It’s no surprise that direct connect has become a controversial talking point within the business travel industry and, as a result, has attracted a handful of criticism – but how valid is that criticism? Should you pay mind to it when considering how direct connect will affect your organisation’s business travel programme?
Here’s a quick run-through of the most common concerns raised about direct connect and whether they’re worth worrying about:
“Direct connects will have a negative impact on customer experience” – FALSE
The main motivation behind implementing a direct connect will, for any TMC, be to improve the customer experience, both in terms of the ability to avoid extra fees but also to increase the choice that customers have when booking their travel – simply put, no other reason is worth the investment in technology that direct connects require.
“Direct connects will see the cost to the customer increasing” – FALSE
Any TMC worth their salt should not be passing cost increases on to their customers – in fact, direct connects should provide TMCs with ample opportunity to reduce the fees that their customers pay.
“Direct connects will result in poor comparison shopping” – FALSE
Customers will actually gain parity on price with the help of direct connects and the right booking tool. When using a booking tool that aggregates content from a variety of sources, including the GDS, customers should expect to see that content transparently mixed within their search results: i.e GDS content will appear next to direct content, meaning that customers won’t have to check two different systems in order to price compare.
“Direct connects will have a negative impact on productivity” – TRUE-ish
Direct connects certainly will have a negative impact on the productivity and efficacy of TMCs – but only if those TMCs are traditional in their approach to content distribution and haven’t invested in technology that allows direct connect. However, the opposite is true for modern TMCs, as direct connects will allow them to perform more efficiently and deliver travel that really meets their client’s’ needs.
“Using direct connects instead of the GDS will compromise a TMC’s ability to offer valuable features and services” – FALSE
Direct connects have absolutely no bearing on a TMC’s ability to offer the features and services that many corporate clients value. If your TMC has planned sufficiently for the future of the business travel industry, and isn’t completely dependent on the GDS, then features such as management information, reporting, duty of care should always be built into your organisation’s business travel strategy.
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