Key Considerations for TMCs on The Strategic Path to NDC

Key Considerations for TMCs on The Strategic Path to NDC

As a travel management company, how can you continue to match the speed of constant change in the industry? Corporations are looking for partners who can meet their mounting expectations for personalization and program compliance with agility and efficiency, while delivering the most competitive rates. With the rising pressures of NDC adoption, you may not be able to keep up without making a change of your own. You need to set your own strategic path to NDC success.

Your customers, understandably, care more about Wi-Fi connections1 than the inner workings of industry standards. So, how do you make sure your transition into NDC is as smooth as possible?

Fortunately, staying out front doesn’t have to mean total disruption. Tomorrow’s world will be a confluence where NDC meets existing operations. As a hybrid ecosystem with transparent and efficient single end-to-end workflows, it will all work to support your number one priority: corporate traveler satisfaction.

As the industry – particularly airline distribution – moves further along in NDC implementation, many are embracing the opportunity of NDC. According to a survey of TMCs by The Beat, “Eighty percent agree that the NDC standard is a positive development in airline distribution.”

The availability of NDC content is ramping up, and TMCs need to be ready. Here are the key considerations for developing your own strategic path to NDC:

 

Robust and secure shopping

Spending on business travel activity totaled $1.41 trillion in 2018, up 5.7% from 20172. This means massive amounts of transactions and shopping requests to process, especially in an era of almost unlimited choice. Your technology partner’s systems must deliver those results in sub-seconds, with 99.99% uptime and the ability to then repeat that over time and across regions.

The results also need to be secure. Your corporate customers require a highly secure data environment and sophisticated levels of user access.

“Can you support multiple users across multiple regions, perhaps managing the same booking? How do you handle security and trusted users?” asked Blaine Stanga, CWT Senior Director for Global Supplier Management, in our eBook NDC to the Power of Sabre.

 

Streamlined ordering and servicing

Travel consultants are your greatest asset but also your most costly. After you’ve invested so much to streamline their workflow and maximize productivity, efficiency-driven solutions are imperative3. And you can’t simply force agents to switch their primary point-of-sale technology and shop NDC content through airlines’ connections instead.

It calls for a blended solution. Something that gives corporate travelers and buyers transparent access to fares and services, regardless of the content source, and doesn’t jeopardize output. You need a single, end-to-end workflow that gets every party where they need to be, efficiently.

“We need to enable travelers to have a full, and fair, shopping experience – not one in which they have a restricted ability to compare fares or have travel segments which require individual and time-consuming [attention] when itinerary changes happen,” said Kurt Ekert, President and CEO, CWT4 to PhocusWire.

Once booked, there’s more work to be done. When travelers inevitably need to make a change after booking, you’re responsible for executing this change and providing alternatives. Keeping up with a multitude of systems and processes requires a partner that collaborates across the travel ecosystem.

We’re working hard to manage these critical servicing aspects in a way that will be both satisfying for the customer and efficient for TMCs and airlines. “We’ve said since the beginning of the noise around NDC that the answer to this is going to come through the large IT organizations within the industry. By that, I mean Sabre, your peers and your competitors. In terms of scale and solving the level of complexity, we’ve always said that the GDS is going to solve that,” said Thane Jackson, Senior Vice President of Global Distribution, BCD Travel in our eBook NDC to the Power of Sabre.

 

Multi-devices, multi-players, multi-purposes

Business travelers use multiple devices to shop and book. 86% of companies provide their business travelers with an online booking tool, 49% with a mobile app. To deliver the benefits of NDC, you must embrace an omnichannel approach and require it from your partners too, either through ready-to-use online booking tools and mobile applications or through APIs to help build your own.

“Our travelers are time-poor people, often distracted by the purpose of their trip,” said Fred Stratford, CEO, Reed & Mackay Travel Limited. “They need content presented to them in a way that is easy to consume and tailored to the right point in their journey. The display of content in our mobile app plays a critical part in the overall user experience.”

 

And this is just the beginning…

As Kathy Morgan, VP of NDC at Sabre, says: “NDC might have started off as an airline-led initiative, but our approach to ushering in this new era of retailing is to leverage our position as a technology provider at the center of this ecosystem and create an expansive marketplace with solutions that can be scaled.”

See Also
Sabre NDC initiatives informed by decision science

As your partner, we are committed to guide you on the strategic path to NDC with the most robust and scalable solutions, devised with a full understanding of your needs, including workflow efficiency, comparison shopping, and omnichannel access. Sabre’s collaborative approach helps ensure NDC advances the entire ecosystem, including the specific needs of TMCs, so the industry collectively benefits and you’re in the best position for your customers.

The benefits you can expect with the adoption of NDC will increase exponentially over time. As you gear up to deliver personalized travel retailing, other players in the travel ecosystem are working to ensure the content is there. In fact, airlines have a major goal coming up. By the end of 2020, IATA has tasked “leaderboard” airlines to complete at least 20% of their indirect transactions using NDC standards.

And while there are hurdles to clear between now and then, stay tuned, as airlines deliver more after sales capabilities and content options that will help bring NDC and its promise of personalization to life for business travelers.

 

 

1 https://www.iata.org/whatwedo/airline-distribution/ndc/Documents/ndc-value-for-agencies.pdf

2 The 2019 GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Annual Global Report and Forecast, August 2019

3 Scalability is key to driving adoption of New Distribution Capability standard, Skift, 28 August 2019

4 In The Big Chair – Kurt Ekert of CWT, PhocusWire, 1 August 2019

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