While some airlines are taking a wait-and-see approach to the new standard, others have seen the potential for increased revenue and for cost savings and are proactively seeking opportunities. They are rapidly realising that reaping the full benefits of the changes requires airlines to take on a new mindset around their relationship with online travel agents and tour operators.
Currently, the airline’s relationship with such retailers centres on price-management workflows. However, a sales-oriented approach is now required. Airlines will need to provide travel agents and tour operators with the same kinds of material that they publish on their own websites, including rich product descriptions, intelligent packaging, and unbundling. Because such transactions – and dealing with multiple users of the same data – are not typically part of existing customer relationship systems, some changes will be needed to gain flexibility and to take full advantage of the NDC standard.
Likewise, airline staff familiar with working with the current global distribution system (GDS) and having intermediaries between themselves and travel agents will need time to adjust to new ways of working.