What does NDC mean for you?

Have you heard about NDC yet? It stands for New Distribution Capability (NDC), a new communication protocol with technological standards developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). NDC will enable airlines to distribute air fares and other products better and more quickly via the various channels.

Why does IATA promote NDC? Today, airlines offer a wide variety of air fares and other products via their websites, which may be attractive to business travellers. Think of services such as early boarding, lounge access, special seats, etc. The current way of distributing fares to the systems of travel agents does not allow the distribution of all these extra products. As a result, TMCs cannot offer them to their customers. NDC will facilitate the distribution of all products, and special offers will also be able to be customised on the basis of a traveller’s profile and specific preferences.

What does this mean for Travel Managers? Travellers now still need to log in separately with the airline or frequent flyer programme after making the booking to get access to the priority seat selection they are entitled to and any other extra ‘products’. The costs involved are diffuse, expense reimbursement flows may deviate, and checking compliance with company policy becomes very complex. It all creates a lot of extra work, which NDC will put an end to.

With the NDC standard, everything can be booked via one channel, which means your Travel Manager will get better insight into the actual costs of flights. Personal preferences, such as reserved seats and extra luggage, are included in the booking straightaway. This creates more control over these expenses, and it allows VCK Travel to monitor your travel policy, just as we have always done.

What does this mean for business travellers? Using an NDC booking, business travellers will receive a customised offer based on personal preferences. Because all personal options are included in the booking directly, personal preference options no longer need to be booked separately via a frequent flyer programme. This means that the booking can be finalised much quicker. The expense reimbursement claims will also be easier, as all purchases will go via VCK Travel, your TMC, as part of the same process as all other expenses. In addition, business travellers can rest assured that everything will be booked in compliance with the relevant company policy.

VCK Travel is keeping a close eye on things Although the NDC concept sounds fantastic and easy to use, not many bookings are made through NDC yet. Despite the fact that airlines are talking about it a lot, in practice, NDC is still not really suitable for organising business trips. By the end of this year, travel agents are expected to get access to a more suitable booking tool.

We currently use what is known as a GDS (Global Distribution System) for our international reservation and information system. Worldwide, there are three main GDSs: Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport. We are currently in consultation about NDC with these GDSs, as well as with airlines and new third parties who are working on the distribution of NDC content. In 2018, for example, we expressed our commitment to KLM. Developments are in full swing everywhere. By keeping the dialogue going with all relevant parties, we’re closely following these developments to make sure we’ll be ready for the next step. We hope you’ll soon be able to enjoy the benefits of NDC, while we will continue to monitor compliance with your travel policy in the best possible way!

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