Navigating the NDC Transformation

There is an initiative in the travel industry that has dominated conversations and headlines over the past few years – the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) New Distribution Capability, otherwise known as NDC. You may have heard of it.

As it stands in the air travel industry, customers experience inconsistencies finding content, travel advisors aren’t able to easily manage airline products available on airline direct websites and the airlines don’t have the freedom to distribute their products across channels without being commoditized. However, with challenges come opportunities and NDC is changing the industry to focus on building airline retailing.

At Direct Travel, we knew the industry was ripe for change. That’s why we’ve made plans to navigate this shift in the industry with all our partners to fully support NDC.

To guide you through this journey with us, we’ve consolidated a few of our favorite content-rich NDC resources to help you develop a deeper understanding of the program. We’ve also highlighted a few considerations to prepare your travel program for the evolution.

Learn the Basics of NDC

While you may have heard the acronym NDC, you may not have a full grasp on what it means and the associated implications. Here are a few quality resources that can help you wrap your head around the new standard.

  • IATA New Distribution Capability (NDC) Homepage - IATA has created an extensive library of foundational resources for NDC education. They provide detailed information about the program through various content formats for those that may be directly impacted.
  • GDS-Specific Resources – Every GDS (Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport) has been busy building products that meet the new standard and developing educational resources to make sure their stakeholders are well-informed as NDC comes to fruition.
  • Buying Business Travel (BBT) Industry Updates – See firsthand how NDC is impacting the industry. Not only do they have NDC 101 content, but BBT’s media coverage also shows how the program continues to broadly impact the industry.

Discover the Impact to Corporate Travel

A key driver in the success of the NDC value proposition is personalization through rich content and dynamic pricing. NDC offers airlines the opportunity to differentiate their products and amenities in every sales channel. The increased range of ancillaries allows airline partners to build offers based on customer preferences, segments and purchase history. It’s easy to see how this will change the travel experience for corporate travelers in a positive way.

Update Your Travel Program Today to Prepare for Tomorrow

While airlines and GDS partners are still refining product roadmaps and developing robust products to support NDC, change is slowly coming. Here are a few things you should consider to prepare for a future with NDC.

Ensure corporate travel policies are clear and up to date – Travel buyers should apply policy controls around what travelers can and can’t purchase, granting more control over their spend. Start talking with your travelers to understand more about their needs and use that information to inform an ancillary spend framework. Here are a few questions to reflect on:

  • What content will you require, including NDC and traditional for your program?
  • Do you need to preference how offers might be presented to your travelers?
  • Do you need to prioritize what offers are being presented and when?
  • What will be your requirement for data management and traveler’s information in case of an itinerary change?
  • What mobile solutions and OBT functionality will you need to support all your content and policy controls?

Think about contracting considerations – The biggest changes in contracting will occur with any bilateral agreements made, such as a direct connection with an airline. For example:

  • Creating individual contract agreements with specific booking processes or platforms with one or more airlines
  • Implementing a hybrid model of GDS transactions in conjunctions with any direct connections
  • Limiting travelers’ options to a select few airlines

Communicate your priorities with your TMC to stay synched with future plans – As NDC develops and significant changes to processes come into focus, develop a close relationship with your TMC and communicate often. They will support your efforts appropriately and help your travel program thrive through the changes.

The Future Looks Bright

As NDC continues to evolve, the true potential of the program will become clearer. At Direct Travel, we are eager to see the opportunities it affords the industry.

As with any large change initiative, knowledge is power. Educate yourself about the ins and outs of NDC and stay informed about what’s happening in the corporate travel industry related to the transformation. This will only equip you with the information to evolve in tandem.

Contact Direct Travel to discuss the impacts of NDC to your corporate travel program.