Questioning the travel industry status quo, one blog post at a time

Posts Tagged ‘IATA’

What? Seriously? Am I going to start bucking the conventional wisdom of an airline fare already? Slow down… we are all just fresh off IATA NDC-a-palooza in San Diego where everyone and their aunt was testifying to how ready they are for NDC.

So with the NDC Acceptance Position now a badge of honor (or of courage, for us early supporters), you bet I am taking on the concept of a “fare” because not only is the airline industry no longer just about “fares and schedules,” the very nature and concept of an “airline fare” is now in question.

Ok, I’ll be gentle and do my best to be brief because it may take a bit of time for this to sink in…at least it did for me, but when it did, boy, did the light bulb go off!

FLX-M Still

This new way of thinking is about creating truly dynamic bundles containing what we would traditionally know as a “fare” along with certain ancillaries, where the “fare” is treated as a “service item” within the actual bundle, similar to the ancillaries themselves.  Read the rest of this entry »

We recently announced the launch of NDC-Xpress, a technology solution that enables airlines to implement New Distribution Capability (NDC) with minimal risk and unprecedented speed to market. Building on the core technologies of the flagship FLX Airline Commerce Gateway, NDC-Xpress delivers airline-controlled merchandising, pricing, and API distribution in a SaaS model, with implementation delivered in less than six months using the latest NDC schemas (Version 1.1).

NDC-Xpress logoNDC-Xpress enables airlines to immediately begin generating new revenue streams from the sale of value-added services in the agency channel. In addition, significant cost savings may be realized through the delivery of content across multiple indirect channel outlets (i.e., GDSs and other third party aggregators) via a single, standardized XML API inclusive of a common and supported implementation structure.

“The focus of NDC-Xpress is speed to market for the long overdue delivery of airline ancillaries, merchandising, rich content, and value-added services in the agency channel,” said Jim Davidson, President and CEO at Farelogix. “With the final approval of IATA’s Resolution 787 (NDC) by the US Department of Transportation and the competitive push for airlines to offer dynamic and differentiated content across channels – beyond airline.com – the timing could not be better for Farelogix to deliver a solution that brings NDC to life, quickly and to the benefit of all parties.” Read the rest of this entry »

Now that DOT has cleared the storm clouds over NDC, airline conference rooms around the globe are being booked for meetings about NDC.  These meetings range from a simple, internal exploratory discussions on the NDC topic to serious “next steps” planning sessions on whether the airline will buy or build its own NDC API, while also prioritizing which GDSs and aggregators are ready to accept the airline’s NDC XML API when it’s ready.

© agsandrew - Fotolia.com

© agsandrew – Fotolia.com

Now before we get into whether to NDC or not NDC, I think a few clarifying facts and terms are in order. Along with the term “NDC,” one will quickly have to deal with terms and concepts like “NDC Solution Providers,” “Aggregators,” and “NDC Schema.”  So let’s start with some basic definitions.

NDC Solution Providers are generally technology companies, including those operating a PSS (Passenger Service System), that have both the capability and interest in building out airline NDC XML API connectors inclusive of comprehensive integration with the airline host and other systems, such as merchandising and pricing.  (In case you were wondering, Farelogix fits into this category). I like to call this group the Makers.

NDC-Capable Aggregators are generally distribution-related companies or travel technology companies that possess the capability to accept and integrate an airline’s NDC XML API with other airline content from one or more sources.  Obviously the GDS companies are the biggest of these aggregators, but there are a growing number of others making a name for themselves in this space.  I call these folks the Takers.

NDC Schema is the actual technical connectivity roadmap that is being standardized by IATA and airline/3rd party workgroups.  NDC Schema version 1.1 is anticipated to be finalized and published in Q4 of this year.

This version 1.1 schema will officially be the first technical “rules of engagement,” if you will, for those NDC Solution Providers and NDC-Capable Aggregators.  The Solution Providers (the Makers) will build out the airline connectivity, most likely starting with the NDC-shop, as this defines the offer/pricing creation at the airline level – the essence of NDC. The NDC Solution Providers will follow the NDC Schema so that the NDC-Capable Aggregators (the Takers) will have a reliable and consistent set of connectivity messages.  In other words, if an NDC-Capable Aggregator connects to two or more airline NDC XML APIs (even if for shop only) where those airline XML APIs were built by different NDC Solution Providers, they will send and receive consistent and expected data.  This makes the life for an NDC-Capable Aggregator a heck of a lot easier and enables them to scale and perform multiple airline connectivity for their customers in the most efficient manner.

Up Next… the real questions around “To NDC, or Not To NDC” because you know we just love to Ask the Question!

We recently had the opportunity, along with consulting firm L.E.K., to share our thoughts and insight on ancillary services and airline merchandising in a feature in IATA’s Airlines International magazine. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Ancillaries are not only a boon to airline economics but also an opportunity to enhance the customer experience and airline brand loyalty. Meeting the customer’s demand for greater choice, convenience, and value is the new competitive playing field. The key to meeting this demand is intelligent use of data—from customer demographics and trip purpose, to buying history, real-time trip conditions, and even revenue-managed inventory—to create the most relevant offer, and then deliver it no matter where the traveler happens to be shopping or browsing, even in-flight. Intelligent merchandising is, put simply, engaging with your customer, and acknowledging their specific needs.

You can read the article in its entirety, courtesy of Airlines International, here.

