FCM Travel Solutions’ drive to lead integration of a long-term digital NDC booking solution globally in the corporate sector has moved up a gear with technology partners Amadeus and Sabre.
FCM and parent company Flight Centre have reached a major milestone in Amadeus’ NDC-X program - travel consultants have begun testing the new graphical NDC-enabled user interface within Amadeus Selling Platform Connect.
The design incorporates FCM’s feedback and creates an intuitive user experience that caters to the diverse booking needs across different markets. FCM expects the first live booking of NDC airline content via the enhanced Amadeus solution to be made within the next three months.
FCM has also engaged in high level cross-industry workshops with Sabre since becoming a launch partner in the technology provider’s Beyond NDC initiative. These workshops addressed NDC servicing gaps such as refunds and booking changes, net fares in an NDC environment and issues around number of passengers in a PNR.
The TMC has worked closely with Sabre to provide valuable insights into development of a solution that provides a scalable platform to deliver NDC content to FCM customers and discussions are now underway with Sabre to commence testing the technology provider’s NDC API.
Additionally, in the UK, FCM brought together travel buyers and procurement managers from current and prospective clients last month to give them an overview of airline distribution and the rationale behind IATA’s decision to create an NDC standard. A key element of the event was a session entitled ‘NDC: The Strategy Game’ when delegates were led through a series of round-table activities and asked to debate and prioritise statements linked to the impact of NDC on their travel programmes under the categories: Customer, Control, Care, Cost. Delegates were almost unanimous in placing duty of care & traveller safety as their top priorities, followed by traveller experience and cost savings. Seeking clients’ views in this way gives FCM valuable insights into the relevance of NDC, which will feed into the TMC’s overall distribution strategy.
“We have really moved things into a higher gear in terms of driving our NDC roadmap forward over the last couple of months, particularly since we established a dedicated global distribution team to spearhead industry collaboration between technology and GDS providers, TMCs and airlines in developing solutions to book and service NDC content,” said Marcus Eklund, Global Managing Director, FCM Travel Solutions.
“NDC will increasingly become a reality in 2019, but our goal has always been to balance the short-term priorities of NDC with building a long-term, workable solution with our technology partners at Amadeus and Sabre.
“If you draw an analogy with moving into a new house, the ultimate vision for NDC is the perfect smart home where everything works and you have Alexa in every room. However, the airlines are pushing us to move into a half-built house. There is still a lot of work to be done. That’s why we are piloting solutions with our technology partners to make sure that when we do move into that house, we can give our customers an even better business travel experience. The last thing we want to create for ourselves and our customers is more inefficiencies when booking flights and managing data,” explained Eklund.