NDC and the business traveller
Orbit is working closely with IATA, our travel technology partners and key airlines in our markets to ensure we are ready for NDC and to help our clients benefit from its implementation. In a previous Orbit Blog, we’ve explained what NDC is and how it will impact the broader industry. In this blog, our technology partner, Amadeus, puts more context around NDC for business travellers and what will be important as the travel industry moves forward with it.
The promise of NDC includes richer, more visual content at the time of booking, with captivating images, videos, virtual tours of flight amenities, pictures, food and beverage options. Its potential is to not only give business travellers more information about flight fares, but also bundles of services such as a standard fare with a bag, priority boarding and access to lounge.
And it doesn’t stop there. NDC could offer greater personalisation of air offers to businesses. For example, it could help define travel policies more granularly by considering ancillaries to build tailormade packages that meet specific business needs. Having said that, NDC is not a silver bullet solution that will solve every challenge travel distribution has faced for the last three decades – it is a technology standard.
NDC is part of the greater travel lifecycle
Today, business travellers operate within a comprehensive travel lifecycle. That’s one of the reasons why travel buyers should continue to watch this space closely and be ready with updated policies for an NDC-enabled content future.
This means business travel managers need to carefully consider how they measure the value realised under agreements that involve the purchase of NDC content. In an NDC world of personalisation, it may not just be price that is seen as the value but the bundled ancillary services as well. And it will be the travel management company who has to ensure that the content is presented in an easy to understand way.
It'll be important for organisations to review their travel policies for employees and align the new content from travel providers or travel management companies with their policies to ensure a consistent and straightforward shopping experience for the traveller. Since NDC will bring with it the ability to provide personalised offers specific for each business, or even specific to the individual traveller, organisations must ensure that their policies anticipate and account for this level of personalisation.
Servicing is a key element and especially important
Earlier versions of the NDC standard were incomplete as they didn’t go beyond booking and did not address scale and performance, which is needed if NDC is to become a reality. So now with the level 4 certifications, both as an IT provider and as an aggregator, Amadeus are working hard with the industry to ensure they deliver on the required servicing needs. NDC is not very useful to the business traveller unless the booking can be serviced, modified post booking and duty of care can be provided.
Similarly, consumers won’t adopt it easily if they must wait for 60 or 90 seconds for NDC offers to start appearing on their online booking tool or mobile phone. And this is where scale and performance guarantees come in. Additionally, Amadeus have been working with IATA and several airline and agency partners to advocate full standardisation – from the standard itself, to how it is implemented in practice around post-booking servicing and performance.
Collaboration and focus are key
As the industry moves to embrace new approaches to merchandising and technology standards such as NDC, Amadeus reinforces that the ultimate customer, the traveller, must stay top of mind. They want the additional service levels that rich, personalised offers represent but they also want to compare and shop for those offers in the channel of their choosing.
Amadeus will aggregate content within the Amadeus Travel Platform from different sources and will return these results in a way that will make them easily comparable. Their goal is to take care of the complexity and remove it for organisations and their travellers, in order to make the experience as natural and seamless as possible. This means being able to access an extensive range of content, but also easily compare flights and bundles from multiple sources easier and faster.
NDC is part of a longer journey to greater digitisation that the entire industry is on. The possibilities for innovating on top of NDC are potentially endless and continuous innovation is expected over the next 10 years thanks to the new capabilities NDC will offer.
Orbit World Travel is a driver partner in the Amadeus NDC-X programme and will keep you updated as we move forward with NDC. You can find out more about the NDC-X programme with Amadeus here or take a look at the dedicated IATA NDC resources here.