It’s been a while since we blogged about NDC – five months in fact – and, in that time, this most controversial of business travel issues has continued to dominate headlines. It also came up again and again at the GBTA Europe Conference last week. And it was there that I had an idea.
There has been a lot of negative comment about NDC, but I think it’s safe to say the industry agrees that the price transparency NDC provides is a positive thing for everyone: the airlines, the buyer and the traveller. By displaying everything from the basic fare, to the extras such as baggage fees, extra legroom costs and taxes, buyers and consumers can compare like for like for the first time when booking flights and airlines can compete fairly.
And this made me wonder. Does NDC have the potential to help travel managers drive and increase compliance while also keeping their travellers happy? Can it be both a carrot and a stick?
For example, if all airlines displayed a de-ancillaried price on NDC, TMCs could then negotiate any ancillary costs directly, and the choice of those ancillaries – up to the value of, say, five per cent of the air fare – could be left up to the traveller. So the traveller could decide if they prefer extra leg room, priority boarding or lounge access, for example, and this element of choice would help to make them feel like they were valued and had some element of control, while, in fact, they were being gently coerced into complying with policy. And a compliant traveller is every travel manager’s Holy Grail, right?.
By David Chapple
David Chapple is event director of the Business Travel Show, which takes place 4-5 February 2014 in London. Find out more at www.businesstravelshow.com. Comment on this blog below, or contact David on Twitter @btshowlondon