Distribution steals the show at GBTA

Airline distribution strategy prompted a lively debate at this week’s GBTA Conference in Frankfurt, with airline, aggregator and buyer representatives debating the challenges posed by new systems.

Travelport’s Ian Heywood criticised those airlines adding GDS booking fees and instead pursuing direct connect channels claiming their “IT systems are not up to speed”.

“Lufthansa functionality for direct connects is still not there three years after announcing their DCC fee,” he added.

Dave Bishop of Atriis agreed with Heywood: “There needs to be massive investment. When you start bringing in content from multiple sources you start to see how slow some of the direct connects actually are.”

Asked whether TMCs will ultimately build their own GDS-like systems, Simon Nowroz of CWT said: “We welcome progress and evolution but the GDS remain the most effective systems for us.”

Travel manager Mark Cuschieri (pictured above) of UBS added: “TMCs are in a period of transition and they have a lot of challenges around presenting the right content in an easy, intuitive way.

“NDC will undoubtedly deliver benefits and the future of TMCs might be down a slightly different route.”

Gehan Colliander, Head of Global Travel at The Boston Consulting Group, said TMCs “are not going away” and called on all parties to work more collaboratively on distribution.

“NDC is introducing more complexity when people are asking for transparency.”