As a global provider of travel management services, Corporate Travel Management (CTM) has a responsibility to remain at the cutting edge of the ever-changing business travel landscape.
One of the latest evolutions to have a far-reaching impact on the industry is the New Distribution Capability (NDC). Headed up by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the NDC is a new technology standard that provides direct connections between airlines, travel agencies and travel technology providers. The aim is to enhance the capability of communications and demonstrate the entire value suppliers can show to their customers.
First to market
CTM is known for being first to market and we knew when IATA shared their NDC vision we couldn’t take a wait-and-see approach. So, we immediately began collaborating with airline and technology partners around the world. We wanted to ensure our customers would have seamless access to the best travel content and market competitive prices to drive better value to their travel programs. CTM has the luxury of having our own technology in each of the four regions we operate and, therefore, we have the flexibility to drive innovation that is relevant to these locations.
In May, CTM received the highest level of certification (level 3) for IATA’s NDC program. We are one of the first global travel management companies to achieve this significant milestone. In November, CTM became the first travel management company to enable a selection of corporate customers to access live NDC content via our online booking tool, Lightning, from a new technology platform launched by Qantas.
What will the NDC mean for users?
There are many ways the NDC could facilitate a better experience. It allows airlines to provide users with direct access to rich content that is more relevant to their travel preferences. This may include better fare comparison information and visibility of a wide variety of ancillary extras, such as more meal, baggage and seat allocation options.
Airlines can also improve filtering and search capabilities, while NDC also enables for the use of different media types, such as images and video. Travel managers will be able to control access levels and utilise advanced reporting capabilities.
A key differentiator allowing CTM to attain the highest NDC certification was our proprietary technology. CTM’s world-class development team works out of four global technology hubs, utilising direct customer feedback to ensure the most user-friendly and locally relevant travel tools.
The flexibility of CTM’s technology and the agility of our development teams, coupled with solid industry relationships and company processes, means we are both equipped and committed to integrating NDC into our platforms. CTM can deliver NDC content to users through our own proprietary SMART Technology platform and our connection capabilities are production ready now with some airlines.
To have our own NDC Level 3 compliant travel tools puts CTM in a good position to deliver highly relevant and customisable content to customers in the way they want it. It also reaffirms our commitment to providing customers with innovative solutions and first-to-market technology. In addition to our arrangement with Qantas, earlier in the year CTM signed a pan-European agreement with British Airways and Iberia that will see us work together on the implementation of NDC.
It seems that just about every day there is a new announcement related to the NDC. CTM continues to work with a range of airlines and technology partners across the industry on NDC connection capabilities.
The NDC program is set to have a profound effect on how air travel is booked and marketed to travellers in the years to come. CTM is excited about what this future will bring, as we continue to partner with our suppliers to produce great technology and efficient processes that will best service our customers’ needs across the globe.