May 26, 2024

Buyer sentiment softens towards NDC

Almost half (45%) of travel buyers feel airlines are pushing NDC bookings too quickly, according to the latest GBTA Business Travel Outlook Poll.

But the figure is lower than the 53% who expressed that opinion in the previous poll in April.

When asked to rank their risk-related priorities for 2024, one in five of the 865 global members surveyed (22%) expect integrating NDC distribution channels will be most prioritised by their company. 

Most buyers (71%) strongly feel they still need more information and education on NDC, which is significantly high but down from 81% in April.

Half of buyers have not yet started to implement NDC.

More feel third-party intermediaries (36%) should be ready to handle and service NDC bookings, which is up from 29% in April.

While 32% of buyers believe their TMC has a good grasp on NDC, almost half (46%) feel their TMC does not have sufficient NDC information or aren’t sure (23%).

Nearly half (46%) feel new industry technologies, such as NDC, will pose the most significant technological challenges in the year ahead.

An additional third (38%) cite budget constraints and system integration (32%) related to technology.

Most industry stakeholders surveyed (84%) report their company’s business travel in 2023 has either largely (43%) or mostly (41%) recovered when compared to their 2019 levels.

For 2024, 67% of travel buyers expect their travel budgetsto increase (39%) or remain about the same (28%).

Only 14% of buyers report they are currently implementing a plan to limit business travel because of economic concerns, although cost management was cited as a top strategic priority, with 62% of respondents emphasising its importance for their company’s business travel program. Traveller safety (44%) and sustainability (37%) followed closely.

A significant portion (63%) of those surveyed plan to ramp up their investment in technology and digitalization. Other areas of 2024 investment include sustainability initiatives (45%) and partnerships and alliances (40%).

When asked about their expenses for travel program management, for example salaries and TMC fees, 48% of respondents say their company’s 2024 budget will increase significantly or moderately year over year.