In today’s rapidly changing travel industry, delivering standout customer experiences and maintaining a competitive edge are non-negotiables for travel agents. IATA New Distribution Capability (NDC) has ushered in an era of consumer-centric retailing that’s a winning formula for agents in the current landscape. They have opened new possibilities for travel sellers to redefine how they serve their customers through flexible, dynamic, and differentiated offers. This article discusses the advantages of the NDC and retailing paradigm shift for agents worldwide. Let’s dive in and explore!
- Richer Content: Access to travel extras is just the starting point; the real game-changer is how agents showcase them. Want to make that premium cabin irresistible or that in-flight meal a must-have? NDC makes it possible. It provides travel agents with rich, visually compelling content straight from airlines. With NDC, agents do not list options, they have the tools to sell them.
- Personalisation: Travel agents have long relied on personal relationships to grow their businesses and build loyal clientele. Thanks to NDC and modern retailing, airlines can now leverage data, to take this tried and true practice to a new level. Airlines can now use data such as frequent flier program membership or analysis of shopping activity to create and return customized offers. By fusing the art of personalization with science, agents can amplify the opportunity to win over loyal customers.
- Direct Airline Relationships: NDC acts as a catalyst for deepening agent-airline partnerships, empowering agents to broker direct commercial deals with carriers. Armed with exclusive rates and unique content, agents can carve out a differentiated market position and benefit from improved margins.
- Seamless Agent Experiences: NDC and modern retailing have been shaping the future of travel for almost a decade. But let’s face it – workflows critical for the travel agent business have been slow to mature. In addition, to access NDC offers, agents have had to manage different portals on the desktop to supplement content from the GDS green screen. Such challenges have unfortunately diluted the agent value of the transformational shift – until now. Today, browser-based, intuitive agent solutions enable travel sellers to seamlessly shop, book, and, importantly, service airline offers from multiple sources, including NDC, Low-Cost Carriers (LCCs), and the traditional GDS, in a single application. They enable agents to reap the benefits of retailing content from all sources while maintaining contracts with the GDS. With low overheads and swift time-to-value, this smart technology puts the retailing opportunity squarely within agent reach.
- Dynamic Pricing: Dynamic pricing is more than industry jargon; it is an airline strategy that provides travel agents with a goldmine of opportunity. By freeing airlines from the constraints of static fare classes, dynamic pricing gives agents access to pricing that reflects current market conditions. From last-minute seat upgrades to competitive fares and bundles, agents can secure the best real-time deals for their customers. This ability to snag the best offers better positions agents to meet the evolving demands of the modern consumer.
- Ancillary Revenue Boost: NDC and modern retailing are potent tools for boosting revenue through ancillary sales. Now, travel agents can offer their customers a wide range of extra products and services, that airlines provide, to enhance the travel experience, such as premium seat selection, in-flight gourmet meals, WI-FI packages, and priority boarding. The availability of new ancillary products means agencies can unlock a treasure trove of options beyond the basics and, at the same time, tap into an additional source of revenue.
NDC and modern retailing provide agents with new ways to thrive in today’s dynamic operating environment. The benefits are manifold and add up to new levels of customer satisfaction, agent differentiation, and, ultimately, business growth. While concepts are not new, the hurdles that once deterred full-scale agent adoption are fading, making it easier than ever for agents to leverage NDC’s full potential. So, if you’re a travel agent looking to differentiate and embrace the retailing opportunity, why wait? It has never been easier to get started, and we are here to support you in your journey.