SAP Hybris, the German business software maker's cloud-enabled enterprise e-commerce and customer-engagement platform, is removing roadblocks between airlines and today's mobile- and web-savvy travelers.
The company announced on Sept. 19 that it had released a new version of its Travel Accelerator for SAP Hybris that carries an International Air Transport Association (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) level 3 certification. SAP Hybris accelerators are prepackaged yet configurable modules tailored to the needs of certain industries, enabling businesses to rapidly implement online storefronts with customer management and marketing capabilities.
With the certification in hand, SAP Hybris will help air carriers empower their customers while they explore their travel options.
IATA NDC is "a travel industry program for the development and market adoption of a new XML-based data transmission standard," explained John Fisher, global head of Industry Marketing at SAP Hybris, in response to an email inquiry from eWEEK. "The goal of this standard is to encourage airlines to align what is available on their own web sites with what travel agents have access to through their systems. Closing the gap between these two channels will ensure both parties have a more accurate picture of the airline's offerings."
Synchronizing those types of travel data can also help airlines deliver better, more personalized offers, Fisher added. For instance, an airline booking site or app can propose special meal options or seats with extra legroom based on traveler's preferences, fostering customer loyalty, and of course, generating additional revenue.
Travel Accelerator organizes fares, flight extras and partner offerings into a central catalog, allowing airlines to package their products at attractive prices for their customers. On the back end, SAP Hybris employs a suite of technologies, including in-memory computing and predictive analytics, to process customer data and deliver contextualized customer experiences across multiple channels, said Fisher.
Moreover, those experiences are reassuringly uniform, regardless how consumers engage with a travel provider.
"The experience on each channel needs to be consistent, so [consumers] have the flexibility to shop, research, and buy on the channel of their choice," said Fisher. "SAP Hybris' travel accelerator arms these providers with data to offer digital travelers the best experience possible based on several factors, such as current activity on the website, booking history, loyalty status, and more."
With reservation and scheduling systems that generally predate the cloud and many of today's more modern approaches to IT, airlines often encounter bumpy skies on the way to engaging with customers in the mobile era. SAP isn't the only technology company smoothing out the ride for the world's air travel companies.
In June, IBM announced that American Airlines, the world's largest airline, is migrating AA.com and its mobile app to IBM Cloud. In terms of the American's website, the move will help it withstand high volumes of traffic during the holidays and other periods of peak demand. Customer-facing apps will benefit from a micro-services architecture, agile DevOps and methodologies that can help developers innovate faster.