Industry Update
Opinion Article 5 June 2013

A Hotelier’s Take on IATA’s New Distribution Capability

By Robert Cole, Founder of RockCheetah

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For decades, the airline reservation was the focal point for every automated travel itinerary. Despite considerable internet-enabled innovation, it still largely remains that way today. Now the International Airline Traffic Association (IATA) has embarked on it ambitious "New Distribution Capability" (NDC) initiative, with the stated objective to "define a messaging standard that will enable retailing opportunities."


Calling this initiative self-absorbed is a gross understatement. The page content of the NDC homepage mentions neither "travelers" nor "passengers." The NDC blog posts discuss passengers, but inevitably within the context of cost-recovery, yield and revenue optimization through the sale of unbundled services.

There are plenty of references to offering choice and customization (nothing wrong with that) but there is one term that is auspicious in its absence: "satisfaction." Discussion of how NDC can better integrate air travel with the rest of the travel industry to enhance the end-to-end experience is woefully absent.

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Robert Cole

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    RockCheetah helps global hospitality and travel organizationscreate innovative marketing strategies, identify appropriate technologies and apply efficient business processes to enhance brand value and increase customer engagement.

    Robert Cole, RockCheetah founder, authors the Views from a Corner Suite blog. He has held executive leadership positions with Four Seasons Hotels, Anasazi/Travel Resources, Sabre Group, Cendant Travel Distribution Services/Neat Group and The Mark Travel Corporation, among others.

    Robert has also consulted for global hotel groups, major destinations and leading online travel companies regarding marketing strategy, travel distribution, and social computing.

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