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

Posts Tagged ‘NDC’

It’s beeOptical fibern a long time coming, but it’s incredibly rewarding to finally see NDC connectivity to the Sabre GDS enabling airline product differentiation, personalization, and improved profitability.

If you missed the news, I’ll recap it for you. American Airlines recently announced its GDS integration to Sabre using the airlines’ NDC-style API. It’s no secret that Farelogix built and powers the AA direct connect API, and that we are incredibly proud of the work that has been done with the airline to date. Connecting a full-service airline’s API to a GDS is no easy feat – at least doing it the first time – but all three companies (Sabre, AA, and Farelogix) worked hard and cooperatively to make this happen. But, believe it or not, that’s not the real story here.

The real story is what this connectivity to Sabre means for an industry that has basically been “stuck” in third party distribution limbo for years. This announcement just changed the status quo for everyone, and it’s a win-win situation for all. No one loses.

Airlines win by being able to offer differentiated content, which can increase loyalty and generate new revenue. The TMCs/OTAs win by having the most up-to-date and relevant airline content, helping to secure their value proposition to their customers. The GDSs win by being able to deliver (and ultimately display and sell) new airline services to their users (i.e., airlines, TMCs, and corporate booking tools). Consumers and corporate travelers win by getting access to the airline content and product choices they have been clamoring for, with minimal process change.

Given our history with Sabre, I was skeptical about ever seeing this level of win-win situation in airline distribution in my lifetime. But there it is, staring us right in the face. And although there is still much more work that has to be done to bring the entire industry in line with NDC, for once we are all moving forward in the right direction. New airline connectivity to GDSs is here, and it is reloading the value proposition for what was always viewed as a tired, outdated, and over-priced distribution channel. Plus, any future GDS integrations with our other airline customers will be almost automatic since 90 percent of the integration work is reusable with any GDS, thanks to an NDC-aligned integration standard.

How great is that? And in my lifetime too!

An effective airline merchandising program showcases your brand, delights your customers, and grows both revenue and loyalty.  But effective airline merchandising is not easy to accomplish.  Embracing value-added services, personalization, and New Distribution Capability (NDC) requires innovation on many levels, from strategy to technology.

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We invite you to attend a one-of-a-kind master class, dedicated to exploring what it takes to successfully grow happy customers and more revenue through effective merchandising and value-added services.

At Merchandising and NDC: The Path to Happy Customers and More Revenue, we will tackle the full, end-to-end process of merchandising and personalization, including how to differentiate your product and brand, creating and optimizing the best offer, leveraging NDC, and understanding what technologies can help your airline stand apart while increasing revenue per passenger. Read the rest of this entry »

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!

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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 »

This week, I thought I’d toss out a question to all of you airline marketers:

Can you imagine a situation in which you invite one of your technology vendors to choose which color to paint your new fleet of planes? Or perhaps invite an outsider to decide how to structure and market your new loyalty program… or maybe even dictate what other companies you are allowed to partner with? Whoa OK, OK, I can hear you answering all the way from here – your answer is (correctly) a resounding no! Of course, your airline brand, your products, and your partners are core elements of your strategy and marketplace identity. Of course you would never turn over the control to a third party!  OK, I guess it was a silly question.

© buchachon

© buchachon

Well if that’s so silly, then maybe try to answer this: Why, in today’s world of merchandising and multi-channel customer engagement, do some airlines allow third parties to dictate what products the airline is allowed to sell and where, largely due to technology limitations and delays? Yes, this happens! “We just don’t know anyone who can help us sell seats the way we really want to so we just do what they can do and try to live with what they can do.” That is a real quote from an airline I met with just two weeks ago!  Or this, recently shared by a major international carrier: “NDC sounds promising because we do so much through the agency channel and we want to extend our merchandising there…but our PSS provider says realistically it will be years before it is possible, so I guess we’ll have to wait.” What? And you accept that answer? When in fact the decision of “should we offer it?” should never be dictated by what a particular technology provider can do. To accept that is to limit your potential right out of the gate!  It’s like your provider telling you to dream big…but only in black and white. 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 »

As the proliferation of airline ancillary sales advances, selling in the travel agency channel continues to stand as the last bastion. Airline websites have long been capable of selling these value-based products and services, and airlines are making considerable headway at selling via kiosks, mobile apps, and call centers. Yet trying to sell these same services through the agency channel continues to be problematic (one only has to think of AA’s fare families being marketed and sold by either an odd or even number).

© Maksym Yemelyanov - Fotolia.com

© Maksym Yemelyanov – Fotolia.com

With advancements in distribution communications (especially now that NDC has DOT’s blessing), sending and receiving ancillary product and service information to/from the agency channel is less a technical problem, and more an issue of change management. The technical problem of displaying and transacting those ancillaries is one that companies like Travelport—with their investment in the travel agency desktop—are quickly working to solve. But what about that pesky change management issue?

One must not underestimate the foundational challenge facing the travel agency community.  The reality is that with NDC finally getting the okay, more and more airlines will adopt this distribution methodology of delivering their content – in real time – directly via their API to the GDS who in turn will aggregate it and deliver it to the agent desktop.  Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t freak out yet, just keep calm and read on.

It’s been a few weeks now since our jaunts to Singapore and Barcelona where we, along with the folks from Airline Information, LEK Consulting, and a handful of great presenters, conducted half-day NDC in Action Symposiums to an audience packed with airlines, GDSs, TMCs, and other technology providers. These symposiums were not about whether NDC is good or not (because all the relevant players agree that it is), but rather focused on Merchandising Strategy, User Experience, and Mid-Sized (not Big) Data, along with performing some real-life demonstrations of “NDC in Action” to show the benefits available to airlines, travel agencies, and consumers.

© learchitecto - Fotolia.com

© learchitecto – Fotolia.com

But back to the question at hand: did LCCs invent NDC? Well, I think the basic premise of NDC lies directly with Low Cost Carriers like as EasyJet and others. These early renegades, when building an airline from scratch, took advantage of some technological innovation (primarily XML) to build their own individual airline APIs (Application Programming Interface), then publish those APIs to internal and external distribution touchpoints like their websites, mobile apps, the GDSs, OTAs, etc. It was pretty novel back then, but looking back it was very logical. They are low-cost airlines, with low-cost mentalities, working with low-cost systems. They are not tied into all the legacy complexities around a big PSS, EDIFACT, and the GDSs. Theirs is a simple and pure concept: distribute their content through their websites and other customer touchpoints using a single integration XML API. Read the rest of this entry »

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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!