NDC affects the entire travel value chain.
Airlines are credited for creating the concept, but travel agencies, online booking tools and corporate travel buyers want to understand more clearly “what’s in it for them” and what they need to do to prepare and to integrate NDC into their operations.
At this year’s annual Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) convention in San Diego, California, Sabre Vice President of NDC and Airline Supply, Kathy Morgan, hosted an educational session called, “NDC in Action.”
Now that NDC has morphed from strategy decks to working code, the NDC conversation is shifting from what it is, to what have we learned from pilot programs and production launches. Director of Global Travel Sourcing at Oracle, Rita Visser, and Vice President of Product Management at CWT, Erik Magnuson, joined Morgan on stage to share their perspectives and answer attendee questions. They wrapped up the session by sharing some specific questions that corporate travel managers can put to use as they navigate NDC.
Look in the mirror
Establish your organizational perspective on NDC: given your organization’s travel DNA, what value do you want to unlock?
What opportunities could NDC create for your company and your travelers?
How do those opportunities align with your corporate travel program’s goals and objectives?
How ready is your organization to activate these new capabilities in terms of people, (e.g., expertise and capacity), technology (e.g., compatibility of existing applications with NDC) and processes, (e.g., data usage, budgeting, commercial terms)?
Proactively raise the topic of NDC with your supplier and technology partners. Ask them about their NDC plans and what they perceive to be the biggest benefit of NDC for your company.
- What are the commercial implications?
- What are their roadmaps?
- What innovative offers do they plan to make available via NDC connections?
- Are they conducting pilots that you can join?
- How will SLAs be affected?
If you’re meeting with an airline, be sure to ask them about their willingness to create company-specific offers, and probe about how business reporting will change. If health and wellness topics, such as sustainability and accessibility, are important to your company, ask the airline how it’s approaching those topics with regard to NDC.
Think about “what if?”
NDC capabilities broaden your access to new types of content. Times of change present opportunities to create new value. Don’t let this evolutionary period go to waste.
Dig deep to understand your travelers and organizational priorities. Use that research as the basis for brainstorming sessions with suppliers. Share your particular needs with your supplier and technology partners and, together, ask “what if?” It’s a great time to explore ways to create content that is more tailored to your priorities and goals.
Get off the sidelines
If you’re waiting for NDC features and functionality to be at absolute parity with existing processes before trying NDC, you’ll be waiting a long time. You’ll also risk falling behind and missing out on new ways to enhance your travel program.
Start testing now to get a feel for the new offer and order processes associated with NDC. There’s no need to jump into the deep end if you’re not ready. Identify a few people in your organization and ask them to join some pilots. The feedback they provide, and the knowledge they’ll gain, will help you prioritize and plan more effectively.
Ride the learning curve
Don’t be shy about asking questions. There are a lot of helpful resources out there, including information from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and from system providers, like Sabre.
Read up. Enroll in classes. And be sure you’re bringing your teams along with you so that they understand what NDC is, how it can help your business grow, and how it will affect their daily work.
Today, thousands of Sabre customers are shopping, booking and servicing NDC offers and orders through the Sabre GDS from leading airlines, such as: Avianca Group, Qantas, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines. We’re ready to help you connect using our Offer and Order APIs, agency booking solution, Sabre Red 360, and our online booking tool, GetThere.
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