September 27, 2016

Distribution 2020: A big change for travel agents


The year 2020 is less than four years away, but there will be at least one significant development on the travel distribution front, according to Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst with Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco.

“The implementation of NDC” - IATA’s New Distribution Capability technical standard - “will have the most profound effect because of what it will enable,” Harteveldt said. “Travel agents will be able to sell relevant, personal offers to better serve their clients.”

The move to an NDC world will be an ongoing process rather than a “Hollywood-style miracle.” But that process is already under way. “NDC is now being used day in and day out in the real world,” Harteveldt said. “This is the first wave, and it’s nowhere near the finished state. It is an evolving set of standards and commands.”

Harteveldt believes that agents will appreciate the potential NDC offers to give clients what they really want. “That will be different things for different people,” he said. “Some people want cheap - they’re fine with a seat and a seatbelt, whether they’re on a domestic flight or flying to Asia or Africa. Others will want a mix of amenities.”

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