On demand | Elevate 2021

Choosing our journey wisely: How Councils explore which paths we should take

Session details


ATPCO Councils: Industry collaboration in action

ATPCO Councils are a special force designed to drive innovation at scale across the travel industry. Composed of established leaders and decision-makers, ATPCO Councils prioritize top industry issues and develop required standards and solutions with a clear focus on speed, accuracy, and industry adoption. In this session, Councils leaders from Air Canada, Amadeus, British Airways, Delta, and Travelport discussed how Councils are going from idea to action to results faster than ever before.

Panelists represented each of ATPCO’s five targeted councils, which support innovation across the entire travel ribbon: Offer Content, Distribution & Infrastructure, Customer Care, Settlement, and Market Tools.

The work of the Councils— particularly around standards and transparency—is foundational to addressing significant changes taking place in airline retailing, such as dynamic offers evolving to be far more than just the price, and NDC distribution adapting to support a range of airline strategies while still maintaining a standard that can scale.

Automation of customer care is another critical area of Council focus, recognizing that today, 40 percent of changes and 80 percent of refunds are still handled manually.

“Our industry cannot afford to lag behind in automation. We need to enable digital actions and we need to do that in all circumstances, even in unexpected circumstances. And this is exactly what we are aiming for with our ATPCO Customer Care Council. We have defined a clear objective: one hundred percent automation of changes.”
—Hervé Prezet, Amadeus

Today’s ATPCO Councils use a new format and structure designed to maximize transparency, collaboration, and results.

“I think the new structure is actually going to enable the councils and the participants to be more focused on setting the directions and take a more strategic approach.”
—Stefania DiGesu, British Airways

Looking ahead: Dynamic Offers are a top priority

Audience members identified dynamic offers as the number one issue for Councils to tackle, with several other hot topics close behind.



Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. I’m David. I’m head of standards here at ATPCO.

I’m just shy of 30 years’ experience in the airline industry, and that's across airline revenue accounting, airline ticketing, pricing, taxation, distribution, and for the last three years I’ve been looking after ATPCO standards, councils, and intake. Here at ATPCO, we've always deeply felt and advocated the importance of industry collaboration, but what's it really mean in practice? That's why we're here today.

Our councils, which evolved from the ATPCO Advisory Council, the AAC, are groups of industry representatives that are tasked with helping prioritize what ATPCO should be working on. It's only through engaged industry input that we can make sure we're focusing on the right solutions to best support our industry and to make sure those solutions get adopted by the whole industry. It's a big deal.

I’d like to frame the conversation with a question I’ve been asked a few times over the years about industry standards that I believe we're proving to answer with a big yes with our actions: Can council standards and the transparent intake coexist with agile and innovative solutions in our industry?

I’d argue in fact that the only way to achieve impactful industry solutions to innovate at scale is through exactly these three things: collaborative councils, fast and accurate standards, and transparent intake.

But the word I want to focus on for a moment is scale. Solutions and industry infrastructure meant for scale are not going to do a lot of good for anyone if few airlines and channels adopt them. When we're dealing with 400 airlines, over 100,000 channels, and their technology providers worldwide. It's only by focusing on actions that drive speed, accuracy, and adoption that we can achieve innovation at scale, simply articulated as industry impact.

So our councils were created to improve time to market of new automation, that's speed, to improve accuracy that reduces the cost of friction, and to deliver value to our industry through improved industry adoption. All in all, these three things coexist to make up industry impact.

And how's it going, you might ask. Well, here are the councils that we have running right now, focusing on Offer Content, Distribution and Infrastructure, Customer Care, Settlement, and Market Tools. This is the overview, I won't go into all the details here, but definitely check them out in the link to Resources.

These councils have their own defined and separate purposes, but at the end of the day, they provide a fundamental travel ribbon link. A consistent articulation of the product to the consumer, regardless of touchpoint, to answer those same questions we’re using to describe airline product attributes 50 years ago.

Handled by our Offer Content Council, what is the product or offer? Also called consumer visualization or presentation. How much does it cost, who can buy it, when can they buy it or use it, and how can they use it?

Handled by our Distribution Infrastructure Council, where can they buy it?

Handled by our Customer Care Council, what's next in times of change?

Not shown here, but our Settlement Council covers payables and receivables so everyone gets the right money owed for providing the offer and fulfilling the order in the fastest and the least costly amount of time.

And Market Tools that handles ATPCO products that bring those standards to life.

As you all heard from the Get to Know ATPCO session, these are all the questions that go into retailing. Airlines innovating with creation and delivery of their products, channels innovating with marketing and selling them.

Starting to put the pieces together? It's all connected.

