What is NDC and why should you care?
On Friday 19th October Meon Valley Travel made a ground-breaking London-Milan booking using IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) and Travelport’s Smartpoint platform. The airline industry has been developing NDC since 2012 with the aim of establishing closer relationships between airlines and customers for the customer’s benefit.
But what does that actually mean for you?
First, a few basics so we’re all on the same page:
All airlines supply flights through at least one of three global distribution systems (GDS). However you book, whether that is direct with the airline, online or through a third party, GDS holds the airline inventory and you’ll be offered an available fare type based on the type of seat and fare rules you have asked for.
There are only 26 different fare types at the moment. Why? There are only 26 letters in the alphabet. Simple as that. The system is inherently limited and the industry wants to remove those restrictions and offer more options to customers.
How? Through the common internet, language (XML) airlines will be able to offer thousands of different price offerings, all based on personal data you choose to give them.
Sound slightly scary? Yes, I know, that’s why the industry took the innovative approach to start developing the technology with the global regulator (IATA) to make sure it was developed in a way that is secure, that all airlines have to comply with the regulations set and, importantly, it serves to benefit the customers, not the airlines.
NDC is the mechanism that has been developed to distribute airlines inventory to meet the security and data compliance regulations and will be adopted by all airlines globally.
So, what does that mean for you? The airline industry wants to enrich and personalise what they can offer you and they will do this by asking customers to share their personal data with them. The more they know about you, the more they can offer the best option for you. this opens the market right up, with competition for your business becoming much tougher, driving prices down and demanding innovation. The result is a whole new customer journey, where the customer is the heart of determining the price – not the seat. Airlines will need to use the data you allow them access to find a way of getting you to choose them. It will allow them to see what matters to you, what you value when you travel and what other services you use that they could add in to convince you to travel with them.
Why is it important that Meon is pioneering this technology?
As Bill Shankly said, if you are first you are first, if you are second, you are nothing. Meon is pioneering this technology and as an early adopter, we are ready to use it to our customer’s benefit when the time comes.
As an independent company that acts as a specialist not a generalist for small, medium and larger enterprises, we understand travel and technology intimately. To be recognised by Travelport as a world leader in innovation and selected to break new ground as their beta testing business travel management partner, is incredibly flattering.
We are amazed at the coverage this milestone has been given in the travel press and how we have been receiving enquiries from journalists from around the world. We are excited and incredibly proud to be part of this big first step and look forward to continuing to be at the forefront of travel technology and innovation, bringing our customers access to the best fares first.