The DOT’s approval of IATA Resolution 787 (NDC) marks an important milestone for the industry, as it removes any last remaining uncertainty that the nature of airline distribution is evolving for the good of all supply chain constituents. By embracing a modernized messaging standard, airlines are enabled to distribute new products and services efficiently and effectively to travel agencies and corporations, in much the same manner as they do on their websites today, using a standardized API. This is essential to closing the distribution gap between airline.com and the indirect channel.

In the years that this has been debated, innovation has continued to propel forward. Airlines are already investing in powerful new merchandising and distribution engines that enable them to create a wider range of offers, bundles, and services that are proving popular with consumers. GDS companies such as Travelport are already integrating with NDC-like XML APIs from Air Canada, American Airlines and WestJet. OTAs such as Priceline are selling premium seats using the same technology approach. Change is already happening.

We believe DOT’s approval of Resolution 787 will fuel even more innovation among players in the supply chain who are competing to creatively adopt and implement NDC and differentiate themselves in the process. On the airline side, those carriers that have been on the fence about investing in their own merchandising, distribution and APIs may now move forward. On the agency side, the pressure is on for GDS companies, TMCs and OTAs to enhance their user interfaces to ensure they can competitively consume new types of airline content delivered via the XML API, including rich media, bundles, personalized offers, and more. This is the new footrace to determine who will lead the way in terms of delivering on NDC.

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There are many wonderful things to see in Dublin—the Dublin Castle, Trinity College, and The Brazen Head. And while you’re at WPS, we really hope you’ll swing by Booth 27 to see Farelogix and our innovative technology solutions. Because, after all, seeing is believing, and we think you’ll be inspired after seeing how our technology brings NDC to life.

Our team will be on site to show you real life examples of cross-channel merchandising, personalized shopping, and much more. Additionally, private meetings can be arranged for a more in-depth look at our technology solutions. If you’re interested in setting up a private session, please email sales@farelogix.com.

And then after two long days of everything airline distribution, please join us for a drink on the last night of WPS as we sponsor the Cocktail Reception on Wednesday, October 30 at 19:30.

In less than a month, Farelogix will be not only attending Airline Information’s Mega Event 2013 in beautiful Vancouver, but we will also be hosting an NDC in Action workshop the day prior to the Mega Event. This complimentary workshop will include speakers from LEK Consulting, IATA, Air Canada, ATPCO, Farelogix, and more, and touch on such topics as:

•   Deliver all your products and services, including ancillaries, through all your distribution channels.
•   Personalize your product offer based on traveler authentication.
•   Dynamically manage your own pricing.
•   Integrate merchandising, fare bundles and a-la-carte retail offers across channels.
•   Use mobile to engage with customers for contextual offers and real-time customer recovery and accommodation.

We encourage you to attend the Mega Event and register now for the NDC in Action workshop, as we will discuss how merchandising, retailing, and revenue are all being transformed by NDC and look at the technology behind bringing NDC to life.

See you in Vancouver!

This Farelogix-penned article originally appeared on Terrapin’s Blue Sky blog.

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They had better!  We’ve all heard that in real estate it’s location, location, location – not price, not color, not size – that sells.  Sure all those other things have an impact on consumers’ willingness to buy, but make no mistake; it’s location that sells.  And in the airline world, the mantra needs to be brand, brand, brand, not just whose got the lowest price.  The success of creative airline merchandising reinforces that the buying decision encompasses a lot more factors—schedule, route structure, network, loyalty program, in-flight services, and all the services/options that make up a traveler’s desired trip experience.  What do we call that collection of things in the mind of the traveler?  Your Brand!

Now I am over doing it a bit to make my point, but an airline’s brand is significantly important, and yet it is far too often considered an afterthought, relegated to the world of logos and paint jobs (of course, they count too) or erroneously labeled per airline category such as Low Cost Carrier (LCC) or Premium Service Carrier.  As many of us prepare to attend this month’s World Low Cost Airline Congress, it’s appropriate to point out the danger of talking about LCCs as if they all share the same “low cost” brand because like every other airline, Low Cost airlines have a range of differing brands and even sub-brands.  There’s low cost and fun (remind you of anyone?), low cost and vacation spot oriented, low cost and comfortable, bare bones low cost (the now defunct SkyBus comes to mind here), and so forth.  And that’s just skimming the surface of how one airline chooses to differentiate itself from others.

So let’s assume you have clearly established your airline Brand (with a capital B!), and you’ve managed to successfully reflect that Brand in everything your target customer hears about you, buys from you, and experiences with you… in good times and in bad.  You’re set up to drive loyalty and repeat ancillary and merchandising revenue through that Brand.  Sounds good, right? Read the rest of this entry »

In case you missed last week, IATA’s Alexander Popovich wrote a great piece in Tnooz explaining some of the fears and angst surrounding NDC. Definitely worth the read!

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NB: This is a viewpoint by, Aleks Popovich, senior vice president for financial and distribution at the International Air Transport Association.

Providing customers with more information and choice, enabling agents to sell a wider range of products and opening up a new realm of services more closely tailored to customers’ needs.

This should be a welcome development in the travel industry.

However, IATA is well aware that many in the travel agency community are concerned about IATA’s Resolution 787, the foundation document for the New Distribution Capability (NDC) project.

Yet despite the filing of 400+ comments and motions for or against Resolution 787 with the US Department of Transportation, there has been almost no attention paid to what is really driving travel agent angst over the NDC project: fear of the unknown.

Read the rest of the article at Tnooz.