May 26, 2024

Amex GBT claims NDC first with online content

American Express Global Business Travel says it has become the first TMC to connect to the GDS in order to offer NDC content online.

The content, currently in pilot but due for full release in 2020, has been made available with the latest iteration of its online booking tool, Neo.

The OBT now connects to the Amadeus NDC-X and Sabre Beyond NDC platforms, with work on Travelport integration ongoing.

GBT has also integrated Routehappy information, meaning users can now see more details about what is included in an air fare and also details of specific aircraft such as wifi availability, meal choices and seat pitches.

The next phase will include ticket components such as lounge access and baggage allowance.

“Travel managers and travellers expect TMCs to provide a comprehensive set of airline options in one shopping experience, and to avoid having to seek non-GDS fares through costly third parties or direct airline booking channels,” says the TMC.

It says it now looks forward to updates from key online booking tool partners also used by its clients.

“Some OBTs are still in pilot mode, but we expect many to scale-up with GBT and GDSs throughout 2020,” it says.

John Bukowski, GBT’s Director of Content Distribution, adds: “Connecting with the GDSs for NDC content and with Routehappy for product and amenity information demonstrates our commitment to continue providing a complete content offering that can be shopped and compared in a transparent environment.

“As a standard, NDC will only work if it can help us deliver on this promise at scale to provide real value to companies and business travellers. We are focused on delivering an enhanced user experience while working with customers to ensure they continue to have control of their programs.”

GBT is currently working with a range of airlines on joint retailing initiatives – including American Airlines, United, Delta, Air France-KLM, International Airlines Group (IAG) and Qantas – but criticized others who “remain isolated in their approach to retailing, choosing instead to hide content, add cost and remove transparency”.

Bukowski says: “Some carriers have chosen to pursue strategies that fragment the shopping and booking process, adding cost and clouding transparency by removing content from the GDSs.

“It is our hope that these airlines soon recognise the value we can collectively deliver to customers if we embrace efficient, integrated solutions.”