The objective of the Selectour network is to acquire high-performance tools distributing NDC while maintaining its productivity.
The NDC subject continues to challenge the profession since the EDV congress in Lille. Travel agencies prided themselves on their ability to sell airfare quickly and well with a cryptic system, so the prospect of moving to a graphical system generated a lot of fear.
NDC streams arrive in platforms from the sole will of the airlines. Christian Sabbagh, President of Orchestra, explains: ” Let’s go back to the origin of this new protocol: it is a question for the airlines of recovering the control of their distribution that the GDS held until now and of enriching the distribution of their cataloford. »
Selectour wished embrace the technology via proprietary software to guarantee the sustainability of the system and above all to provide members with a simple, efficient and effective tool.
Interview with Hubert Prades, Director of Information Systems at Selectour.
Tour Hebdo: You launched Wonderbooking in March 2022. What was your goal?
Hubert Prades : Do not lose productivity or profitability. We wanted to avoid, at all costs, the GDS surcharge, on the air segment alone, causing us to lose the sale.
Weekly round: That much ?
Hubert Prades : Of course. Direct sales do not pay the surcharge. We immediately lose our competitive advantage. We have obtained deadlines with Air France on business travel, but this is not the case with Lufthansa.
Tour Hebdo: Precisely, which agencies are concerned: Leisure or Business?
Hubert Prades: For the moment, it is essentially the Leisure agencies in order to avoid the surcharge which has already applied since the beginning of the year with Air France. In addition, the ease of use of the tool is an asset for sellers who are not experienced ticket agents.
Tour Hebdo: Is the tool operational?
Hubert Prades: The first version was deployed in March 2022 to all our agencies and since then we have continued to improve the tool. For agencies, it’s transparent. They do not see the inside of the mechanics, but in reality we gradually integrate the developments provided by the companies. The latter do not work with the same calendars. It is constantly evolving.
Tour Hebdo: Have you scheduled any training?
Hubert Prades : It is done. But the advantage with the graphic is its familiar presentation for everyone. Everything is intuitive, without necessarily requiring extensive training. Here, at least, there is an undeniable user benefit in terms of change management!
Tour Hebdo: However, many agencies regret the cryptic!
Hubert Prades: If not the majority! but we can no longer escape it. The airlines will not go back and the GDS are also getting started by stopping training in cryptic mode very soon. NDC is the future decided by the airlines. It is up to us to model the tool so as not to lose any of the practices that we have mastered and to work to strengthen our business efficiency.
Tour Hebdo: But the addition of new features is long overdue, isn’t it?
Hubert Prades: You touch the real difficulty: the problem is the timing. Eventually, we will have richer, more visual content with more possible combinations. Companies will also have more latitude to create new offers. But it is true that for the moment this is not yet the case. On the other hand, after-sales – cancellation, exchange, refund – is much simpler with NDC. The GDS did not launch in 3 days!
Tour Hebdo: What discourse should be given to the agencies?
Hubert Prades: It’s a web interface, the handling is immediate and the improvements are constant. We do not directly integrate companies with which we have not signed a contract that guarantees our competitive advantages. Our solution is sustainable, because we have taken a stake in the Wondermiles company which is developing it. This allows us to control our distribution and prevent our R&D from going to the competition. It is a question of starting now to work on the tool knowing that in the short term, we will make it evolve towards an SBT.
Tour Hebdo: How does it look in the agency, is everything on the same screen?
Hubert Prades: Yes, it’s a web interface, so it’s quite similar to an online booking site, but with features suitable for professional use, whether in terms of search fields, filters and after sales.
Tour Hebdo: What is your concrete ambition?
Hubert Prades: Make the tool as efficient as possible and evolve the solution towards an SBT. The latter will have several advantages compared to what we already know on the market. We have direct connections with airlines as well as the SNCF and we gradually integrate all useful content: hotels, car rentals, insurance…. The interface used by clients will be similar, but simpler than that of agencies. This will make it easier to deploy and support customers.
Tour Hebdo: To conclude?
Hubert Prades: We also want to keep control of the roadmap and continue to build it with the agencies of the network. NDC has been perfectly tamed by the OTAs So there’s no question of being left behind: we’re taking the lead with our own Wonderbooking tool and instead of being wait-and-see, we want to be a forerunner.