The Lufthansa Group has signed deals with two TMCs to offer direct sales links to its airlines, cutting out the controversial €16 GDS booking charge.
Click Travel and Portman Clarity have both developed their first NDC capable direct link with Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines.
The Distribution Cost Charge was introduced in 2015 and is applicable to all bookings in the Lufthansa Group, not made through one of the company’s own channels such as Lufthansa.com.
Starting May 1, both TMCs will receive “differentiated Lufthansa Group content” such as exclusive promotions and customised fare bundles.
“Going forward, the differentiated offers made available to Direct Connect partners will be further expanded and adapted continuously, in order to meet the changing customer requirements”, the airline said in a statement.
The GTMC has said a Direct Connect between airlines and TMCs does not offer a “positive, efficient customer experience”.
“The direct set up does not make comparison shopping and best value easy for the customer, therefore bringing no tangible benefits. In fact, the long term effects of inefficient fragmentation are incredibly damaging.
“The primary booking tool of TMCs is the Global Distribution System - a major electronic worldwide reservation system used by travel agents to book flights, hotels, car rental and other travel services. The major players in this area are Sab... and anything outside of that has a negative impact on productivity. The inevitable knock on effect is the cost to the customer increasing.”
Simon McLean, executive chairman, Click Travel, said: “The direct connect to Lufthansa Group content is now available in our new business travel platform, travel.cloud, and it’s a feature that we’re incredibly proud to offer. This solution has helped us greatly enhance the customer experience when choosing Lufthansa Group products, while simultaneously eliminating charges that are now levied on bookings made via legacy distribution channels. It’s a win-win situation for our customers.”
Pat McDonagh, chief executive, Portman Clarity, said: “This isn’t about the abolition of a distribution cost charge, it’s much more than that. As we work with Lufthansa Group, the opportunities to our corporate travellers will become apparent and this new, personalised way of selecting airline content will become the industry norm. The benefits of being able to access different content, to get bundles of deals, will all be appealing. As a forward thinking TMC, this is where we need to be for our clients.”
Lufthansa Group confirmed it was in talks with a number of other TMCs to sign up to the new technology.