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Report proves travel agents seek more knowledge

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) recently launched its new program, New Distribution Capability, and travel agents are keen to know more.

A new study conducted by IATAS shows travel agents want more information on the new NDC program

That’s according to a study, conducted by IATA and select members of the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA). It indicates that travel agents look forward to the opportunities New Distribution Capability (NDC) will bring and seek more information about the initiative.


NDC is a travel industry-supported program. Its goal is the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard that is intended to enhance communications between airlines and travel agents.


In conducting the study, IATA partnered with associations representing travel agencies in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. It was carried out by Atmosphere Research Group and T2Impact, and included 22 qualitative interviews with travel agents around the world and surveys from approximately 1,000 agents.


The study shows that On average 76 per cent of travel agencies book airline ancillary products and services with most using airline websites to do so.


Agents are concerned about the loss of productivity associated with moving back and forth between their standard screen displays and airline websites in order to book ancillary options.


Agents recognise that airline websites offer the most complete selection of airline product and service options and they believe they are at a competitive disadvantage owing to this disparity.


A majority of agents believe NDC can help them be more competitive and customer-focused and will make selling airline ancillary products more efficient.


And finally, travel agents expect to be compensated for selling ancillary products and services.


“The study bears out that the travel agent channel as currently situated is not able to efficiently meet all the needs of air travelers,” began Aleks Popovich, IATA Senior VP Financial and Distribution Services.


“NDC will address this gap by enabling efficient access to content that currently is available only on airline websites.


Jayson Westbury, CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel agents and spokesperson for the participating agency associations, added, “The NDC discussion has been around the global travel industry for many years. This study has brought to light some important and interesting insights from the travel agency perspective and is welcomed by those agency associations that have been involved.”


The study also concluded that the development of branded fares, sometimes referred to as fare families, has created some confusion in the travel agency community. Around one in four travel agencies are uncertain whether they book fare families or branded fares.


Also, a plurality of agents (43 per cent) take a deliberately slow pace in adopting new technology and in adopting NDC, agencies will likely rely on GDSs most for support.

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Written by: Jessica Zoiti

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