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

Travel advisors should reach and assist travelers during the ‘micro-moments’ of the travel experience, reinforce their value-add to consumers, and refer them to digital tools when appropriate. As the online and offline travel worlds come together, everything has changed while nothing has changed.

Dave Pavelko
Partnerships director for Travel Google Inc.

Daily Top List

Best Travel Books Of All Time

1. On the Road - Jack Kerouac

2. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - Laurie Lee

3. Naples '44 - Norman Lewis

4. Coasting - Jonathan Raban

5. Travels with Charley: In Search of America - John Steinbeck


Source: The Independent

Top Stories
Sabre Earnings, Bookings Boosted By Abacus Acquisition
Sabre Earnings, Bookings Boosted By Abacus Acquisition

Sabre Corp.’s total bookings increased 27.9%, to 134.9 million, in the first quarter.

Farelogix, ATPCO Unveil Ancillary Offer Engine
Farelogix, ATPCO Unveil Ancillary Offer Engine

ATPCO and Farelogix have joined forces to develop an Ancillary Offer Engine that will take airlines, travel agencies and GDSs closer to the early vision of IATA’s New Distribution Capability.

Allianz Global Assistance USA Turns to Twitter Chats
Allianz Global Assistance USA Turns to Twitter Chats

The travel insurance company is using the technology “to build community, enhance brand awareness, and engage with opinion leaders in the travel industry,” says Allianz Global Assistance USA spokesperson Sarah Fouts.

New Portal To Help Agencies, Corporations Recover Air Travel Compensation
New Portal To Help Agencies, Corporations Recover Air Travel Compensation

Refund.me Group, the passenger rights travel technology company, launched Refund.me Business Solutions, a B2B web portal that provides worldwide automatic processing of business air-travel compensation claims. 

Keeping Your Data Safe On Free WiFi: 3Q with iPass’s Gary Griffiths
Keeping Your Data Safe On Free WiFi: 3Q with iPass’s Gary Griffiths

In this week’s column, Gary Griffiths takes on TMR editor Cheryl Rosen’s three questions about how to protect your private emails when using public WiFi on the road.

ARC Publishes Debit Memo Reason Codes
ARC Publishes Debit Memo Reason Codes

The project aims to address a longstanding problem with debit memos: Every carrier has its own way of describing the reason a debit memo is issued. Now they will all be speaking the same “debit memo language.”

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