And we can match these questions back to all the attributes airlines file that make up an offer. If you're following the progress of the Next Generation Storefront program, you'll recognize that the what, the visualization or presentation to the consumer is covered in the first 16 NGS attributes also described in Appendix W, ATPCO’s latest reference guide for attribute iconography. And that's available to all of you through MyATPCO.

So let's set some context. Airline product attributes are the characteristics that uniquely define and differentiate each individual airline service or product and influence consumer buying decisions. As you can see, I love attributes and talking about them. We've already had some great data points framing these attributes from the councils running so far that have pointed us to set up design teams to focus on dynamic offers, storefront, adoption of existing infrastructure, 100 percent automation of change, taxes, consumer servicing as a product, and enabling new distribution capability.

But today we're here to chat with industry leaders in these councils, and in line with our aim for inclusive industry feedback, we'll want to hear from everyone in the audience as well. So please look out for that poll button that you can see to the right of your screen. We will be asking you later on for your views on council priorities.

Now to the most important part here for today, to our guests of honor, their roles in our new targeted councils, and how they're helping to move the needle with solutions for these attributes and themes that scale and lead to industry impact. So let's get to it. I’ll ask each of our council members to briefly introduce themselves, their company, and the council or councils they play a role in. And I’ll start with Keith. Over to you, Keith.


Hey, David. Thanks for the kind words of welcome and introduction.

So, good morning, everyone. As David mentioned, my name is Keith Wallis and I’ve been around the industry for 25 plus years, if you can believe it. I’ve held a few different positions at AC, first in the operations branch and now in the commercial branch.

David, it's really ironic that you chose that avatar for me. In a past, very brief life at Air Canada I was a Six Sigma Black Belt. It's by no means a martial arts expert but something of a Six Sigma Black Belt kind of guy.

So I’m currently the senior director of distribution and payments where I’m responsible for the overall performance of those two portfolios at Air Canada. Specifically on the distribution side of my job, I’m responsible for the display and the sale of Air Canada's offers through all channels that are not 100 percent owned and under Air Canada control. So that would include distribution of our offers through our GDS networks, to our travel agency partners, that would include our NDC channel which we're investing heavily in, and our metasearch partners.

And for ATPCO, I’ve been involved with ATPCO quite actively since I think maybe one of the early, earlier even maybe the founding meeting of the AAC, and now I’m a part of the brand new and extremely exciting Offer Content Council. And we're tackling things, really important topics like Next Generation Storefront and attributes and dynamic offers. So if anyone out there is interested in attributes and offers and how your product is sold in the ecosystem, I really encourage you to sign up and join us. Thanks, David, back to you.


Wonderful, thanks, Keith. Great reference to the AAC, in 2013 those roots are, so very strong industry roots. Great to have you with us today. Over to you, Hervé.


Okay, so I’m not muted anymore. So hello, everyone, and good morning, good afternoon. So I’m Hervé Prezet from Amadeus.

So I’m working a bit more, for a long time, in fact for more 30 years, and in fact since the beginning with ATPCO. So I was really, I hope an active member of the initial working group. So we designed the ATPCO Automated Rules at that time with Tom and remember the, a lot the Fargo examples, so I had to say Fargo in this. It was my objective. So I designed the infrastructure in Amadeus for the what we called the fare quote before that. So I designed the system to cope with the ATPCO and follow the ATPCO since then.

We are currently moving to different worlds. So I’m involved in industry and expertise now. I’m leading the industry and expertise group at Amadeus, which is a transversal unit. So I’m doing the forecast of the future of standards, mainly on the ATPCO and IATA side, and anticipation of this with management at Amadeus to see what are the new trends and where we need maybe to invest. So a lot of things in ATPCO, and of course a lot of things with IATA and NDC in particular.

So I am very happy to be, in fact an honor to have been selected, as a council sponsor, for business council, for sponsor for customer care, because in particular these days, we have noticed that customer care is really critical. And this is something that will not wait for any kind of new transformation in the future. We need to take care of the passenger now with the current technology, and we need to anticipate to continue to take care of them next with new technologies. But this is not something we can face. We need to take care of them now. So I hope that in the group we are progressing and we will have maybe a few words later on. So thanks a lot, David, for this opportunity.


Thanks, Hervé. Great words there and we'll hear a little bit more about the Customer Care Council. I know you just made a certain chief strategy officer very happy with the mention of Fargo as well and the airport there, so thanks for that. Over to you, Stefania, to introduce yourself.


Hi everyone. Thank you, David. So my name is Stefania DeGesu. So I’m working at British Airways. I’ve been in the airline industry for about 20 years, I want to say. The past 16 in BA, I moved from operations to the recent role in commercial department. So specifically I lead a team whose responsibilities varies from distribution, availability, schedule, reservations, ticketing, and so we do get a lot of collaborations with different areas and reach as well as external customers.

