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Managing Partner Paul Tilstone provides an insight into the work of Festive Road on IATA’s NDC Project.

At FESTIVE ROAD we love nothing more than being involved in projects at the forefront of change in our industry, they give us the most chance to provide truly independent insights and this is where we feel we bring the most value to our clients. 

So, the work that we have undertaken for our client IATA these past 5 years on NDC project engagement has been hugely fulfilling as we are tasked with continuing to help foster dialogue between airlines, IT providers, buyers, TMCs and others in the value chain with IATA.

Transformation programmes of any kind generate uncertainty and for some related emotions, both positive and negative.  NDC has been no different. There are some who are actively leading from the front and are enjoying the ride, others may need more help through the change, either way all views count.  That’s where “The NDC Envoy Programme” comes in. This is a programme of 2-way engagement within the sector designed to ensure all sides have the chance to hear and be heard. This is critical not just to IATA, but to anyone who may be impacted by the roll-out of NDC.

What does this engagement work look like?

  • We were key to the creation of the Travel Manager Advisory Group (TMAG) which spans both North America and Europe, with over 30 global travel buyers tasked with the role of ensuring IATA knows the pain points of travel management and the impact NDC might have on the buyer community. 
  • We also helped IATA establish the Global TMC Executive Council (GTEC) to engage the TMC leaders of the top local, multi-national & global TMCs to ensure the TMC model and infrastructure is understood.  The GTEC group actually extends beyond NDC into IATA strategy too. 
  • We write papers on the vision the buyers in TMAG have for NDC in the managed travel sector
  • We participate in hackathons and play a role in the mentoring and educating of the business travel/OBT community to foster innovation 
  • We also create educational sessions to foster dialogue within targeted markets

We recognise the potential that NDC has for our sector, if it is implemented with the vision that TMAG and GTEC have.  We see the energy that companies in all parts of our sector are applying behind the scenes to help create their place in the new distribution landscape.  But we also recognise the challenges such a massive change programme has on the players in our sector. So, we will continue to foster an environment where independent engagement can help create a better business travel and meetings industry.  And that mission is core to FESTIVE ROAD’s reason for being.

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