Booking over NDC and servicing on direct channels

May 8, 2023

The modern airline industry faces the challenge of managing multiple selling channels while maintaining consistency and content parity across all platforms. To overcome this challenge and provide a seamless customer experience, implementing new distribution capability through omnichannel architecture and a well-defined structure for the Offer and Order domains becomes crucial. It reduces their reliance on the Passenger Service System (PSS) while reducing the complexity and costs associated with the operation and future expansions.

Order and Offer domains as a base for an omnichannel experience

Order and Offer are the foundational domains when planning an omnichannel architecture.

The Offer domain serves as a fundamental component in an omnichannel architecture. Its primary responsibilities include encapsulating the complexity of various offer types and managing interactions with different providers. A vital element of this architecture is a solid generic offer definition, enabling the system to handle diverse offers effectively.

The order domain plays a crucial role in enabling the selling and servicing of various offers across multiple providers within an airline’s distribution channels. By implementing a well-defined order domain aligned with the “One Order” concept IATA advocates, airlines can achieve a comprehensive and unified view of reservations, products, and associated information across different channels. This domain encapsulates the complexity of managing the entire lifecycle of an order, including booking, modifications, cancellations, and ancillary services. The order became the source of truth for all reservation-related information, as opposed to a non-order-centric architecture where the PSS has that function.

Booking over NDC

When considering an omnichannel architecture and a well-implemented Offer domain, the complexity of booking for New Distribution Capability (NDC) channels does not inherently introduce additional intricacies compared to direct channels. While there may be specific business rules and display requirements, the core process of searching for offers remains consistent. The critical differentiation arises in the Order domain, particularly during payment. 

In the context of NDC, the Order domain needs equipping to handle unique payment methods, such as Agency Wallet payments and book now, pay later options. It should also be able to store supplementary information to identify specific agencies in the case of aggregators.

Servicing of NDC orders on direct channels

Implementing the Order domain, as defined in the “One Order” initiative by IATA, significantly reduces the complexity compared to traditional distribution models when it comes to servicing NDC orders on direct channels. The primary distinction lies in the payment methods typically associated with agency bookings. In these cases, the process requires additional synchronization steps, necessitating continuous communication with the agency for every change passengers make directly through the airline’s direct channel.

The inherent flexibility and robustness of well-implemented Offer and Order domains enable the system to infer the correct approach for searching, displaying, and modifying offers, even when servicing NDC orders.

The bottom line 

Implementing a well-defined Order and Offer domain structure, coupled with an omnichannel approach, is a critical step toward creating a healthy NDC environment and enhancing the servicing capabilities of airlines. These foundational domains are pivotal in encapsulating the complexities of managing diverse selling channels, products, and providers while ensuring consistency and content parity.

Proper implementation of Offer domain architecture ensures that booking over NDC channels within the framework of an omnichannel architecture does not introduce significant additional complexity. While specific business rules and display considerations may exist by channel, the fundamental search for offers remains consistent across all of them.

The Order domain is the backbone of this architecture, enabling the selling and servicing of different offers across multiple providers. Its comprehensive implementation, aligned with the “One Order” mindset, empowers airlines to create orders with any required type of Offer, reducing dependency on the Passenger Service System (PSS) and fostering flexibility in the booking and servicing process.

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The Airlines Studio leverages our cross industry expertise to help a highly competitive and regulated industry reinvent. We drive digital transformation by putting the passenger experience front-and-center in all strategies to boost business