisations in their use of the AVLABL EDI file format.

TOPAS defines four availability file types:

– Earlies – Provides inclusive tour (IT) availability for all seasons on sale outside the “lates” period.  This is typically three, but for short periods four, seasons.

– Lates – Provides inclusive tour (IT) availability within the “lates” period, typically 10-12 weeks before departure.

– Flight- or seat-only – Provides seat-only availability for all seasons on sale.

– Accommodation only – Provides accommodation-only availability for all seasons on sale.

TORIX – The TORIX messages were created by a TTI working party of major tour operators and are aimed at providing a structured alternative to the legacy Viewdata distribution channel for booking packaged holidays. Whilst capable of supporting B2C, these messages are aimed at the B2B market with the specific aim of providing an alternative to the Viewdata standard.

Further details: Click here to find out more on TTI Standards – Unicorn, REScon, TOPAS and TORIX

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