There was a time when you had a GDS terminal and could quickly serve customers in the green screen with learned cryptic commands. No special treatments for low-cost carriers, no additional fees from airlines, no additional services and no customers who could simply compare on the internet, all fares and bookings / PNRs were more or less available in one central place. And today?
Time to Rethink! If Not Already Done…
As the much quoted quotation from Leon C. Megginson based on the research findings of Charles Darwin says:
„It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Darwin may have done research in nature, but that can be easily applied to the economy. There are enough negative examples: Kodak, Quelle and Nokia immediately come to mind. Positive examples include: Netflix, CEWE and Lego.
The distribution world of travel has turned. Not all rates (e.g. NDC or LCC) or even additional services are available in the GDS. The booking world of agents has expanded and with it many new processes have emerged, which also mean some manual and administrative effort. Customers want simple digital processes and a close link between offline and online and, since Corona, they also increasingly want a partner at their side to advise and help them and to ensure that the business traveler requires a minimum of time for his business travel booking, receives a good offer and is accompanied and supported digitally as best as possible during the trip.
So in the end, a good starting position for travel agencies/TMCs. Virtual meetings and the sustainability aspect will reduce business travel in the future, but the additional services of the travel agencies and the added value can generate higher revenues and margins. At the same time, the use of appropriate systems and automation can reduce costs and thus also counteract the loss of employees due to corona-related departures.
What to Do? The New Way of Travel Distribution
A landscape is needed in which the relevant systems (including TMCs own) are optimally linked with each other and the processes run digitally and automatically. In other words, a network of suitable partners and possibly also in-house developments. Everything from a single source was therefore yesterday – today it is about optimal integration of the relevant providers. This also creates independence and the necessary user and customer experience.
The graphic is just an example how everything could be linked together:
- An independent data source for travel/mobility content and enriched service data for the various user interfaces for all stakeholders in the ecosystem (e.g. travelers, travel arranger, travel managers and agents).
- An independent profile management system for all traveler/organizational data and preferences as well as agent/agency data.
- One itinerary and export of relevant data (e.g. PNR data or additional data information like ancillary services) at the right point of time to the service provider like duty of care companies, traveler/trip support app companies, mid-/backoffice provider and BI systems.
Such a multi-source platform may even have to support two workflows: the traditional ATPCO workflow and the new NDC workflow. This proves the complexity predicted by my colleague Michael Strauss back in 2017 to be true. At that time he wrote:
“The proposition of NDC means that a “formerly relatively lean distribution chain will become a complicated commercial landscape with numerous airlines, numerous TMCs (or corporations) and several technology providers – all being connected to each other on a technological, as well as commercial, level.”
The Time for Change is NOW! Find the right providers for you in the market to be fit for the future and to successfully assert yourself on the market.
PASS SolutionWorld Travel
Picture: Shutterstock; Illustration: PASS