Do you remember how Global Distribution Systems began 40 years ago? Sometimes it's worth a quick reminder...
At that time, they were little more than a pit-stop between travel businesses and airline pricing and product information.
Airline tickets were hand written, passports had to be inspected in person and airlines knew almost nothing about a passenger prior to them stepping onboard.
Today, two decades since the internet became widely available, everything has changed.
The legacy systems no longer provide the right infrastructure and in the complex ecosystem of global travel, and all parties need to work together to react, re-position, invest and succeed.
Currently, the technology that enables airlines to deliver and receive data such as prices and availability information to and from GDSs and other third parties is mostly a basic data exchange.
The potential for NDC (New Distribution Capability) to transform this through API (Application Programming Interface) is exciting.
Time for the industry to step up
As you probably know, NDC is a new technology standard which allows data, such as passenger booking information, to be transferred in a common way over the internet.
This technology means airlines can distribute their content to agencies and management companies in a single, seamless transaction, either direct to the consumer or via an intermediary.
Thanks to NDC, agencies will be better able to tailor offers to individual customers according to their requirements and for TMCs, pre-apply the parameters of a defined corporate travel policy as well.
Find out how you can get NDC-ready...
For corporate travel managers and buyers, there is the potential to be able to negotiate deals that deliver significant added value.
Many of our agency customers see huge potential for NDC retailing to help them demonstrate and enhance their value in the travel distribution chain:
- For many agents, NDC is a continuation of what they have always done, delivering value to their customers by accessing the richest choice of content through a single workflow, so there is no need to assume this change will be disruptive.
- It will allow agents to provide a more personalized service to travelers through tailoring airline offers to meet the specific needs of individuals and traveler groups.
- It will also help to align agencies with how their travelers shop today by providing an Amazon-style shopping experience, based around choice and personalization. This creates the potential to offer and sell a wider range of tailored airline products and services including insurance, extra leg-room and fast-track boarding.
- Agencies with the technology capability will also be able to choose to connect directly into the systems of some airlines. This may help them to serve their customers in a more efficient way.
- Widespread adoption of NDC requires changes to how many agencies search and book airline tickets today. This needs to be a gradual process so that there is as little disruption as possible to existing workflows.
Travelport is already engaging agencies and other third parties to ensure their input into the product development process so that NDC works for everyone.
We are currently beta testing solutions with a small group of agencies enabling us to continue to refine our product roadmap.
We’re carefully deploying new technology to continue to meet the demands of modern travel commerce. Coming in the second half of the year is the capability within Travelport Smartpoint to enable agencies to search and book NDC content alongside traditional GDS content.
This will be followed next year by a fully aggregated search and booking facility offering NDC and GDS content in the same workflow, using the latest API technology.