This new, discerning segment of traveller joins forces with the experienced, senior traveller who has enjoyed the heyday of upper class business travel and who has seen the emergence of low cost carriers.
But falling budgets, rising requirements for better data and tighter travel policies, leave both segments of business traveller and the travel buyer in a dilemma.
How do you do accommodate the new way of travel retailing in a world of systems and processes that were once designed for a world where globalisation, Internet and free flowing information and dynamic responses seemed like a George Orwell fantasy?
The air transportation industry, from airlines to IT suppliers as well as the high margin, frequent business traveller, recognises that the way we buy and consume travel today is inefficient through the traditional travel agent channel.
This is because:
- Travel agents and booking tool providers have limited access to the rich content and choices presented to customers via the airline website.
- It takes much longer to deliver new airline products (such as preferred seating and lounge passes) through the indirect channel.
- Differentiation and personalisation of offers is limited because of the current distribution channel architecture, the existing technology and cumbersom processes.
Finally, customers’ expectations have risen. They want more transparency and choice when buying products, creating a pull for large amounts of corporate travellers to break travel policy and book directly.
To address this, IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC), a new XML-based data transmission standard, is transforming the way corporations can buy and consume travel.
It allows airlines to remove current limitations in their distribution capability and offer value in a more direct way. This includes improved product differentiation and quicker time-to-market, access to full and rich content and a transparent shopping experience.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has been at the forefront of this ground-breaking activity and has, as a distribution agnostic IT and services partner to the travel value chain, invested in extensive R&D to support the emergence and deployment of NDC.
The company has run successful pilots with airlines ranging from regional to international carriers, piloting a capability that helps address concrete business issues.
One such initiative has focused on a European airline’s challenge to offer consistent and correct fares to one of its key corporate accounts.
Through the deployment of the HPE NDC solution, the carrier is now able to consistently offer its corporate travellers the best fare.
This new way of distributing has allowed the carrier to enhance the integration to its value chain and allowed it to offer consistent service.
The airline can now see a reduction in out-of-path bookings and revenue leakage, offering its travellers an improved, smoother experience and the corporation more complete booking data, improving travel cost and aspects such as duty of care.
HPE, which has gained IATA Certification Level 3, strongly believes that NDC will change the way corporate travel is procured.
The company will continue to work with the corporate travel buyers, booking tool providers, travel management companies (TMCs) and carriers to enhance, improve and innovate. If you wish to know more about HPE’s NDC capabilities please contact me at [email protected]
Julia Reichel is Offering Leader within Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Global Travel and Transportation team. A certified IATA Airline Professional, Julia has been involved in the aviation for almost 20 years. She started her career with British Airways where she was selected as a Cadet Pilot before establishing herself as a strategic advisor to the industry at firms including Frost & Sullivan, Gartner and T2RL.