Despite the pandemic, NDC implementation progress among airlines and travel agencies in the Asia-Pacific region has not been derailed. Ramona Bohwongprasert, senior vice president - India, Southeast Asia & inside sales, travel sellers, Amadeus, shares why investments made in NDC will play a key role in tourism recovery by not only opening new digital retail opportunities, but also helping to deliver tailored offerings to travellers
The last few years have seen steady progress on New Distribution Capability (NDC). However, the onset of the pandemic raised concerns that NDC might take a backseat. Interestingly, though, despite the challenges of the past 18 months, momentum around NDC hasn’t stalled.
In fact, the drive to improve travel retailing, personalisation and simplifying processes has led to much progress. We are optimistic that this drive will continue through 2021 – a year that is shaping up to be one in which NDC deployment is scaling globally.
This optimism carries over to the Asia-Pacific region where we’ve seen a number of important milestones with carriers like Singapore Airlines late last year and Qantas this year. We’ve also partnered with some of the biggest travel agencies across the region in G.M. Tour and Travel, Riya Travel and Hana Tour. Suffice to say, Asia-Pacific has been a dynamic growth region for NDC.
The time is now for the industry to truly engage and realise the maximum benefits from investments made in NDC as we work to rebuild travel.
Technology is no longer a barrier to adoption and it’s now possible for travel sellers and buyers to consume aggregated content, including low-cost carrier (LCC) content, delivered via different technologies in a single application with an improved booking experience. Also, airlines are beginning to differentiate with NDC by offering product bundles and price points that deliver exactly what travellers want.
NDC is the present and the future
So, what role does NDC play in rebuilding travel? It’s simple. The NDC retailing process enables industry players to get creative in the digital retail space, which opens many more doors to facilitate opportunities like dynamic packaging, fare bundles and other ancillary services.
NDC allows airlines to create richer content and distribute tailored offers through travel agents and corporate booking tools in real-time. In turn, travel sellers will have the tools to efficiently build personalised offers for travellers.
Take Qantas as an example. The airline can now recognise frequent flyers that book via NDC-enabled travel sellers at the tier level and is able to present customised deals based on price, points rewards, ancillary options and bundles. There will come a time when Qantas enables payment with a combination of cash and miles via NDC for frequent travellers, opening a whole new world of retailing options.
Give travellers what they want
The technological expectations of travellers have been set by brands like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify when it comes to ease of use and personalisation. NDC can give travellers the same smooth experience they are used to with the technology they use in other parts of their lives.
The end-to-end integration of NDC enables advanced servicing capabilities, so travellers can change, modify or cancel a booking quickly with just a few clicks. The process is smoother and faster so travellers can easily access more information and make better informed choices.
The next step in NDC
The industry has come a long way since the inception of NDC. Yes, there are still challenges to contend with, but also achievements to be celebrated. This is where things are about to get more interesting.
At Amadeus, we are working hard so that by the end of 2021, every Amadeus-connected travel seller globally will be able to access content sourced from both NDC and EDIFACT technologies through a single search query, with a simplified end-to-end booking flow, using the Amadeus NDC-enabled solution of their choice.
We understand that there are still some obstacles to overcome around servicing, integration and lack of standardisation to obtain the full benefits of NDC. However, we also recognise that NDC is a journey, and by working together as an industry, we will not only overcome these issues but unlock limitless possibilities to improve travel retailing.
Find out more in our recently launched spotlight paper titled NDC: 2021 and the path to industrialisation, featuring insights from House of Travel and Qantas, as well as other airlines, travel sellers, corporations and industry bodies.