While in the leisure segments sales via NDC are progressing, the same is not true for the complex business travel ecosystem. But Stéphane Ormand, the new head of distribution at Air France-KLM assures him: the company will be ready for the spring, and will set up an NDC surcharge “of one or two euros”.
The latest figures provided by Iata confirm it: 25% of the indirect distribution of the world’s top 20 airlines is done via the famous new NDC channel. But for business travel more specifically, the proportion would be closer to zero.
The subject was discussed arround of a round table on Thursday, January 20, during the Grand Live du voyage d’affaires organized by CDS Groupe.
There is still a long way to go to convince corporate clients that NDC is a good thing.
he standard adaptation to the complex ecosystem of business travel is still stuck. “The penetration levels are very significant on the leisure part, but on the TMC part it’s more complicated: the back office must be connected, customer services are more sophisticated , we have to go through aggregators like Amadeus…”, recognizes Stéphane Ormand, new distribution manager for Air France-KLM.
End of private channels
The latter assures us: it is a matter of months before Air France deploys its solution for TMCs. “Before the summer, we will come out of the pilot phase, the ramp-up is now ,” he explains.
Which means, for April-May, the end of the famous private channels which made it possible not to pay GDS surcharges. startig the spring, Air France will open the NDC floodgates for the TMCs but with additional costs per segment purchased.
“There will be a small surcharge for the purchase of tickets via NDC, one or two euros” , launches Stéphane Ormand. “Nothing to do with the GDS overload,” he tempers.
An option which would undoubtedly imply, for the TMCs, to pass on the cost to the end customers. Note that Lufthansa for its part, indicates that it does not set up specific fees for the NDC channel.
Buyers not convinced
On the purchasing side, it is still difficult to see the outcome of NDC to the point that some, behind the scenes, speak of “window dressing” , or of a system “ too opaque for travel buyers ” .
“We have a hard time imagining what this will be like for us. It’s not going the way we had imagined. What value is added to NDC if we have access to the same content as on the GDS? asks Amandine Roset , travel manager at Arkema. “I have a small doubt that NDC will erase the GDS,” she adds.
“For the Air France part, we are working on adjustments for presales, back-office integration, robotics, payment methods that cannot yet be changed… There are lots of small adjustments to be sure that the traveler behind his phone is always satisfied”, says Aude Kremer, technology director at FCM Travel.
On the TMC side, the same black spots remain: the presale of tickets, modifications, refunds… The same fears are still put forward: deployment schedules, transparency, hidden costs…
Evidenced by the results of a survey, launched during the debates Thursday, January 20. To the question “Do you think NDC is progress in business travel”, 37% of respondents evidently answered “yes”. On the other hand, 40% answered “don’t know” and 25% think “no”. The road is indeed still long.