NDC Opportunity Recognized

While corporate travel buyers remain “neutral” in their view of the New Distribution Capability (NDC), they clearly recognize the “opportunity” that the new standard offers.

That was the upshot of a newly released study of global corporate travel buyers that was conducted by Festive Road on behalf of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

In fact, the corporate travel buyers questioned about NDC also indicated “a strong desire” to gain greater in-depth knowledge about NDC and the implications that it will have for their business activities.

Aleks Popovich, IATA’s senior vice-president, financial and distribution services, observed of the study’s findings, “We have an opportunity for greater interaction with the corporate travel buyer community who are key partners in the travel value chain.”

Popovich pointed out that, “The newly-formed IATA Travel Manager Advisory Group will help us to build a better understanding of the capabilities of NDC and the concerns of corporate travel buyers. By enabling access to airline content that currently is available only on airline websites, NDC will add much more value to the services that travel buyers provide to their companies.”

In the study, travel buyers were asked for a wish-list of ways in which NDC could improve their efficiency. They cited having access to all content, in a user-friendly format, available via mobile, and compliant with company rules.

The most commonly voiced concern was that implementation of NDC “will increase the practice of price and content variance by channel.”

Popovich noted, “Current processes make it difficult for travellers and corporate buyers to easily compare airline ancillary products and the full service options across multiple airlines. The NDC Standard will address many of these concerns.”

And he added that, “While IATA has no role in the commercial decisions of individual airlines, the opportunity here is that the NDC Standard will enable a more transparent shopping experience, without negatively impacting corporate travel policies and controls.”

The study was conducted by Festive Road on behalf of IATA. It is based on interviews with 17 corporate travel buyers from five continents representing direct responsibility for in excess of $3 billion per annum in business travel expenditure including an estimated $1.9 billion in air travel.