From an ATPCO perspective, obviously I’ve been working with you guys and participating in recent working groups for the past few years now, so I’m really grateful that you guys gave me the opportunity to lead the council as a business sponsor for the market tools. So probably touch upon a bit later on that. But yeah, so in terms of what we're going to be talking today, I think it's going to be quite interesting, so hopefully everyone will be following up. Thank you.


Fabulous. Thank you and welcome to you, Stefania from British Airways. And over to you, Cesar.


Hi, David. Thank you for the invitation to this panel. So good morning, everyone. My name is Cesar Mateus. I represent Delta Air Lines and I have a role that has a very interesting combination. Half of my role is leading the global pricing distribution team, so it's as close as you can be to ATPCO standards and to the ATPCO work. The other half of my team is in charge of selecting and executing commercial technology projects for Delta, so that role gives me a unique perspective on the high impact that ATPCO can have and all the innovation we want to do for our commercial organization and for our customers.

So as part of that I participate on the Offer Content Council as well as the Distribution and Infrastructure, and I’m very excited to be part of this conversation, and thank you, David. Back to you.


Excellent, so thanks, Cesar, and multi-council representation there. Very good to have you with us. And lastly to Pam.


Okay, so my mic's on. So hello, I am Pam Burns-Thomas. I’m with Travelport. I have over 40 years in the industry, having worked for an airline and then into the GDS or travel platform business, and I’ve worked with airlines and with OTAs in my role. And I’m now in the product management area, back into some of the fares and pricing with ATPCO, also working with airline revenue management systems because one of the things that is so important to us is to get the end-to-end workflow down, where we understand what is it that the airline wants, what is going to be the impact on the agency. When we think of the airlines we also have to think if we're sending this message to one carrier, are they cascading it to another carrier, is it going to work, is everybody thinking it all the way through?

So with that in mind, I am thrilled that ATPCO has moved to the council concept. I’m also thrilled that ATPCO is working so closely with IATA now and collaborating to make sure that people are thinking end-to-end, make sure that people at ATPCO understand what is coming out of IATA, what the intents are. I’m sitting on two of the councils, two of the new councils. One is the Offer Content and the other is Settlement. And I think once we get Market Tools going, I’ll be sitting on that one as well. And then I have, I could say a very close colleague, actually my boss, is sitting on Customer Care and Infrastructure, so we're trying to make sure we have a handle on everything going on, end to end.


Great, thanks, Pam. Really good to have you with us. I think actually two points well worth making there. Industry organizations working closely together, such an important piece, and I think that leads to a really noteworthy point you made, which is ATPCO has referred to as the life cycle of the fare before. We now think of it more as every customer touchpoint along the travel ribbon, consistency of policy information regardless of the airline process or the consumer touchpoint, that that data and those standards are being used. So really good point, great to have you with us for that, and we'll certainly discuss that in a bit more detail. Pam, thank you.

So wonderful to have all of you with us. Such a wealth of expertise and such enthusiasm as well, which is great. For this panel, just to level set, I’ll come to each of you with a specific question about your council or your experience with councils, but of course, if anyone would like to add a brief point, please do so so we can make the best of this important discussion in front of the industry here at Elevate today.

So I’ll start with Keith. In your position in distribution at Air Canada that you've described, you also said you've been an innovator in the industry for many years now and an active council member and advocate for industry solutions. I want to talk first about a really popular topic. It is not universally understood. I think if you asked four different people their definition of dynamic offers they'd have four equally valid answers, so from a standards perspective, of course, we need to make sure we're articulating the basics, providing the foundation, so airlines can price in as dynamic a way as they need to optimize their business, get a consistent product to the consumer at any stage in the travel ribbon. Can you just talk to me a little bit about how your council can help move the needle for dynamic offers and move us towards that all-important scale? Keith.


Yeah, sure, definitely, David. Thanks for that.

You're so right. Dynamic offers is one of those industry topics that is on everyone's radar, near the top of everyone's list, and it probably means something a little or a lot different to everyone. I would say that some of us have a really well-defined idea of exactly what dynamic offers means to our airline, and then there are some of us who know it's going to be a critical piece of the future strategy but not quite sure yet exactly how we're going to implement it and use it. So I want to say all of that is totally okay. Dynamic offers is going to be something a little different for each of us. A dynamic offer strategy is going to flex and breathe with an airline's overall product strategy, and it's going to be supported by an airline's distribution strategy and capabilities.

So I guess the question really is if dynamic offers will mean something a little different for each airline, how can the Offer Content Council that's focused on standards be of any help? How can we have standards when something's going to be very different for everyone?

