Many large corporations are concerned that travel management companies (TMCs) and online booking tools (OBTs) will not be ready to provide all of American Airlines' content by April, according to a poll conducted by UK-based consultancy Festive Road.
The US carrier told TMCs and OBTs in December that they must use NDC-based connections to ensure continued access to all of American’s content by 1 April.
This move could lead to up to 40 per cent of American's current fares being pulled from traditional EDIFACT-based connections to global distribution systems (GDS) at that time.
TMCs have explored options like content aggregators and direct connections with American, but some booking tools have warned they may not be able to offer full American Airlines content by April 1.
Festive Road surveyed "25 major travel buyers at the forefront of NDC development." On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most positive, the buyers' average rating of long-term NDC value was very positive, at 4.2.
But for the near-term, however, the results were vastly different - just one in 25 believed that their TMC's agents will have access to all of American's NDC content by the start of April.
Festive Road received a similar result when it asked about OBTs’ ability to present all of American's NDC content. Not one of the travel buyers was confident that any American NDC bookings could be serviced by their TMC or OBT.
“If the big, progressive buyers are having issues, then likely everyone is," said Paul Tilstone, Festive Road’s managing partner. "We're going to see a lot of content missing or convoluted processes in the short-term to get the traveller what they need.
“We are certainly entering a period of forced multi-channel or content challenges and fragmentation, which will undermine managed travel unless strategies are in place.”