Questions to ask yourself about your NDC supplier strategy
NDC has created a new list of considerations for companies when choosing air travel suppliers. Developing an effective strategy requires alignment of your business travel needs with the NDC offerings of airlines, travel management companies (TMCs), online booking tools (OBTs), and re-shopping solutions.
Here are some key questions you should ask yourself to optimise your NDC supplier strategy.
Which airlines are most relevant for your programme both regionally and globally?
Why you should ask this question: Prioritisation is key. Even if an airline has strong NDC offerings, there’s no point in investing time and resources into those that don't align with your travel needs.
Which of those relevant airlines currently support NDC?
Why you should ask this question: Not all airlines have NDC content ready to book. Knowing which airlines are actively participating in NDC is crucial for informed decision-making.
What does their NDC content differentiation look like?
Why you should ask this question: Find out if your preferred airlines’ NDC offering is meaningfully different to the content they’re already sharing through traditional (EDIFACT) channels. If it’s not currently, this may affect how much of a priority accessing this content is for your business.
What types of airfares does your business typically book?
Why you should ask this question: Many NDC-exclusive airfares have inflexibility or restrictions that are incompatible with business travel, for example airlines’ lowest fare brands. To be valuable, NDC fares must work for your travellers.
Which airlines do you have a contract with, and have you negotiated NDC fares?
Why you should ask this question: If preferred airlines have NDC content that differs meaningfully from traditional content, consider incorporating NDC into contract negotiations.
Which TMC(s) and OBT(s) are you using, and what does their roadmap look like for NDC?
Why you should ask this question: You will need to consider whether your TMC and OBT can offer NDC content for each airline you’re interested in, without compromising your traveller’s ability to book and manage their trips, service quality, or productivity.
What NDC sources are your TMC and OBT using, and do they have additional means of accessing NDC content?
Why you should ask this question: Tracking the GDS's NDC roadmap and understanding how it affects the NDC content your TMC and OBT can offer is key. Equally, it’s important to understand if your TMC or OBT has capability to deliver NDC content beyond GDS development – for example by using proprietary or third party tech.
How automated is the servicing of that NDC content?
Why you should ask this question: Every minute counts when booking business travel, and manual fulfilment of NDC servicing due to technical or airline limitations creates unnecessary bottlenecks. Consider if offline servicing aligns with your strategy.
How will NDC affect any re-shopping solutions I use?
Why you should ask this question: Not all airlines permit the re-shopping of NDC content. Your re-shopping solution provider should support, or plan to support both traditional and NDC content.
Developing your NDC strategy?
Asking and answering these key questions will help you make informed decisions that set your company up for the future of NDC and air travel. Need assistance? Our FCM Consulting experts are here to help you craft an air programme that incorporates NDC and sets your company up for success.