- Linwood Hayes, Chief Information Officer, Travel Incorporated
- Erika Moore, VP & GM U.S. Sales, Travelport
- Anthony Toth, Managing Director – Digital Sales, United Airlines
As a follow up to our TI Insights article of May 17, 2018, which outlined the basics of NDC, this year’s SAP Concur Fusion industry panel outlined what their organizations are doing to prepare, and how SAP Concur is approaching the content availability within the online booking tool.
Those who distribute travel options, as well as those who purchase the travel, want to have both a consistent buying experience as well as the transparency of the complete cost of a trip – especially when ancillary purchases are included. This is the first step toward a merchandising-type business model that would bring Corporate Business Travel into similar business models that other industries have already accomplished.
The biggest challenge is obtaining all content. The NDC is designed to provide a structured approach for airlines to load their fares, including ancillary options and bundled fares. The content is different from one source to another, and technical standards are needed for fare calculations. However, each airline needs to comply, and then the distributors of travel need to develop a method to provide those who purchase the inventory a clear way to display the purchasing options.
- Airlines: Airlines sold over $100 Million in ancillary products in 2018, and with a broader distribution capability for this content, the revenue potential becomes even more enticing, as long as the carriers maintain some semblance of control. In United Airlines’ example, they are developing dynamic bundling, which allows the larger corporations the opportunity to determine what content and ancillary services they will make available to their travelers.
- The Global Distribution Systems are aggressively developing to be ready to deliver the content as soon as their airline partners have completed their technology, and commercial agreements are in place. As most airlines are moving this direction, the challenge for the GDS is to ensure the low-cost carriers have the wherewithal to make the extensive financial investment that is required to participate.
- The Travel Management Company’s role is to be the connection to the NDC content and create processes to unify all content in an easy-to-use workflow for improved service offerings to the Corporate Business Traveler. The TMC has their own proprietary tools that include scripting, mid- and back-office platforms, which will all be impacted by the NDC technology changes – thus requiring the TMC to stay ahead of the anticipated changes.
- SAP Concur: SAP Concur announced their decision to commence their delivery of the NDC model through the third-party technology company, Travelfusion, connecting to a variety of airline content providers. This decision provides ongoing choice to their client base, while a standardized approach is being completed by the Global Distribution Systems.
WHAT IS THE TIMING?
Although much of the technology will be available by the end of 2019, it is expected that full scaling is not envisioned until 2021. Travel Incorporated continues to be a key partner to SAP Concur and will be at the forefront of all new development initiatives.