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NDC adoption drives surge in direct airline bookings, Traxo finds


A sharp rise in non-travel management company corporate airline bookings over the first half of the year suggests “there is no going back” from the increasing push for New Distribution Capability (NDC) standards, according to Traxo, a Dallas-based company that provides real-time corporate travel data capture.

“While NDC was intended to be purely about upgraded technology, some airlines have shaped their NDC-related policies to achieve commercial goals such as direct bookings,” said Traxo CEO and founder Andrews Fabris. “As a result, NDC has sometimes been ‘weaponized’ to encourage corporate travelers to book directly, attracted by benefits like enhanced personalization, dynamic pricing and cost savings.”

Traxo tracks both on- and off-platform bookings through real-time corporate travel data capture and via its NDC status monitoring site, NDCtracker.com. From these sources, the company observed non-TMC airline bookings among its clients rose from 18.7% in January to 30.6% in June. May’s figure of 31.3% was even higher, an increase of two-thirds from the start of the year.

“The NDC landscape has transformed rapidly, significantly reshaping corporate travel,” Fabris said. “The push for direct distribution by airlines and active corporate engagement on our platform underscores a shift toward more cost-effective and flexible booking options. There is no going back, so staying abreast of developments and booking patterns in real-time is crucial.”

Experts have said 2024 would be a pivotal year in airlines’ efforts to modernize distribution through direct connections with customers and travel agencies. In April, Delta became the last of the three major United States-based network airlines to hop aboard the NDC movement.

But then in May, movement frontrunner American Airlines announced the departure of chief commercial officer Vasu Raja, one of the primary architects of the airline’s shift away from the corporate indirect booking model via agencies to a direct-booking strategy — an approach some corporate buyers resisted. Experts from Lufthansa Group and Traverse Technologies spoke of the need for a balance between meeting customers’ expectations for online retailing while giving businesses the control they need to manage travel expenses during a studio interview at the Phocuswright Europe conference last month.

Launched a year ago, Traxo’s NDCtracker.com was developed to address the challenges travel managers face in staying atop NDC news and the concerns about how it will affect their travel programs, according to the company. By tracking 73 airlines worldwide, it monitors NDC’s role in reshaping the sale of air products and enhancing corporate travel management. In the last year, more than 10 major airlines have made notable announcements about adopting NDC.

Traxo cites four approaches airlines are taking to stimulate NDC adoption:

Last year Booking.com for Business partnered with Traxo to give its clients the ability to see data about bookings made at any point of travel sale.



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