NDC Q&A with Rose Stratford of BCD Travel

What did BCD work on?

BCD has a more proven track record than any other global TMC in delivering new distribution opportunities for the world’s largest airlines to our clients, having evaluated and tested multiple airlines across multiple technologies and platforms. Since 2019, we have been delivering Lufthansa Group Airlines NDC content to our customers via offline and online channels in Europe. As part of its multi-million platform investment, BCD actively engages with key industry stakeholders to evaluate, develop and test (NDC) solutions with various airlines and technology partners in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific.

Rose Stratford, Executive Vice President of Global Supplier Relations and Strategic Sourcing, BCD Travel

From the beginning, our work in this area has focused on finding solutions to meet the fundamental requirements of enterprise NDC transactional programs: customers expect complete content that goes beyond reservations to provide full service and support capabilities.

Current development and testing initiatives include:

  • Air France-KLM, American Airlines and Singapore Airlines through the NDCx Amadeus environment
  • Qantas, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines through the Beyond NDC Saber environment
  • British Airways through BCD’s own AgentSource platform
  • Lufthansa Group complete customer-specific NDC content

Our extensive, rigorous testing has shown that partnering with major GDSs is critical to creating a reliable, stable and efficient platform that will digitally transform the booking environment.

Where do you see stumbling blocks?

Current NDC solutions create their own challenges and impact our customers. Data collection, payment and reconciliation processes; service use cases; availability of content and consistency of display in OBC; and end-to-end integration of all tools and channels requires extensive collaboration between all industry partners.

Most of the NDC news focuses on airline shopping and booking opportunities. Probably some of them are available. And we understand that for airlines, offering a comprehensive range of content in an attractive way is key to differentiating their products and services in the market.

In the interest of our customers and the company, I hope our industry will push the agenda to move NDC content and the new services it promises into an environment that enables efficient, cost-effective shopping, booking and service across all content providers and channels booking. and tools. There is still a lot of work here.

In general, we have identified the following issues that may require additional manual processing. Features depend on the capabilities of the individual airline or technology partner.

Changes, cancellations, refunds Some exchange options require alternative tools, manual processes and additional communication channels with the airline to manage
Changes in the schedule Manual intervention is required to manage some airline schedule changes and information transmission
Corporate rates Contradictory displays of corporate rates
Supporting content Ticketing Document Management (EMD) both during the initial booking and during booking changes may require alternative airline communication tools and channels, as well as manual processes
Payment Limitations on accepted forms of payment
Data and reporting Limitations in reporting data
User interface and displays NDC content is seamlessly integrated with existing content sources, limiting comparison shopping across online booking tools and agent desktops
Non-woven fabric Interline is not possible

As we invest in and develop our own sales and service platforms, we will continue to work with all partners (airlines, GDS and online booking tools) to develop, aggregate and deliver relevant NDC content – ​​at scale.

What to expect from BCD now and in 2023?

Working together with our technology partners will enable us to deliver much of the transformation that NDC promises to bring. We continue to spend a lot of time with these partners to inform them and influence their strategies. Our goal is to make sure our enterprise customers’ content and functionality needs are met across all channels. We will deliver further large-scale solutions using GDS-based NDC solutions, starting with Air France/KLM this year. In 2023, we will expand to include more airlines and regions.

Realizing the transformative potential of the NDC cannot happen in a vacuum. As part of our testing and development initiatives, we look at industry challenges and gaps more broadly. As part of the IATA Global Travel Management Executive Council NDC Working Group and the Travel Management Company, we help harness the power of an entire industry to create effective NDC solutions.

Our latest IATA Retailing Maturity accreditation demonstrates our commitment to remain at the forefront of ongoing evolution in supporting airline retailing initiatives. NDC Q&A with Rose Stratford of BCD Travel

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