NDC’s “Unknown Unknowns” Hamper Acceptance
by By Michèle McDonald

Borrowing a phrase from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a speaker at IATA’s World Passenger Symposium in Dublin cited the “unknown unknowns” as the biggest obstacle to acceptance, and ultimately adoption, of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC).

Anne Coughlan, professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said, “If you don’t know what you don’t know, you can’t lift the veil on it, and you’ll have trouble getting partners to run with you.”

Meanwhile, the “known unknowns” are significant, she said.

“How big is the pie, and how much will it cost to get it?” she asked.

A “loveless triangle”
Coughlan spoke on a panel titled “Airline Product Differentiation: New Distribution Capability and the Loveless Triangle,” a reference to the airline/travel agent/GDS relationship.

During the session, moderator Gary Doernhoefer, a former IATA general counsel turned consultant, sought to find common ground among the representatives of all the parties who will play a role in NDC’s future.

Fergal Kelly, vice president of global technology solutions and services at Travelport, said that marrying up the two sides of every travel transaction – “how people want to sell and how people want to buy” – requires a level of trust.

“We need a much greater understanding of the value that various people bring to the dialogue,” he said.

“Even before you begin the technical work, you must address the issue of trust and the common vision. We don’t know the size of the overall benefit of NDC, so it requires a leap of faith.”

Uncomfortable changes
Doernhoefer acknowledged that NDC’s introduction did not inspire trust.

Any change makes some people uncomfortable, he said.

When airlines began talking about changing the way they sell their products and services, travel agents were caught in the middle of a drama involving “high-stakes litigation” and “the usual mercenary spokesmen,” Doernhoefer said.

“Then IATA entered the fray like conquering heroes,” he added. “They were met with less than widespread enthusiasm.”

But emotions have cooled since then, according to Doernhoefer.

What’s in it for the agent
The question now is, “What’s in it for the travel agent to sell this stuff?” he asked.

“Agents will sell anything, but they have to have the ability to do it and understand why they should do it. We will have to have a discussion of the risks and rewards.”

Jayson Westbury, chief executive officer of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, said agents want to have access to the rich content promised by NDC. He’s concerned that “the world will have moved on by the time we get it.”

Get on with it
The industry “should just get on with it,” said Westbury. “We have to find a way to get this party started.”

Jens Ritterhoff, director of distribution strategy and cost for Lufthansa, agreed that the pace of change is too slow.

“We need more rapid development,” he said. “If we underestimate the pace of change, someone else will pop up and do a fabulous job of it.”



  0
  0
Comment:
You must be logged in to leave a comment Login | Register
Tip of the Day

Everybody here is kind of in a daze; nobody knows any facts and figures. But [with the value of the pound falling], it probably will be a hit to travelers leaving the country, and good for those coming.

Franc Jeffrey
CEO. EQ Travel Management

Daily Top List

Top European Islands, According To TripAdvisor

1. Santorini, Greece

2. Majorca, Spain

3. Madeira, Portugal

4. Crete, Greece

5. Tenerife, Spain

6. Rhodes, Greece

Source: CNN

Top Stories
Sabre CEO To Step Down At End Of Year
Sabre CEO To Step Down At End Of Year

Tom Klein plans to resign from his post as president and chief executive officer and from the board of directors on Dec. 31. 

ARC Offers New, Improved Business Intelligence Solutions
ARC Offers New, Improved Business Intelligence Solutions

The new version of Agency BI aims to provide travel agencies with a consolidated view of ticketing data and peer benchmark comparisons to measure performance across their business operations.

Amadeus Rolls Out ‘Total’ Cruise Booking Tool, And It’s Free
Amadeus Rolls Out ‘Total’ Cruise Booking Tool, And It’s Free

Amadeus said it will help agents increase revenues by outlining higher-priced options in an easy-to-use guide.

Don’t Cut Agents Out Of ‘Hotel-Direct’ Rates, Analyst Urges
Don’t Cut Agents Out Of ‘Hotel-Direct’ Rates, Analyst Urges

Yes, direct bookings are growing—but the GDS channel is growing 60% faster.

Allianz Introduces Upgraded Smartphone App; Info And Assistance At A Tap
Allianz Introduces Upgraded Smartphone App; Info And Assistance At A Tap

Travel insurance and travel assistance provider Allianz Global Assistance has launched Version 2.0 of its TravelSmart phone app for travelers, adding real-time flight information, important medical resources, international emergency numbers, access to travel insurance information and one-touch dialing to reach travel assistance and customer service.

Three Questions For Mark Lister, Chief Digital Officer, Ness SES, London
Three Questions For Mark Lister, Chief Digital Officer, Ness SES, London

“When I call my travel agency, they know the ins and outs of travel to South America. I know that they’ve got the information to make my trip better. There is definitely still room for specialists.”

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Travel Market Report Spotlight: Celebrity Cocktails