Well, every single dynamic offer program has maybe two main elements at its core: the price and the product. And price can range from, in a dynamic offer strategy, price can range from predefined price points like we have today with some form of maybe dynamic availability control, right through to real dynamic price adjustments and full dynamic price calculation. And then on the product side, you can have really static core components of flights and ancillaries where we're all kind of starting, and you can go through maybe static bundles to real dynamic content that is assembled at the time the customer makes the request. So some airlines are going to focus more on price and others more on product, but if you have a really strong foundation of some core principles, some core technologies, and the data you're going to need to enable almost any dynamic offer recipe an airline is looking to put together, you can be successful.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, David, is that the council can help set some basic fundamentals that can help us as an industry accelerate through those painful early stages of any innovation curve, those frustrating months or years where it seems like you're almost in quicksand, you can't make any progress because everything is new and you're literally breaking new ground on 15 different fronts all at the same time. So we can help make that better. Hopefully. If we can set some standards for the key ingredients like data inputs, the context of the request, the rules and science around managing content, and if we can make that operable across all channels, I think the council can really do some of the early heavy lifting and give dynamic offers a real start for airlines. So we can get a really fun, innovative process that we're all looking to get to.


Great stuff. Thank you, Keith. So I hear that, so the kind of words I’m hearing, it's focused on price and product but actually interoperable content that works across all channels. I love that point because obviously the councils are a fairly limited number of companies but sort of guiding the industry and standards along, but actually what it means to this audience here at Elevate is that standards are meant to work for everybody. So actually that interoperability and what it means to every airline is so important, thanks. Thanks so much for the point, Keith, that's a great one. We'll look forward to progress on dynamic offers and hearing more about that as we go.

So I’m going to turn to Cesar for a second here. So as an active council member for the last three years and a member of our Distribution and Infrastructure council, I know you mentioned you're on Keith's Offer Content as well, I just want to get your perspective specifically on innovation in airline product distribution and how industry solutions can help to move the needle there.


Yeah, thanks. Thanks for the question, David. I think we, most of the people who are in this forum, would agree that when we think distribution over the last ten or five years, the conversation has been dominated by the adoption and evolution of the NDC standards, and that has happened over and over again, and of course every market is different, every airline is different, but it's interesting to see the wide variation that we see on approaches. As an example, we have seen airlines that did a very heavy investment on NDC but they didn't innovate on product, and then we saw other airlines that wanted to innovate on product but only if they are fully on NDC. So it is a bit of an extreme, two extreme approaches. And of course there are some other things that took some other policies, some other ways to do business, and they drove a lot of value.

But the reason I’m bringing this up is because I see these councils as a very unique opportunity to do what Keith mentioned, which is build the foundation right, so we can always stand on that foundation and drive value to the customer, put the customer at the center of what we do by mixing the new developments with some of the excellent foundations that we have built over the last few years. One of our favorite examples, at least when we talk to the team here, is that fares are this unique data element that is all the way, from when we make an offer, would we settle a ticket. And what of those benefits that fares have can be brought forward to the NDC world so we can innovate gradually as we continue using and evolving some of the things we do today.

So I’m very excited by having that, David, very excited by having the time, the dedication, the expertise, and the depth to be able to engage in those more nuanced conversations.


Great stuff, thank you, Cesar. So I hear you advocating for the use of industry infrastructure and you gave the example of fares there, and obviously and I think it ties to Pam's point as well, as things that work today within industry infrastructure to get us all the way through the end-to-end travel ribbon. And also I loved your point about there still needs to be a focus on that product innovation side as well as the pipes that make that work, as well. So a great point there.

So as a follow-up as well to that, I know you're a newer member of ATPCO councils. I know some on this panel have been around the AAC since 2013, I know for you the last three years. So what do you think we can all learn as an Elevate audience from this transition to those targeted councils, and what sort of behavior should we encourage there?


Yeah. And so, David, I think from our perspective, three points. One is remember that targeted councils can go deeper and can have more engaging conversations and can do more informed trade-offs, so invitation to the group to engage, and to engage leaning hard, if you will, so we can have those good trade-offs that translate into implementation at scale. Because AAC, candidly, was a bit broad and it was hard to have people representing airlines that had expertise on all those different topics.

The second thing is we need a stronger and more transparent governance. We have seen some opportunities just to have clarity around what the process is to put things through and to get them approved, and I know that the councils and your team, David, have done a very good job at starting to bubble that information up and making it more clear. So great progress on that. But as we do that, the council will have more and more impact.

And the third thing is we would love to have more space to debate priorities. Of course the councils that are, the new councils are a better space. I look forward to seeing all of you in person in design groups, in councils, so we can have those conversations. I think we as airlines would like to say to our customers, hey, go travel, go see your customers because that engagement is better. Well, we see it here clearly. I look forward, I can't wait to be in person. I can't wait to have those dialogues and have good decisions, have good conversations.


