“Airlines, TMCs, travel agencies, and other stakeholders all have their own take on NDC and how they can use it to increase their commercial success and competitive advantage. That’s why it’s so important to get all kinds of travel organizations working together to ensure NDC delivers on the promise of increased conversion and personalization across the entire supply chain – and that’s exactly what we’re doing with the Travelport NDC Leadership Council,” says Ian Heywood, Travelport’s Global Head of New Distribution.
Every type of organization in the travel supply chain wants something different from NDC. Airlines are looking to NDC to help them maximize conversion based on the creation and distribution of more compelling, more relevant and more personalized offers. And TMCs and agencies are looking to capitalize on the potential revenue opportunities of delivering more targeted offers, and to deliver even better customer experiences based on personalized offers and services.
And then there are the technology companies – Travelport included – who are looking for new and better ways to support all kinds of companies in the travel supply chain as they accelerate and refine their NDC strategies.
But with different companies looking to solve different challenges and fulfil different business and technology requirements, we all need to work together as closely as possible to enable NDC can deliver the expected benefits for everyone in the industry.
To facilitate the industry wide collaboration needed for the success of NDC, and to address some of the technical and procedural challenges that face organizations as they adopt the new distribution standard, Travelport has created our NDC Leadership Council.
The Travelport Leadership Council invites leaders from prominent airlines, travel agencies and travel management companies to discuss NDC developments and technical requirements for successful deployment across the industry.
Critically, by listening to all stakeholder viewpoints, we can adapt and refine our technology strategy to support our airline and agency customers as they adopt NDC. We are also constantly referencing the outputs of other industry working groups, including the IATA NDC working group – where we are a prominent member – to ensure we remain at the forefront of NDC innovation.
At a recent meeting of the Council, which was held in the UK in September, Qantas and United Airlines representatives were joined by delegates from American Express Global Business Travel, BCD Travel, DNATA Travel and Priceline.
A number of topics were explored, including NDC content and technology requirements, current schemas for formatting and delivering NDC content, and missing elements that need to be addressed to ensure that the full range of booking and ‘servicing’ features are available for NDC content via the API.
Key insights we can share from the Council include:
The likely impact of NDC on search latency and recommended actions
During discussions at the council, technology representatives from airlines considered the likely impact of huge volumes of NDC content on latency during the return of search results. Stakeholders requested that we scope the likely impact of latency on searches, and to decide how technologies such as Asynchronous Search can be deployed to ensure that latency doesn’t negatively impact the search experience.
To accelerate the quest to minimize latency for NDC searches, Travelport will be setting up an architectural working group with representatives from airline, TMC, and agency customers. We will share outputs from this working group in the future to help stakeholders address the issue of latency in the search process.
Identifying customers searching and booking fares via indirect channels
To fully exploit the potential of NDC to create and deliver personalized offers, airlines need to be able to identify customers during search and booking processes – across all channels. This will require sales and distribution partners, including consolidator sites, to make changes to their technology environments to enable real-time, secure data sharing with airlines.
To help airlines support offer personalization, and to minimize deployment complexity for consolidator sites and other sales and distribution companies, Travelport is prioritizing the development of this key capability. As well as assembling a team internally to establish the technical requirements for data sharing during search and booking, we will also be working with technical representatives from our airline, TMC, and agency customers to ensure their needs are met.
“Our NDC Leadership Council is focused on discussing best practices in the implementation of NDC and committed to sharing the learnings from our discussions with a wider audience. NDC will be most beneficial if it works for all parts of the travel industry, so getting a group of leaders together to identify developments is a productive way to continue to drive the NDC conversation and to help all stakeholders to maximize the benefits of NDC. We’re grateful to our airline, agency and corporate partners for lending both their time and their expertise to the Council.”
We are now looking forward to our next meeting of the Leadership Council, where representatives from major airlines, TMCs, and agencies will once again have a chance to discuss their NDC needs and challenges.
In the meantime, you can visit our NDC Hub for more information about any of the issues discussed here. Or you can contact us to discuss your NDC strategy and to find out how Travelport can help you adopt and benefit from NDC faster.