IATA New Distribution Capability. How Airlines Can Implement NDC Quickly.

By Hélène Dubos | Technology

Feb 17

In recent years there has been a mood among airlines that the Global Distribution Systems have too much control over how the content – and even the brand message – of airline offers are portrayed.

For many airline marketers, GDS limits creativity and makes it hard for airlines to promote the differentiators between their brand and products, and those of their competitors.

In the meantime, the advent of airlines websites has provided significant freedom of action in the offer promotion, which has put emphasis on the constraints undergone by the indirect distribution tool for airlines.

The NDC New Distribution Capability initiative from IATA gives airlines the opportunity to take back control of how their offer is built and described in words and images, and how its content is disseminated through online and offline travel partners.

Therefore, airlines need to somehow re-learn how to build their own offer (they have already started to do so when working on their website). Once correctly used by the airline, NDC schemas allow sharing it to any of its partners, far beyond what current standards would do.


Differentiation and branding with NDC.

NDC gives airlines the power to emphasise the advantages of their own product offer versus competitors.

Rather than entirely relying on IT providers such as GDS, airlines will now be able to push their offer to sales channels. Of great benefit, airlines will also be able to drive rich messages directly to their NDC-compliant partners.

So instead of a simple entry in a sales channel giving just bare details like schedule and price, the airline can show innovative offers (with competitive advantages such as extra-large seats or additional services available) without external constraints and promote their offers with appetizing format photos, video and textual content to any distribution channel.


Before and After. Extract of the IATA Implementation guide.

flight distribution resize


Conztanz helps airlines implement NDC at a marketing and technical level.

Helene Millet is a Senior Expert at Conztanz. As a member of the IATA NDC
DDX (Distribution Data Exchange) committee, she has helped define the features of NDC. She was on the IATA NDC working groups for ‘shopping & order management’, and is now co-lead for the Implementation Guide Taskforce, producing this reference document for airlines willing to move to NDC.

As such, Millet is in an ideal position to manage the NDC consulting package offered by Conztanz. “We help airlines to understand the marketing/sales opportunities that NDC presents,” Millet says, “and also to implement an NDC compliant technical solution.”

NDC is an XML industry standard, defined by IATA, but Helene says that developing and integrating the NDC stream requires specialist skills and good airline knowledge. “NDC will be disruptive for how airlines operate”, Millet enthuses. “Our NDC consulting package helps airlines, especially their marketing & sales team, to get into the new NDC world more quickly, and so decrease their time to market.”


Conztanz Multi Channel Analytics is ‘NDC on steroids’.

Once airlines have taken the first step of adopting NDC, Millet and her team can optionally take airlines to the next level of marketing potency with personalization.

Millet explains: “Our CXM engine can take customer data from multiple sources in order to help airlines pushing the relevant offer depending on their own purchasing history and interest. Even across independent retail channels.”

“In the past, content of the product and relative information were very constrained and, as a result, every company had a very similar message, everywhere. With NDC it’s possible to push rich data like video … and even adapt the information to viewer, channel and location.”

The CXM engine can aggregate data from diverse sources like frequent flyer membership, travel history – or soon social networks and reseller records – to create a highly personalized shopping experience for travelers.

As with the entry-level NDC consulting, Millet and her team can advise airlines on how to achieve NDC personalization and multi source analytics with the CXM engine.


Making each traveler’s experience better

Conztanz is a software and IT consulting company, specialized in providing innovative digital solutions for the travel industry. Our solution is powered by a sophisticated integration data platform running as an intelligent bridge between airlines’ Information System and Passenger Service Systems.

Now with our NDC consulting package, we can help airlines to add value to their offer in today’s indirect and web-centric marketing model.

The true value of NDC is the direct application of BUYER* criteria to the INVENTORY not the aggregation of inventory as BUYER data contains more than 50% of the decision criteria.

*BUYER can be traveler but more important: PAYER+traveler (specifically in business travel)

    Hélène Millet

    Hi Christian, as you know NDC standards do not define how aggregation is done: this is entirely the aggregator/the seller’s call.
    So in our article we were taking the airline’s point of view: as NDC enables them to push their own offer, (in today’s world, GDS are the ones buiding the offer for TA or TMC) they can take the best of their knowledge of the Customer (or Buyer, to whom we can add Payer, as you rightly put it) to push what he expects (and what is likely to be chosen). It can be called “personnalisation” in case of leisure travel.
    In case of business travel, it is true that rules to build the offer could come from the travel manager of the firm the Customer belongs to: in that case I would think that the firm finds interest in sharing those rules with the Airlines.
    Using NDC creates a win-win situation: “tell me who you are (or what your firm wants) and I will offer you what you are looking for”
    Our CXM proposal is to help the airline gathering the Customer knowledge, to propose a better offer.

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