I could not read [Friday's] The Beatarticle contemplating about the real benefits of NDC, without a grin on my face. I guess we can all agree: The attitude, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is the enemy of innovation. Throughout history people have been striving for innovation of life style that helped to make our lives easier and more comfortable. If it weren't for this little rebellious spark in some people we would still listen to our favorite Vinyl record instead of the convenience of having our favorite music at our fingertips. Although there are a number of people that wish back the good ol' days, I don't see them riding around in cars without air conditioning or even better ... traveling the roads via carriage.
According to the article, especially agencies (for what reason, I am not sure) seem to be fairly pleased with the content they receive via the GDSs. As a technology provider for the travel industry, we hear quite the contrary from our customers (lion-hearted business travel agencies in particular J), when they tell us they want yet another feature or the ability to filter or search in a more flexible way. One can counter this argument by saying: "Well, we can do all that on the GDS today." Yes, we can indeed. But we were also able to listen to music on Vinyl. Does that make CD players and MP3 players needless inventions?
It is true, innovation may not always present itself as the life changing event but instead seeps slowly into our lives until we ask ourselves how we could have ever lived without it. This may be a stretch but doesn't this apply to our industry as well?
I think we are at a point where we've had a great deal of discussions around this topic and we are not really getting anywhere closer to a resolution. The NDC is no magic-bullet by all means, but we need to further exploit the benefits that come with the proposed standard and then go beyond that in order to become innovative again. The existing landscape needs to evolve, as the current model is limiting. It even seems to be debilitating that the dialogue is spearheaded by the wrong group of people. The decisions to be made are of technical nature, so we should bring in people that can actually make those decisions.
Michael Strauss is CEO and worldwide director of travel at Pass Consulting Corp. This post originaly was published at his company's Travel Industry Blog: Travel Technology and More and is reprinted here with permission.