NDC wags the long tail

May 3, 2013

This week marked the 13th annual OpenTravel Advisory forum, for more see www.opentravel.com

OpenTravel is the defacto specification for travel interoperability. Its adoption is ubiquitous, and the specification has accelerated the evolution of travel distribution.

OpenTravel constituents represent a diverse mix of airline, car and hotel groups along with the more kinetic long tail entities such as day tours, trekking, experiential travel and the like who lean on OpenTravel not just as a specification provider, but as a template to define their capability. 

At this year’s forum I covered the discussion around NDC, and what was the implication to the membership.

  • What is it:  See Datalex CEO, Aidan Brogan’s article in Airline Business on NDC, it is a great primer.
  • What’s Datalex's position:  The capability NDC envisions, is what we do; it’s how Datalex drives value for over 50 airlines worldwide, including the largest, most profitable and most innovative. NDC - it’s our DNA, it’s how we work!
  • What does it mean to me:   There is no doubt that an airline's capability to merchandize the right product at the right time to the right person is no longer just a good idea, it's a business imperative.  As partners to airlines, and as future players in your own versions of NDC, what does this mean for you?
  • Scale/capability: NDC speaks to the need of the airline to own its platform, to be able to present and merchandize its own and partners’ products understanding the consumer’s needs.  It expects that as partners to an airline you have system capability to manage hundreds of thousands of search requests in real time, present differentiated results based on consumer context and to drive to a true direct connect.

 Our takeaway- Learn the lesson of others who have relied on intermediaries and legacy technology suppliers for distribution and who now face a huge challenge for relevancy.  While we have been assured that IATA does not recommend any particular provider, our position is that the demands of the airlines will drive the best fit technologies and standards for use. OpenTravel members have a distinct advantage; they have been doing this for the last 13 years.  NDC presents a paradigm where the membership can lead the discussion and drive value to their trading partners.  In 2016 60% of airline business will be conducted in a direct and relevant manner across many touch points.

 We’re ready for the challenge - Are you?

Gianni Cataldo
VP & GM Americas, Datalex