Delta’s pitch for the corporate traveller

by Business Travel iQ | 11 October 2018

Airline’s new tools aim to own the direct relationship

Delta Air Lines will next month launch personalised company sites that allow corporate travellers to stay up to date about the benefits they receive due to their company's corporate sales agreement with the airline.

It means that Delta travellers whose companies have US corporate deals with the airline will see messaging that benefits, such as free seats or baggage, have been secured as part of that deal.

Earlier this year, the airline started corporate messaging via its Fly Delta app.

At the time, Kristen Shovlin, Delta's VP sales operations and development said, “More and more, people are looking for an increasingly personalized experience from the brands they interact with. This is true across industries, and the corporate travel experience is no different. We've been on a journey for several years to offer increased account-specific options and more personalization for our corporate customers and travel managers, making Delta easy to do business with. Our corporate customers aren't one-size-fits-all, so their experience with Delta shouldn't be, either.”

A video showing some of the functionality is shown below:

Last month, the airline announced it had achieved Level 3 Certification to IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard 18.1, along with partner Virgin Atlantic.

Delta and Virgin share a distribution vision to enable consistent retail experiences for customers, regardless of booking channel. NDC is an important building block in achieving this vision by bringing simplification and alignment across all channels to provide a single source for schedules, fares and

availability, while laying a foundation for delivering more diverse offerings that will meet the needs of every customer.

However, Delta is keen to underline that travel management companies and other third parties remain important to its distribution strategy. Announcing the NDC certification, the airline said, “While NDC represents an important step, an additional, parallel effort is under way to elevate the third-party retail experience so it aligns with carrier direct channels. The airlines and their airline partners are leading this transformation too, by collaborating with global agencies, online booking tools and industry intermediaries to transform third-party shopping displays and present customers with a full range of products to choose from, rather than a single fare.”

Delta’s efforts in the corporate channel show that it is increasingly keen to own the relationship with the corporate traveller. The advent of NDC, despite the exhortations that the airline is still committed to travel management companies, shows that these direct relationships are crucial to the airline.

Travel management companies will really need to demonstrate the value they offer corporates before they get cut out of the relationship.

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