Excellent, lovely enthusiasm there, Cesar. Thank you and thanks for being such an active member, of course, of the council as well. And I’m hearing there engagement. The right people is important, focus on the end-to-end, again the entire travel ribbon. But I do I think it's good for those learning points you mentioned there as well, that we still need to keep working on governance, prioritization, making sure that we prioritize the urgent versus the important things, and we keep leading, acting, listening, learning, and pivoting. But we take a truly agile approach to this to make sure we really are fit for purpose with these councils, and I think all the points you made there are so actionable. We always look for that feedback because we can learn, we can make it better, and I think it puts us in a strong position for 2022 as well. So thank you, thanks so much for that, Cesar.

And now to Hervé as our business sponsor for Customer Care. You've, as you mentioned, you've had a long relationship with ATPCO pricing and retailing automation standards. I know you're a strong advocate for industry infrastructure for 100 percent automation ,and of course in the wake of 2020, a pandemic in which absolutely everything changed for all of us, can you just talk to me about your perspective on customer care and why it's particularly important at this time?


Yes, and first I would like to come and to add some comments on what has been said, because I think it's very important to understand also the standards itself. The importance of standards is everything we said, plus one thing is, we always say that we want customers to select products on based on attributes and not only based on price. So whatever we do, even in NDC or fare management system, we still need standardization, otherwise you will have this problem of not being able to compare, to have a comparison of product for something else than price, because price is just a number. It's easy. But when you go beyond price, you need standards, whatever is the data source. And so this transformation, whatever is the transformation, will require a consensus, will require organizations such as ATPCO. So we are agreed that okay, this is a size of the tracks you can put your trains, but you need to have the same size of the tracks. So I think that this is important.

Coming back, also I would like to say that about the councils themselves. So I’m around for 30 years, I saw the different ways of managing the priorities and different ways to govern, many of them in fact. And now I’m convinced that this new council framework is really a great way to engage on ambitious objectives. And more importantly, to focus the working groups where we have the subject matter experts to really work on what really matters and what can scale. Which is also important to secure that what we do is for the benefit of the whole, because we are an industry organization.

So to come back on your question, yes, we have learned a lot with the pandemic period. So mainly, three points. The first one is, the customer here is essential. So the descriptions, the problem, is a very good opportunity to rebuild the industry and to do it in a better way. We see a lot of things that can be improved in a good way. When travelers are feeling supported, when they have in front of them people who inform, and when there is some proactive actions, they are much more inclined to travel again and be loyal to their agent but also to the airlines. So this is a key asset that maybe we underestimated before the crisis.

The second point is automation, of course. Automation is a must. The pandemic we know, not only in the airline industry, has accelerated the need for digital tools. More actions are done online and we have seen how challenging it is also to handle millions of tickets. To say a word on just what we saw at Amadeus, we saw more than 2 million ticket cancellations per day at a given point last year, so you can imagine that done manually. So our industry cannot afford to lag behind of automation. We need to enable digital actions and we need to do that in all circumstances, even on the unexpected. And this is exactly what we are aiming in our concept. And we have defined a clear objective: one hundred percent automation of changes.

So the last point, the third point, is transparency and collaboration is essential. So when such an external event is hurting the industry we need to act together, and I think we should have done it a bit better last year. We must provide transparent conditions to the traveler, we need to go to prepare the rules and processes to cope with unexpected changes. It was unexpected, but in any way what we have done concretely last year was things that we could have prepared in advance. So for next time we need to be more resilient. So investing in resilience is critical.

Also the last point on this is travel agents. Travel agents are absolutely essential to cope with volume of changes, in particular these difficult times, and to restore trust in travel. They are in contact with travelers, they have their confidence. So whatever we do in the council, the solution needs to be multi-channel and equip all sellers with the same information and the same tool. It is just one of the lessons I learned from last year.


Great stuff, thanks, Hervé. Really good stuff there and some very hard metrics as well that you provided on increased focus on customer care when change becomes the norm for all air travelers and the challenge that brings to service customers en masse when automation isn't 100 percent. And frankly, we're an ecosystem, it's all of us working together. It's the reason why these standards are so important to bring airlines and sellers their innovation but also their ability to automate together. So just briefly, if I can ask you what have you seen so far as these councils and design teams move forward that gives you the most hope for speed, accuracy, and adoption at scale for industry impact?


The first thing we did was to define a measurable target. I think it's essential because if we have a measurable target, we can decide the priorities just related to the KPI we have defined. So I think it's essential for a council to define a measurable target because it removes all of the politics around the decisions, it is just a fact. So with 100 percent automation objective, the council provided a clear guideline but also a way to measure success. Today I can tell you where we are starting. We have 20 percent of refunds and 60 percent of changes that are automated. So the method is very simple. The design team is aiming at increasing these figures. We can measure the success.

To achieve this, the team is active on three axes. The first one is, and the key one, is why some airlines are not filing changes and refund conditions. What are the blockers? This is probably where we are going to gain a lot in the KPI.

