The NDC standard. In the airline distribution ecosystem, this is no longer а new, revolutionary concept. We saw it at Outperform in May and we’ll see more of it every day because the need for greater control over retailing and distribution is driving innovation and NDC traction. While it might take some time before technology, airline organizations and the distribution players adapt, more and more airlines are putting their product creation at the core of building the customer relation and preparing for the disruptive future of distribution.
So how can an NDC program turn into a money-making machine in a few months? Here is a 4-point checklist to get there:
- NDC is a set of API and messages. Let’s face it, by itself a new messaging standard will not solve the entire equation. You still need to get the right applications that address airline business priorities through their algorithms, functionality and scalability.
- In the NDC family, sales offer is the money maker, and this is where you need to start. This is the shopping component that converts lookers into bookers and maximizes the revenue per customer through merchandising tactics.
- It is a multi-dimensional problem. Airlines need to design and execute a retailing mode but with variations across their channels such as agencies, metasearch, tour operators and mobile users—all of which have different requirements in term of volumes, response time, accuracy and look-to-books.
- Agility is a must. An airline may have a long-term vision for NDC, but route-to-market is crucial, and benefits must be achieved in months, regardless of the existing legacy infrastructure.
The checklist should not exclude the flexible technology to put points 1 to 4 in action. A sales offer creation and distribution platform that delivers immediate benefits combines performance with state-of-art functionalities and key characteristics like:
- Consistency across all channels: Shopping and pricing, fare families, dynamic pricing and personalized merchandising distributed in a consistent way across digital and traditional channels—NDC compliant or not.
- Solves channel-specific issues: With NDC, distribution players will have to seamlessly and cost-efficiently manage channel look-to-books reaching 5,000 – 10,000 or beyond for a single booking. Many airlines start their NDC implementation with the metasearch channel because it is the main alternative to expensive paid advertising if the sales offer platform delivers volume and quality at competitive costs.
- Control with hundreds of business rules: And, more specifically, rules to manage each market and channel independently to differentiate product and strategy across traditional agencies, the online channel or metasearch, for example.
- Plug & play applications: Because airlines cannot wait for their legacy PSS/IBE provider to upgrade, the SaaS platform with multiple APIs can be connected to existing systems and operational in a matter of weeks, making time to market extremely fast. And it works for whatever PSS is used for booking.
- Last but not the least, ability to maximize revenues per customer with merchandising: More than 40% of passengers (*) are ready to pay additional services vs. their initial travel budget. AI is about to revolutionize ancillary shopping, so airlines have plenty of opportunities to access the passenger ‘second wallet’ and increase their profit per passenger.
So, how much did you check off your list? (* IATA / Atmosphere)
About the AuthorMore Content by Stanislava Yordanova