GUEST EDITOR: ARC President & CEO Lauri Reishus

Welcome to the first installment of Guest Editor, where The Beat invites industry figures to share and comment on articles of their choosing from around the web. Today's guest is ARC president and CEO Lauri Reishus. Hailing from northern Wisconsin, Reishus was bitten by the travel bug after a high school student exchange program in the Azores. She has devoted her career to the travel industry because she believes in its power and potential to connect the world. Her experience includes roles at American Airlines and SatoTravel/TQ3Navigant before joining ARC in 2005, where she has served as president and CEO since January 2021. An avid traveler, Reishus is looking forward to her next adventure in early 2024 to the majestic seventh continent—Antarctica.

For Amex GBT, NDC Takes A Village And 162 Items To Solve
(The Beat, June 15)

Reishus: I couldn't take an opportunity like this and not comment on an article from The Beat's NDC coverage. Unlike the unexpected disruptions from a global pandemic, airlines have communicated their imperative to enhance air retailing capabilities to the air travel ecosystem for over a decade. Airlines, together with IATA and representatives from across our industry, have done yeoman's work over the years to develop baseline NDC standards for offers and orders.

These standards, as we all know, only address a portion of the end-to-end distribution and servicing of air travel through third parties. NDC readiness at scale requires sufficient—not perfect—support for critical business processes to include work and data flows that ensure effective agency operations and an optimal customer experience. It is encouraging to see a deeper level of partnership and collaboration emerging to solve for the top-priority business process use cases. 

While it's easy to point fingers about why NDC readiness at scale has taken so long, it's a waste of energy. It's far better for each of us to reflect and learn how we can improve going forward. For example, when I read Amex GBT's John Bukowski's comment, "…some elements, like how to process a ticket exchange or issue schedule-change waivers, aren't competitive differentiators. These would benefit from a standardized, industrywide approach," it's clear that ARC could have done more to help our industry solve these issues. We will do better. 

I offer two other reflections for consideration by readers: Would greater involvement from technology and operations leaders in the early days of NDC planning, along with those representing commercial functions, have led to faster development of needed capabilities? If so, how can they get more effectively involved today? And second, did we rely too heavily on broad industry groups to move NDC forward? Are there other forms of partnerships that will lead to quicker progress?

It's time to redefine what partnering effectively looks like within an ecosystem. Let's apply the lessons learned from the past decade. We know what doesn't contribute to winning outcomes—myopic thinking, obfuscation and foot-dragging come to mind. True and long-term wins for the next generation will come from applying these lessons learned with a renewed commitment to building stronger partnerships.

Gen Zers Say You're Recruiting Them Wrong—Here's What They Really Want
(Chief, June 15)

Reishus: Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2013, will be 30 percent of the workforce by 2030.

There's a reason I pulled this statistic almost verbatim from the article linked above. It illustrates how quickly changes happen in the modern workplace and the ever-evolving challenges leaders face.

And while I've seen sensationalist media coverage around the generational battles occurring across remote and in-person offices, this article bucks that trend and shows the opportunity we have to embrace this new generation for the unique perspectives and skillsets they bring to the workplace.

Unlike every generation before them, Gen Z grew up when world-shaping technologies like the internet and mobile devices were prevalent. They've had access to information and the freedom to connect with people around the globe from an early age. Their experience with technology as a connector will help improve our collective performance and bring more transparency to professional relationships and organizational partnerships as they advance in their careers.

As we mentor this new generation, let's incorporate their talents and worldviews into our organizations so they become key contributors as quickly as possible.

This May Be the Most Important Thing Happening in the World Today
(The New York Times, June 3)

Reishus: In a time when bad news travels as fast as someone can type, it's easy to overlook the stories that remind us of positive human progress. The author of this article, Nicholas Kristof, recognizes his own role in perpetuating negative stereotypes of the regions he covers. Yet he also reminds us that the share of the world's people living in extreme poverty is down from 38 percent in 1990 to about 8 percent today, and "historians may eventually look back and conclude that leaps in human well-being, health and child survival were the most important things happening in the world in the 21st century."

We often cite the benefits of air travel to connect people and build economies. It's hard to imagine how the human progress Kristof celebrates would be possible without the support of air travel. If you ever find yourself struggling through the daily challenges work can bring, perhaps remembering the part our industry plays in helping to make the world a better place will recharge your batteries as it does mine.