Second point is we know that industry is lacking a central source of data for refundability of taxes. So we are going to dig together to define and fill in this industry reference.

And the third point is all of the rest. We need to identify, prioritize any other items related to customer care, change and refund, but then we select and prioritize the ones that have the most impact on the end result, which is increasing automation level percentage. As easy as that. I think it's quite easy. Thank you, David.


Perfect, thanks, Hervé. And I think a really quite shocking stat there, that 40 percent of changes still manual today and 80 percent of refunds, so it's a really a tangible target for that group to work with. And I think another point, that we must provide quantifiable value. These councils and design teams aren't there for the sake of it or to talk about these issues, they are focused on actions, metrics, quantifiable results.

So, Stefania, coming to you as the business sponsor for our Market Tools Council which obviously hasn't, it's slated for 2022, but will look after user groups for ATPCO products that bring these standards to life. Can you talk a bit about, from your experience, on what excites you about these targeted councils, your experience working in industry forums, and what we can focus on to make the most of yours and the other members’ time?


Thank you, David. So I think the very first thing that you asked is about what excites me. So something that Cesar touched upon already, ASE was quite big in scope and I think a lot of times we didn't necessarily have people being able to actively participate either because they were not necessarily with the right experience or they didn't necessarily have the way to, the input to help with the decision-making process. So I think the new structure is actually going to enable the councils and the participants in the councils to be more focused on setting the directions and take a more strategic approach, and then we can deliver through the appropriate clear prioritization process with the help of designs team where the subject matter experts can then actually have a real focus on the actual solution, only the solution design and the delivery for an industry adoption. Because most of the times, we otherwise run into the risk of working on something that wasn't either completed to delivery because the industry moved on or there was not a real appetite at a specific point in time.

Personally, I’m excited to have been given the opportunity to be sponsor of a council because I think the market tools actually can help make a difference with sharing solutions that can support the implementational standards as well as improving workflow efficiencies.

In terms of my past experience in industry forums, obviously I don't have same experience as all the other people in this panel because I haven't been in the industry for that long, but I think one of the things that I've been able to notice since I’ve been able to attend these forums has been that, whereas we're all been very keen to kind of share in a very neutral way about our knowledge and experience, sometimes it's not actually been easy to be actively engaged. And this could be a variety of factors, such as the discussions could have been too detailed for the agenda, or there was not the right area of expertise, or we simply, sometimes we're not necessarily comfortable in speaking up. The new structure of councils, however, can help you in having a more engaged audience because the participants can actually now clearly see where they can actively engage as a group and actually add value to what we're trying to deliver, whereas before it might not necessarily have been clear that we would just participate to represent our airline or system provider. So the sessions, I believe, from now on should actually become more engaging and everyone, hopefully, everyone will be comfortable enough to open up to the group and we can create a learning environment while at the same time we can help to move the industry forward.

And finally to the question you asked, what you can do to help us, both ourselves as team members of the council. I think probably going to touch upon a couple of things. One is agility, because I think we all agree, especially with the past year, that we need to be able to achieve a quicker implementation to market. If anything, last year has taught us, from the introduction of the emergency flexibility rules, I think that having the right focus and agile approach, and the collaboration we have been able to actually achieve something in a relatively short period of time. And everyone from airline to customers have actually been able to benefit from that. So I think ideally we want to kind of make sure that we still keep this in mind and we use the same approach while we come through the other side of this recovery phase.

And then the other key point for me is to make sure that we continually, especially with ATPCO as well, we continue to act and engage with non-ATPCO industry activities, because we need to make sure that there is alignment between what the councils are going to commit in terms of priorities and deliverables and what the wider industry needs, the developments are. We do want to avoid the risk of delivering something which is not going to end up being adopted, or we actually work in silos and we end up duplicating the work. So to me this would be the two things that will actually help us to make an efficient use and be effective in what we're going to deliver through the councils.


Great, thank you so much, Stefania. I think a couple of great points there that I certainly took away were again, the right people being involved doing the right things so we focus on prioritization. And this very important thing about knowledge transfer and making sure we keep that knowledge in the industry. But these are a great opportunity for growing knowledge, raising your boats in terms of understanding of the entire travel ribbon. And so you mentioned, as Pam had earlier, industry organizations working together. So love those points, thank you.

I’m going to move on to Pam. You're a member of two councils as you mentioned, and of course your company's represented across all of them. I’m really pleased you're on this panel because I know we've talked at length before about fares, making sure solutions work end-to-end, and you've seen that transition from longer meetings every six months to more dynamic councils that run 90 minutes every two to three months now and are more targeted. So, as a last question from this group, can you give us your perspective on what we're looking to achieve here, the level of collaboration across the supply chain, and what gives you personally the most hope for industry impact as we move on into 2022?


