Everything You Need to Know about NDC: Small Agencies

In our previous blog post in this series (linked here) we gave a bit of an introduction to NDC: what it is, what it does, and how it fits into the flight booking flow. Now, let’s talk about how NDC can work for travel agents and small travel agencies.

The first thing to note is that in a survey conducted by IATA, it was found that travel agencies, on average, already book 26% of their flights on platforms other than a GDS. This means that most agencies are already thinking outside the box on ways to meet their customers needs. NDC is a great way to help with that, and can be a great asset working in conjunction with traditional GDSs. One of the main intentions behind NDC is to allow agencies to increase their productivity in selling airline tickets and ancillaries, as everything can be accessed more quickly and efficiently.

How people buy air travel is constantly changing, and it seems that people will be more likely to use agents post-pandemic. As ancillary sales continue to rise, employing NDC could be a great way to maximize agent time and max out each sale’s potential.

Let's cover accessibility first.

As a travel agent, how can you access NDC?

There are multiple ways a travel agent can access NDC. Determining which access method is the best for your travel agency depends on the company’s goals. What are your company’s resource constraints? What is the desired outcome? There are pros and cons to every method, so look at every option before deciding what’s best for you. 

The first option is utilizing your GDS to create the offers. This is considered the legacy system, as it has largely dominated the industry to this point. A popular and relatively easy option is to work with aggregators, like Kyte. Aggregators deliver information to travel providers from airlines, who create the offers and process the actual payments. Sometimes, airlines sell to travel agents directly through an API connection, and others still will sell directly to travellers through their own website. There are options that fit every travel agents’ existing process, and an agency can even employ multiple options, depending on the needs of their particular client base!  

So, what are some of the benefits of adopting NDC as a travel agent or small agency? 

The benefits of adopting NDC as a travel agent include:

  1. Provides travel agents and airlines with better profit margins. 
  2. Simplifies communication from the airline down the distribution chain. 
  3. Allows airlines to adapt to market demands and reduce time-to-market. 

Conversely, some of the potential drawbacks of adopting NDC as a travel agent are things like:

  1. Complicated to implement
  2. Requires more aggregators, eating into profit margins
  3. NDC standards are not yet standardized

Choosing What's Right for You

In principle, NDC solves many of the travel industry’s communication and integration challenges. However, the monumental task of converting the entire travel industry’s legacy system is has proven to be no small feat. 

NDC can be an effective tool for travel agents as long as the benefits out weigh the costs. Travel agents should carefully consider the implications of adopting NDC as a means to better serve their clients and push technology forward within the travel industry.

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