In which Abram Richman (Chief Product Architect, Datalex) and Blair Koch (CTO, Datalex) share their views and opinions on NDC.
So Datalex, I am really proud to say, has always been an API First company. We were one of the first companies in the industry to prove SOAP APIs to the air industry. So we’ve also been API First and NDC is another API.
I think NDC provides probably three benefits to the airline.
There is a revenue advantage. Revenue advantage comes from the availability of their products and services through the GDS and OTA that wasn’t there before NDC.
It is increasing revenue by allowing airlines to yield manage or revenue manage on a real-time basis, which is impossible right now with the current static filings and fares and so forth.
There is a benefit on the loyalty side. NDC is quickly becoming an omni-channel standard for the airlines. The best way to increase loyalty is to provide consistent good service. One of the aspects of providing consistent services is to make consistent offers to your customers, to treat them consistently whenever they go to buy your products no matter what channel they come from. So I think it is going to be a great benefit to the airline to have their products and services available to those loyal customers.
The other thing about the NDC standard that is great is that it really opens the door for other kinds of software providers. That was one of the whole ideas of the NDC standard - was to open the marketplace for more players to step in and it would give us better competition and better products.
So where do you start when you implement NDC? A lot of our customers are starting with metasearch. Metasearch providers have all indicated that they want to become sellers, so eventually they will be a sales channel just like a travel agency channel. NDC is great for metasearches because obviously it provides a common API and they don’t have to go and do a bespoke implementation for every airline that they touch. But it is a good way to start because again, you’re taking some traffic off your website, you are able to throttle the speeds of the messaging and then you can move them on through the rest of the sales funnel into the actual merchant side.
I would say then, try to find a good corporate agency that you have a very good relationship with who is very interested in that. I think there are a lot of corporate agencies who are interested in being able to provide their customers with a breadth of product.
All the major GDSs have committed to providing NDC traffic between the GDS and the airline host systems and essentially what NDC will do, it will replace edifact between the GDS and the host systems of the airlines so that, again, the same breadth of product can be distributed back to the agency channel. Ultimately, NDC is going to be the methodology for airlines to get that product out to you.
I think Datalex is well positioned to help enable NDC for the airline industry.
When you talk about NDC and you talk about implementing NDC, it is really about the goodness of the offers that you are able to make and the goodness of the way you manage your orders and that’s really what our platform provides you. The ability to bundle, to provide ancillary products, to provide fare families dynamically to make dynamic real-time offers to your customers, to understand who they are, to provide promotional discounts. All of those kinds of things, so it is not just about being able to hold down an NDC message it is about being able to make a good offer.
Where will it go (NDC)? Obviously, NDC is moving the One Order standard which will help airlines with the fulfilment and accounting and partnership with other airlines for their products and will really simplify that part of the business. Those standards are still emerging and I think those will take a little bit longer, but I think the NDC part of it the ability to sell, to create an order, to manage an order. I think that will see a very rapid uptake in that.
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