BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
Thursday 9th September, JW Marriott Grosvenor House
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Travel buyers have been urged to understand the importance of NDC and the “significant” affect it will have on the sector, the Business Travel Show has heard today.
Speaking on a panel discussing how NDC will affect corporate travel programmes, founder of consultancy firm Festive Road, Paul Tilstone, said if buyers think NDC is a non-issue “then they are wrong”.
“[NDC] will be a catalyst for dramatic change in the industry and will also be a poster child on how things need to change in travel.”
Ian Heywood, VP global airlines strategy, Travelport, echoed Tilstone’s words stating NDC “is the most significant thing affecting travel in the past 40 years”.
NDC is a set of technology standards, which will give airlines the ability to distribute all their content through third parties. Airlines currently feel they are missing out on extra revenue through ancillary fees, as an example, because they are unable to differentiate their product offering.
In August the US department of transportation granted final approval for NDC. It was agreed that as part of NDC “no traveller is required to supply personal information to receive an airfare offer, the standard remains voluntary and that each airline is free to choose its own data exchange methodologies”.
Heywood said the introduction of NDC means buyers can “throw a lot of their programmes out the window” and have something a lot more dynamic.
He added airlines will have more dynamic pricing models such as offering cheaper fares on certain days of travel and adding “different steps” to the programme from changing discounted rates to controlling ancillary fees.
Tilstone said it will give buyers more control over the type of deal they want.
“It’s an opportunity to re-think your corporate travel programme, build it up from scratch and see what channels you can work with the airline on,” he said.
Gary Hance, director of operational improvement and Yield, ATPI, said there is a problem where it could be difficult to “separate the offering from an NDC-enabled carrier to one that isn’t”.
Eric Dumas CEO of travel technology firm Vayant urged buyers to maintain control once NDC is implemented. “The airlines are going to want more personalised profiles and they buyer has the ability to create all those,” he said. “You have the ability to create to make those profiles and think about your corporate culture.
“If you don’t take that control the airlines will access your travellers anyway they can.”