In the early days of airline distribution, travel agents relied on Computer Reservation Systems (CRS) to check and reserve flight tickets for their customers. The wide adoption of CRS led to the rise of GDS, which provided travel agents with the unified console they needed to simplify the ticketing and booking process.
Why is the use of GDS declining?
Though GDS is still in use today, its usage is gradually diminishing within the industry. One of the key reasons behind this is the difficulty airlines had in marketing their services and generating profit. Travel agents had a restricted view of airline products due to the presence of external service providers and could not fully sell these services to their customers. Due to the complexity of traditional GDS booking systems, agents could always be liable to fines like Agency Debit Memos.
In order to clear these roadblocks away, IATA launched New Distribution Capability (NDC), an XML based data transmission standard in 2015. It provided airlines monetary benefits and the opportunity to be key players within the retail space. This made it easier for travel agents to book tickets and search for customer specific airline services without undergoing any rigorous training process. They could even earn better commissions when booking tickets through NDC.
How does NDC work?
NDC makes it possible for airlines to sell their products and services without worrying about any intermediaries being in the way. It gives them more control over their distribution workflow by allowing them to:
- Add relevant services based on specific customer needs
- Display value-added rich content on various facilities
- Bring in more products to the market to meet growing customer demands
The need for NDC aggregators
Airlines can either market to customers directly or distribute their content indirectly through NDC aggregators. These aggregators work closely with NDC integrated airlines and are the bridge that connects airlines and travel agents together.
IATA has its own certification program to test the level of capabilities an entity can own in sending and receiving NDC messages. Based on their level of capability, NDC aggregators can either be certified as Level 2, Level 3 or Level 4 aggregators. The NDC standard uses XML messaging schemas to streamline the communication and content distribution between the airline and travel agent.
Source : https://www.iata.org/contentassets/6de4dce5f38b45ce82b0db42acd23d1c/get-started-ndc.pdf
Verteil Direct Connect (VDC)
VDC is an ARM Index certified distribution platform by Verteil Technologies. VDC was created in 2016 to enable travel agents and other travel service providers to book flights and have direct access to an airline's ancillaries. We remain one of the few NDC aggregator platforms having integrations with more than 35 NDC airlines.
How VDC makes airline distribution easier
We have an intuitive B2B platform that cuts down the need for travel agents to rely on intermediaries to search and book flight tickets. It doesn’t matter what the customer requests are, agents can easily check for flight availability within the portal and personalise the search requests with the use of advanced filters.
In addition to booking the ancillary services of your choice, VDC also provides a detailed overview of recent bookings, departures, payments due and schedule changes of the itineraries you have booked. Multiple reports such as DSR reports and Agency Credit reports can be viewed and downloaded from the portal. Online Travel Agents (OTA) can also integrate VDC’s universal API to extend their distribution capabilities.
- Access NDC content from over 40 airlines
- Simplified ticketing and booking through B2B web portal and API access
- Avail ancillaries such as extra baggage, preferred seating and more
- Full visibility into fare rules and baggage allowance
- Post ticketing services
- Automated itinerary modification
- Access to branded fares and lower NDC fares
What’s in store - Future plans unveiled
Plans are already in motion to launch a new model “Open Connect” soon. With Open Connect, all travel agents can access the features open to IATA agents by booking tickets and ancillaries with our IATA certification. We also have an extensive list of NDC airlines in our pipeline and will be integrating with them by the end of this year.
Want to reach out to us?
If you are from an airline, into corporate travel, or a travel agent, we would love to tell you more about how Verteil Direct Connect can help you.
Please write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
IATA Agents can register here to get started with Verteil
Non IATA Agents can register here