NDC is poised to have far-reaching effects in the travel industry, but with all the preparation that is happening, the key statistic of the IATA Leaderboard is an indicator of the timing of these effects. By 2020, 20 percent of the leaderboard airlines’ third-party volume is forecast to be sold through their NDC API. That means 80 percent of those airlines’ third-party sales volume will still go through traditional technology. Does that mean NDC isn’t as critical as we thought? Absolutely not. NDC is poised to have far-reaching effects that will impact the travel industry for the better. But it does make the reality and importance of the hybrid world of multi-source content more significant.
While NDC content promises greater personalization, it will require aggregation and normalization to bring it together and make it available to multiple point-of-sale interfaces. While a handful of airlines are leading the charge by being NDC-ready today, even they must prepare a dual-content strategy for the foreseeable future. In a hybrid landscape where airline content flows through the GDS via multiple sources, seamless content aggregation and integrated workflows for agencies and corporations are critical. NDC content must function inside the support capabilities that exist in the agency environment that drive commercial and operational performance.
What does this all mean? Complexity. But with this complexity comes opportunity. Airlines will have more compelling offerings for travelers and new ways to merchandise those offerings. They will also have new bundled and unbundled offers for travel agents to distribute. This increased technical complexity is a definite challenge for the industry. The good news? Complexity is nothing new to Sabre. As we like to say, “We eat complexity for breakfast.”
Collaboration across the travel value chain is helping align and enable the industry, leading to greater adoption and scalability of the NDC standard. At Sabre, our progress is gaining momentum as we tackle this complexity by working with our Beyond NDC program partners. Through this collaborative approach, key questions emerge such as:
- “What is the new, differentiated content my travelers will benefit from as a result of NDC?”
- “Is the infrastructure prepared for this?”
- “Can companies afford the cost to change these systems to create consistent experiences?”
We are working together to address these concerns.
The Sabre Beyond NDC efforts are making a difference as we turn possibilities into reality. Our agency API test environment will be open in December. We are excited to get feedback from our testing partners as their feedback will have direct influence on the production release of our integrated NDC-enabled APIs. It is all proof that we are practicing what we preach. This rich, collaborative partnership is helping us create a true, end-to-end approach that is a win-win-win for the travel ecosystem. NDC must be a component of future distribution solutions to deliver omni-channel retailing capabilities. The true value isn’t in the NDC technical standards themselves, but in the way we utilize the NDC standards to deliver value to airlines, agencies, corporations, and travelers. Airlines want better ways to market and sell their products. Agencies want a seamless experience, so they can focus on customer service and provide even more options for travelers. Corporations want to fully optimize their travel program with great transparency. Travelers want relevant travel options. The complex task of aggregating, indexing, and normalizing? Leave that to us. It’s another way we’re going Beyond NDC.
Want to learn more about the future of retailing, distribution and fulfillment? Read our eBook, NDC to the Power of Sabre.