One of the good news stories of 2018 has been the steady adoption of technology by the SA travel trade, with various new tools, platforms and solutions rolled out during the course of the year.
Andy Hedley, MD of Amadeus Southern Africa, told South African travel trade publication TNW that 2018 was a very positive year for the travel industry in South Africa, with an overall growth in bookings for travel agents.
“Amadeus has seen an exceptional increase in requests from both retail and business travel agents for technology. This is a clear indication that our industry is evolving. Travel agents are embracing technologies to secure their business and to be where the travellers are making their bookings.”
NDC in focus
Amidst the adoption of technology, IATA’s NDC has been something of an intimidating grey cloud hanging over the industry, TNW stated, with some big question marks around what its implementation will really mean for the trade.
“Informing our travel partners on NDC has been a priority for us this year,” Andy was quoted as saying. “It is still unclear at this point what the NDC business model will look like and it is still an educational process for most of us in the industry. However, it has been great to see how the market is embracing change and technology,” he added.
Several agencies, including Flight Centre, Carlson Wagonlit, American Express Global Business Travel and BCD Travel, joined the Amadeus NDC-X programme to test the “new NDC flow of ‘shop, order, pay’”, so that when NDC-enabled solutions are industrialised in 2019, they can be ready to consume the new content.
Where Amadeus stands now, it is ready and able to integrate content sourced through NDC from any airline that uses an API based on the IATA NDC standard.
“Later this year, we expect to have the first version of the Amadeus Web Services solution that will aggregate content sourced both through NDC and other connections in production for piloting,” Andy told TNW.
“It will then be industrialised and enhanced with servicing capabilities, with the aim of having it ready for global deployment in the first quarter of 2019,” he said, adding that the cloud-based user interface, Amadeus Selling Platform Connect, will also be enhanced to consume NDC content and will be ready for deployment in the second quarter of 2019.
Read TNW’s full ‘Year in Review’ feature here.