Why the travel industry needs to embrace NDC together

Brought to you by Amadeus

By Gianni Pisanello, VP, NDC-X program, Amadeus

NDC is today in a very different place than a few years ago. We believe that only now we can start talking about industrialization of NDC for three reasons: the maturity and stability of the standard has evolved, there is a critical mass of airlines making serious investments, and there is an increased awareness and engagement from the travel agency community.

So it’s at this point, that Amadeus sees that industry collaboration is key to unlocking the potential of NDC. If the industry is to deliver new services, an improved travel experience for consumers, and greater efficiencies, then the entire travel industry needs to collaborate and NDC will become a success. This is why we are co-creating with travel seller customers like Flight Centre, and working with several airlines to deliver innovative NDC-enabled solutions that deliver consistency, transparency and choice to the traveler.

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Making the journey together

At Amadeus, we think NDC has the potential to deliver new benefits for all players if implemented in a standard manner that truly takes the needs of all players into consideration. Since its inception, we have been very active in the NDC standard. We were the first company to implement NDC v1.0 in production with United Airlines back in 2014, and are very active contributors in the IATA work streams. Since then, we have achieved both Level 1 certification as an aggregator and Level 3 certification as an IT player, and we expect Level 3 certification as an aggregator this year.

This is why Amadeus has created NDC-X, a dedicated program to drive the industrialization of NDC and ensure it is successful for all travel players. It will focus on practical use cases of IATA’s NDC standard, in a test and learn approach, in order to deliver improved capabilities for the industry.

For NDC to truly take off, we need to create a real standard not only for the protocol itself, but also for the way it’s implemented. We also need to ensure that it responds to travel seller requirements, such as servicing needs. Of course NDC needs to be supported by the right economics to drive investment and adoption.

This isn’t something that Amadeus can do on its own. The entire travel industry will need to work collaboratively if NDC is to deliver on the promise. We already know that airlines and travel agents rely on each other for revenues. Half of all flights sold worldwide are booked by a travel agent, and travel agency bookings generate an average of 34 percent more yield than airline direct bookings. By working closely together, the industry can unlock new value for travelers and corporations, and in so doing, generate more business for all players.

A travel platform now, for the future

As the industry moves to embrace new approaches to merchandizing and technology standards such as NDC, we must make sure we keep our ultimate customer, the traveler, in mind. They want the additional service levels that rich, personalized offers represent but they also want to compare and shop for those offers in the channel of their choosing.

As such, we are evolving our travel platform. It is a robust platform built on open systems, harnessing intelligent use of data and integrating new interfaces, front end solutions and architectures. It brings together all relevant content – including air, hotel, car, and insurance – from any source (EDIFACT, NDC, APIs and other aggregated content) to be distributed via any channel or device, allowing comparisons and bookings to happen in a uniform and transparent way through Amadeus.

The first evolution of our platform is underway, with further updates being delivered on a regular basis. Airlines will be able to personalize and distribute their products and offers however they desire, be that using NDC, or existing standards. Thanks to our continuously evolving travel platform, travel sellers will have access to more content via more channels and devices, helping them to remain competitive whilst making it easier for them to sell travel in a more efficient and personalized way.

We are confident that our technology will allow all players to merchandize effectively in all channels, and serve travelers simply, quickly and accurately – which is in the interest of all industry players.

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