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​A New Store in Town: Building a consumer-grade platform for the business traveler of the future

Blog post   •   May 26, 2021 13:07 UTC

The pandemic brought about both temporary and permanent change to every industry and every corner of the world and knocked an estimated $8 trillion off the global travel market overnight.

Like everyone, CWT had to address the immediate implications, while still preparing for the future, a future now heavily influenced by changing behaviors, tolerances, and priorities.

With eyes constantly looking ahead, CWT continued to prioritize and invest in solutions that solve air distribution disruption, including New Distribution Capabilities (NDC). However, as airlines evolve their product to improve the traveler experience, offering personalization, bundles, ala carte ancillaries and rich content, challenges arise with how to best display this enhanced content in a way that is transparent and easily consumable by the traveler.

There is no doubt that a critical enabler of NDC content is the ability to provide an enhanced display and advancements made on Next Generation Storefront (NGS), which has been critical to the evolution of Sabre’s New Airline Storefront (NAS), Sabre Red 360.

CWT worked in close collaboration with Sabre and Delta on NAS, whose foundational capabilities allow NDC content to be organized in a way that is consumable by business travelers, enhancing the shopping experience with customer choice, and adding to the buyers purchasing confidence.

What does the new storefront mean for clients and travelers?

A consumer-grade experience when it matters most

Not only is NAS providing rich content and experiences, but it is also elevating the user experience to be ready for the new content that’s coming down the line. As complex requirements such as flight changes, and involuntary changes become a new reality, a user-friendly home for rich content will be critical to building confidence in business travelers and enabling informed purchasing decisions.

A select group of CWT counselors played a key role in innovating, testing, advocating for, and validating the designs and functionality of the fit-for-purpose platform. During this collaboration with Sabre and Delta, CWT augmented additional applications within NAS to help our counselors better understand our clients, their travelers, and their policies. The applications and elements ultimately help our counselors with an in-depth understanding of client policies, traveler preferences, and the attributes of the airfare.

The last mile of evolving display

I’ve previously outlined the three components that make rich content come to life: 1. Compelling and value-added content 2. Enabling distribution to get access to the content, and 3. Enhancing the display to efficiently provide and showcase that content to the end-user.

The new graphical interface of NAS with its clean lines, hover-over features, and simple and efficient functionalities is one of the final pieces in bringing a consumer-grade experience to business travel.

We had an obligation to our counselors who are on the front line supporting our clients’ complex needs. Any new tool would need to have an immediate demonstrable, and favorable impact. Based on the feedback we are getting we believe NAS has met the challenge.

We knew that NAS met the challenge when several CWT counselors said, “We don’t want to go back to the old way.”

Blog author: Erik Magnuson, VP of Product, Mobility, and Payments