So as I said earlier, I think there was a really good start when ATPCO started to work more closely directly with IATA. I think the councils themselves, as other people have said today, it's going to allow more people to participate across a wider breadth of disciplines. The really important thing, though is that we do get the right people to participate, like Stefania was saying. When the people participate in the councils, they do need to participate not just come and sit, right? And I think that by allowing the councils to focus on areas of people's expertise, we may get more of that. We're certainly going to have to encourage it.

The other thing is with the councils, we need to be sure we don't get siloed in the councils because there's going to be overlap between every council. And so we need to make sure that whatever we're working on in one council where there's impact on other areas of our businesses, that those have to be represented. And that may have to be represented through the council, or it may be that people within their own organization have to reach out to other groups and bring back information. A very common example is if people who are experts in fares and pricing want to pull a piece of information from an airline's schedules data, they need to make sure they've grabbed the right piece of data. When they come in and they say I want to use a DEI from schedules, was it actually the right one? Did your fares and pricing people go back and vet that with the schedules experts? So we need to make sure that happens.


Great stuff. So yeah, thank you. Thank you, Pam. I think that was a really nice focus to wrap up those questions as well, that we're again focusing on people. Motivated people, engaged people, the right people, but also I love that as kind of a closing message from this panel as well. That these are focused councils but actually they tie together because really they're focusing on the end vision, which is a consistent product to the consumer, every touch point, and it's allowing airlines to innovate in product and channels to innovate in selling, marketing that product as well, and we must make sure that we're interoperable.

So I’d like to thank you all very much. Just in the interest of time, I’ll thank our panel for your continued engagement, your wisdom, and your guidance on this journey and this path that we're taking. And I really look forward to working with you all as we take our councils into 2022, some of them still starting up, as a strong foundation for industry solutions. So thank you all.

I do want to, we have about five minutes left. I want to turn to our audience now, and again look out for that poll tab on your screen. We talked about the importance of transparency, collaboration, and now it's time for you, our audience, to make your voice heard. So remember that although for now the councils are being staffed by our former ATPCO Advisory Council member organizations, opportunities will arise in the future for more participation, as well as the fact that multiple design teams that are open to everyone are currently running on the topics you've heard about today.

So I’m going to open our first poll for the audience and you'll need to click the poll tab here on your screen to participate. So what you'll see in the poll is that we're taking a cross-council view. And please click now. We'll look at some results coming in, but you'll see the top priority items from our council so far to get a broad Elevate community view. I want you to pick your top two from Offer Content, we have dynamic offers, and Next Generation Storefront. From Distribution Infrastructure we have servicing as a product, simplify the supply chain, and getting started with New Distribution Capability and NDC at scale. From Customer Care, 100 percent automation of change and refund, rule for taxes, and from Settlement a single source of truth for taxes.

So once again, if you could pick your top two from this poll, we within our councils, we look at these themes that are very targeted. This is really the first time we've had, it's very exciting, it's the first time I had a chance to look across industry at what that will be. So we're going to have a look at our poll results. Okay, I think poll results are in.

I’m going to move on to the next poll so we can get your answer there. Again, just in interest of time, so important to scale impact that all of you and many more industry stakeholders engaging councils, design teams, intake, and standards. So please pick all that apply from the below.

You'll see the second and final poll question of this session. I have a MyATPCO account, I use my MyATPCO account often to engage with the industry, I think of ATPCO first when I have a pricing or retailing automation business problem that could be sold at scale with a standard, I haven't done any above but I will now, or not for me, thanks. And obviously we're hoping if you haven't, that that you will just get in touch and get a MyATPCO account.

So, okay, so we have those data points. You'll be able to see them afterwards I’m sure in the follow-up materials. Here are some things that you, the audience, can do in order to get a bit more involved in what you've heard our council members and leaders, industry leaders, talking about today.

Getting a MyATPCO account is very easy to do. I believe in this one so fundamentally I’d even invite you to email me, I’m sure we can put that in the materials afterwards, my email, and I’ll get your account turned around in a day. You'll find all of the council and design team information on MyATPCO. It's a one-stop shop for what's going on with ATPCO industry solution development, very transparent.

Secondly, think of ATPCO first for business problems that relate to pricing and retail automation. If we don't hear about them, they're not getting solved at the industry level for standards. It's one-click, single paragraph, and then you can see if the industry agrees with your idea. The most resonating and impactful to solve rise to the top and they get dealt with through these councils that you've heard about today.

Third, make your voice heard as you did with the poll today. Like and dislike business requests. It's very social media, so we can broadly hear what's resonating or what needs the attention of councils and design teams to fix.

And lastly, get in touch. If you're interested in one of these areas you've heard about today, design teams are open to the ATPCO community, so we do want you to more than just stay in touch. If you need to, you may participate in a design team, just let us know.

