BERLIN — Its 16-euro fee for GDS bookings has been heavily criticized but the Lufthansa Group says it’s successfully positioning the new strategy with a number of major B2B distribution deals. “Through our initiative we have achieved more substantial progress with our B2B direct connections in the last six months that in the past five years,” said Jens Bischof, Lufthansa’s Executive VP Sales and COO at ITB in Berlin.
“The most significant factor of our strategy is a progressive presentation of our high-quality products in the B2B distribution channels, which now includes considerably more information,” said Bischof. The Lufthansa Group includes Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines.
TUI has confirmed its plans for the alternative distribution channel Direct Connect, and is preparing for the acquisition of flights with Lufthansa via a direct connection.
Lufthansa Group and Hogg Robinson Group are working jointly on a Direct Connect Solution for both their Global Travel Management Division (HRG) and Technology Division (Fraedom).
Other companies where a Direct Connect solution is already in place include Germany’s largest ticket wholesaler (Consolidator), AERTiCKET, FTI-Ticketshop (subsidiary of the FTI Group).
The business travel agency chain Lufthansa City Center is currently in its test phase with direct connection. The connection to the first agencies is planned for the end of March. An extension of around 300 offices is planned for the entire Lufthansa City Center Franchise system.
Tour operator L’TUR uses its own direct connection for the creation of travel packages with flights from the Lufthansa Group for both its local and online business.
Vtours, one of the leading, dynamic tour operators in German-speaking countries, has already put its direct connection to the Lufthansa Group into operation.
The Lufthansa Group says it’s also in talks about possible solutions with other major companies, travel agents and tour operators. “With Thomas Cook, for example, there is a constructive exchange taking place regarding the possibility of a direct connection,” says the company. The industry partners are being supported by 14 different technology providers, listed here: lufthansagroup-directconnect.com/de/. B2C partnerships include Google Flights.
Also at ITB Lufthansa announced the launch of a pilot project with a direct connection to a major German tour operator, based on the new IATA data standard New Distribution Capability (NDC) being put into action for the first time.