ITM has published an Airline Retailing Guide to support travel buyers.
The resource is the initial output from ITM’s Distribution Taskforce, which consists of seven buyer members from diverse industry sectors and was established in April to help buyers navigate the recent acceleration in airline changes to distribution and retailing models.
A key element of the guide is ITM’s Recommended Supplier Methodology, which recommends steps suppliers should follow when implementing an alternative retailing strategy to take the corporate buyer’s needs into account.
The Airline Retailing Guide also includes actions that buyers can take to communicate internally with travellers regarding the potential proliferation of lower fares and why it is important to support company policy, as well as ways to anticipate and avoid points of conflict with senior management, such as clarifying travel policy and identifying which unbundled service items are permitted by the business.
The guide also recommends questions that buyers should ask their TMC – for example what is the TMC’s tech stack strategy for enabling NDC content, what is ready now and what investment has already been approved alongside release dates, what data points will the buyer be able to receive on NDC bookings – and use these responses as a basis for conversations with OBT and airline partners.
Scott Davies, CEO, ITM, said: “The aim of ITM’s Distribution Taskforce was not to provide a case against change in retailing models, as we all agree with and support the need for our industry to evolve. However, the recent acceleration in airline distribution changes has been very challenging for many travel managers and the buyer’s voice and requirements have been very much missing from supplier strategies.”