So thanks again to our panel, wise advisors, all of you. Thank you very much for your time and continued engagement. Lots more time than we've spent this morning, very good guidance. You're all a great pleasure to work with and we have obviously long industry relationships.

I’d like to wish you all, our audience, healthy, safe, and thank you for participating in this session. I hope that you know a lot more about the positive intent and action of our councils and what they're pursuing to guide us all down the path for the mutual win.

If you want to talk more, again, get in touch. I’m always happy to talk airline product attributes, standards, intake, and councils, if you'd like to reach out to me personally.

Now it's time to stay tuned for our next session, Getting NDC to scale: It's not really about the pipes anymore, with Cory Garner of T2RL moderating another panel of fantastic industry experts. I’m really looking forward to that one.

Thank you all so much for your time, and I’ll see you soon. Thank you.

Panel •‎ Pricing & revenue management, Merchandising, Standards
Speakers ondemand


keith wallis headshot

Keith Wallis

Senior Director, Distribution and Payments , Air Canada

Keith has 25 years of experience in the airline industry. At Air Canada, he works to maximize revenue performance and cost efficiency through the development of a global distribution and payments strategy, business development activities, and account management. He is responsible for the carrier’s joint distribution strategy within Star Alliance. Keith serves on the Board of Directors of UATP, chairs IATA’s Distribution Advisory Council, and represents Air Canada on the IATA Shop-Order Services Board. He is also the Business Chair of the ATPCO Offer Content Council. Keith holds a bachelor’s degree from UNB and an MBA from McGill University, and is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. 

david smith headshot

David Smith

Head of Standards & Industry Governance  , ATPCO

David Smith, Head of Industry Standards, has 28 years of experience working in the airline industry in the travel distribution ecosystem. Within 10 years at a major European airline, and 18 years at ATPCO, he has experience in finance, business process re-engineering, program management, commercial negotiation, data distribution, and standards creation and management. He is also a board member of the US-based Society for Standards Professionals.  

pamela burns thompson headshot

Pamela Burns-Thompson

Global Head of Product Management –  Search & Bookability, Travelport

Pam heads up Travelport’s Platform Content & Intelligence team of product managers responsible for air search, including schedules, availability, sell, pricing, supplier merchandising and seats.  

Previous to her product manager role, she worked on the commercial side of the business, managing major Online Travel Agencies in the US and Europe and the airline, car and hotel customers.  She brings a deep understanding of the industry and the need to collaborate across multiple disciplines and multiple companies to ensure the end-to-end workflows.    

With over 40 years of experience in the industry, Pam still feels the excitement and pride in being a part of the innovations with increasing levels of sophistication and often with leading edge technologies. 

stefania digesu headshot

Stefania DiGesu

Product Support Manager, British Airways

Stefania currently works as British Airways’ Product Support Manager and is responsible for a team of technical experts who manage the daily operations and core system maintenance to enable the distribution of our Availability, Schedule and Fares. 

Having been a long-term active participant in IATA and ATPCO Working Groups, she recently chose to take on the role of Business Sponsor for the ATPCO Market Tools Council. She sees this as a unique opportunity to participate in, and lead, a global community of specialists to drive the industry forward through sharing our collective knowledge and experience, and even a bit of outside-of-the-box thinking because there has to be a bit of fun! She views this as a great occasion to help improve efficiencies and bring new standards to life that benefit the entire industry as we emerge from the COVID pandemic. 

herve prezet headshot

Hervé Prezet

Amadeus, VP Industry & Expertise

Hervé joined Amadeus in 1991. He is responsible of the Industry & Expertise unit with the mission of performing expertise missions for complex projects and contributing to long-term strategy initiatives.  

Hervé also represents Amadeus in several industry organizations bodies such as IATA or ATPCO and coordinates industry mandates in the company. 

cesar rincon mateus headshot

Cesar Rincon Mateus

Managing Director, Commercial Delivery and Global Pricing Distribution , Delta Air Lines

Cesar Mateus is Delta Air Lines' Managing Director of Commercial Delivery and Global Pricing Distribution. His current responsibility is keeping Delta the retailing Industry leader by enabling delivery of technology initiatives and ensuring Delta products accurately reach customers around the world. Previously, he has had roles in Offer and Order Management Development, Airline Partner Development, Inventory and Pricing Optimization, and Ancillary Development.   

You might also like

atpco councils
These engaged decision-makers help ATPCO prioritize and act on high-impact industry initiatives, and then track meaningful measures of the results.
innovative agile
One of the ways ATPCO adds value to the industry is through its standards setting, which took the spotlight in 2020 as the industry responded to the COVID-19 crisis.
atpco councils
Focused ATPCO Councils to drive agile and innovative solutions, prioritize key initiatives, and gain alignment from the industry.