Leading the transformation of flight shopping
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday season.
Last year was a year of redemption in our industry. While the impacts of the pandemic are still being felt, 2022 held increased sales, bookings, and revenues for airlines, channels, and systems, and for that we are grateful. The overwhelming need to connect, discover, and travel has not gone away; in fact, it has only gotten stronger after being apart for so long. Just as last year, fare activity continues to climb. ATPCO recorded its highest fare and rule volumes ever this year, with more than 5 billion updates in a single day.
With my second year at ATPCO now closed, I am proud of where we are—the foundation of modern airline retailing, still dedicated to the success of the airline industry. We continue to develop innovative solutions that anticipate future marketplace needs, while supporting the ecosystem transformation required to get there. At our sold-out Elevate conference in October, where we gathered with more than 350 of our industry’s brightest, our Chief Strategy Officer Tom Gregorson and I went onstage and for the first time ever, announced an aggressive industry outcome goal of providing the framework needed to enable the dynamic creation of 80% customized airline offers by 2026.
Leading the transformation of flight shopping
A strong performance in 2022 reinforces my commitment to achieve our short-term vision: significant transformation and innovation in our industry by 2026. ATPCO will leverage and transform our current solutions, build innovative products, facilitate new content, and evolve our standards to enable the industry to move from low fare search to modern airline retailing. ATPCO is in the unique position to drive this transformation forward, and it’s our solutions in collaboration with other industry goals that will enable this to happen. The time is now for all airlines and industry partners to join us and be a part of the solution as we move the industry forward.
Driving industry-wide adoption of customized offers has implications across the offer and order life cycle, and ATPCO has begun tackling many challenges in parallel across the offer life cycle:
Creating the offer
In 2022 ATPCO successfully expanded our Architect customer community. Seven new airlines recognized the efficiency of Architect’s pricing workflows and automation, and they signed on to implement their pricing strategies more efficiently.
What else is ATPCO doing to get the industry to 80% of fares in the market being dynamically created? The first solution we will introduce is Airline Order Posting, which will give each airline the choice to distribute adjusted fare data converted into ATPCO data formats for easy consumption in downline processes (such as revenue accounting, audit, settlement, changes, refund and calculations). Nerdy and in the weeds, I know, but it’s hefty, baseline work we need to do to successfully reach our 80% goal.
ATPCO is also working on the creation of an industry Product Catalogue aligned to the IATA standards, which will allow the separation of product from price to enable dynamic offer creation. We are working toward a future where Standard Attributes, Optional Services, Branded Fares, and Product Catalogue will be fully interoperable so airlines can handle all products wherever they are in their dynamic offer journey.
Distributing the offer
In order for the industry to create customized dynamic offers, airlines will need to create 80% of the offers directly. This change will also help to increase the industry-wide adoption of NDC, which has been slow to date.
What is ATPCO doing to enable airlines to create more offers? First, ATPCO will allow anyone to download or use our NDC Exchange platform technology, at no cost, to build their NDC technical capabilities. You can request access directly from our website. In 2022, we also stood up the NDC Solutions Design Team to break down the barriers to NDC adoption while discussing the business problems we must overcome together.
Presenting the offer
Visuals add unbelievable value to the flight shopping experience. This past year, ATPCO surveyed airline customers from around the globe and found that 80% of shoppers said visuals influence them to make a booking, compared to no visuals at all. When it comes to these visuals, 63% of shoppers want to see actual images of the in-flight products rather than just illustrations. This is why merchandising and Routehappy will continue to be a key focus for ATPCO in order to help airlines and channels present their offers in the way consumers want and need to view them. The continued growth of our list of Routehappy customers in 2022, including Agoda, Virgin Atlantic, and Southwest Airlines, is a testament to the importance of this merchandising content.
Servicing, settling, and posting the offer
In 2023 we plan to make strides for “no touch” servicing and settlement by automating taxes and reissues. Our goal is to reduce industry costs for tax regulatory compliance, and these initiatives will need strong industry organization collaboration. We have already partnered with ARC to share infrastructure for sales data—which will evolve to orders. As the technology provider of the ACH settlement platform, we are also identifying areas where we can improve industry processes.
The saying “nothing easy is worth doing” really couldn’t be more true, and 2023 will be a year of transformation for ATPCO as we take the early steps toward our 2026 goal. Big changes take time to implement, but the whole ATPCO team is committed to working collaboratively to better the industry.
We know it's time for the future of flight shopping to become a reality, and I look forward to building the future of modern airline retailing with you.
By Alex Zoghlin
A lifelong entrepreneur and innovator, Alex brings more than 25 years of knowledge and experience in technology, airline distribution, and travel to ATPCO. He founded six startups, including Orbitz and G2Switchworks, before serving as Executive Vice President, Global Head of Strategy, Innovation, and Technology at Hyatt Hotels Corporation. He brings his business acumen and experiences from the hospitality world to concepts the airline industry can use, such as addressing digital booking flows, digital display, unstructured datasets, and dynamic pricing. When not working, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and four daughters, making music, building rockets, and learning new things.