The airlines of the Lufthansa Group (Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS) offer by now multiple approaches for direct connections to the Lufthansa Group’s booking systems for all customer groups, such as corporate customers as well as large and medium-sized distribution partners.
More than 1,500 IATA agencies connected globally
Since September last year the Lufthansa Group has continuously pursued and pushed ahead with the modernization of its supply structure. The profits via direct connections have been steadily rising with each new customer connection ever since. More than 1,500 IATA agencies are now connected globally. With the going-live of the Direct Connect of Thomas Cook, nearly all major leisure partners in Germany are now connected to the booking systems of the Lufthansa Group or are in discussions for developing an interface. New developments can also be seen in the Group’s other domestic markets. TUI Suisse, for example, has had a Farelogix Direct Connect since July 2016; and is now offering a fully integrated booking process for agencies on its flight booking tool AirCruiser.
The partners in Belgium are also satisfied: “Thomas Cook Belgium is one of the Direct Connect pioneers. We are proud to having developed the right interface for our customers with the Lufthansa Group. The Direct Connect connection to the services of the Lufthansa Group allows us to continue to provide our customers with top fares and availability, and we will be able to develop new services together in the future” says Marc De Waele, Manager Transport at Thomas Cook Belgium.
The Lufthansa Group is also developing Direct Connect interfaces for medium-sized travel agencies. Through implementing a direct connection with TraviAustria, 600 travel agencies in Austria will have access to the established charter flight program and additionally to scheduled flights from Austrian Airlines via the touristic booking systems CETS and PowerSearch from the fourth quarter of 2016. The plan is to extend the service to include the entire group.
The long-term goal of the new distribution strategy is to provide attractive and comprehensive services that meet the increasingly individual and dynamic needs of distribution partners and corporate customers. The new technical solutions provide customers with additional content that could not be displayed previously, as well as additional services that are now available in a more innovative, customer-oriented way and at lower cost than before.
Jens Bischof, Executive Vice President Sales Lufthansa Group Airlines and Chief Commercial Officer Hub Frankfurt: “In addition to large corporate customers we have directly connected further important distribution partners. This way they can access the Lufthansa Group inventory and content using our modern sales channel ‘Direct Connect’. This is an important step on our way to a new distribution landscape in the airline industry.”
Additonal luggage and lounge vouchers for L’TUR passengers
As announced by L’TUR Tourismus AG in mid-August, the company is accelerating the use of the new IATA data standard NDC (New Distribution Capability) together with the Lufthansa Group. Following the installation of a Direct Connect connection to the systems of the Lufthansa Group, the exclusive product packages Comfort and Weekend can now be technically integrated into the dynamic flight-only production of L’TUR using NDC within this pilot project.
Customers who choose a Lufthansa flight on the flight-only website lturfly.com can now benefit from attractive additional services such as lounge vouchers (Comfort, based on the Lufthansa Economy Classic fare) or an additional item of luggage of 23 kilograms (Weekend, based on the Lufthansa Economy Light fare), which can be booked through L’TUR.
By using the NDC data standard offered via Direct Connect, the Lufthansa Group is able to offer new products; additionally, the company gains important know-how for upcoming projects with multiple distribution partners and the further development of the NDC standard in close cooperation with the IATA.