On demand | Elevate 2022

Presenting @ play: Attribute-based shopping with NGS

Session details


The future of flight shopping is already here, and it begins with shop-by-attribute and comparison-shopping displays. Create consistent, predictable results and a better-all-around flight shopping experience for your customers. Don’t just play the game, shape the standards that are driving the future of flight shopping. 


Sophie: So part of ATPCO’s mission is to ensure that the industry has the right data in the right place at the right time in order to display and sell airline products. We're all aware that passengers are increasingly expecting to tailor their experiences to needs that are more specific, and we're providing the industry with what's available, relevant, and usable in the form of NGS attributes. And as we'll see, these are increasingly being used by major airline retailers. And so while our work's by no means done, we all know we've got plenty to do, we can cheerfully say that we've truly started.  

So it doesn't feel like that long ago that this is where we were. So most flight channels look like this, very informational, yet still not managing to tell me much about my flight. So it's price and schedule only and it's pretty dreary and the display price doesn't tell me what it includes.  

Where we are today. So shopping pages are usually much more visually pleasing. And here we see that the typical search still nevertheless starts with origin, destination, and date. And many excellent retailers now also include filters after search. And these are great for answering questions such as whether seat selection is included or a carry-on bag in the fare, or for example, when there're change and cancel fees, how they affect the price or not. We're not seeing many filters, before search, that would put more autonomy in the hands of the shopper to define more of their own criteria before they're served up the list of flights.  

So is there an opportunity for more product attributes to be included in this initial search? To present and select the most relevant offers to the customer? We think so. We anticipate that customers will include increasingly be picking and choosing elements like space and entertainment over simply, say, a business class ticket. And search that consistently prioritizes lowest fare is a frustratingly reductive experience for the flight shopper and doesn't do airline services and products justice. The attribute-based shopping supports customer empowerment, enabling shoppers at the outset to define what they're looking for. What's important to them about a flight, what their priorities are. And as we've been hearing throughout Elevate, true airline retailing focuses on the traveler's ability to see the value of the complete airline offer beyond the base fare.  

But where will we be tomorrow? Well, hopefully in a good place. Where data, NGS data, attribute data, flows, resulting in all kinds of sales and upsell. And to pave the way for this, at the beginning of the year, the industry approved our first set of Next Generation Storefront attributes so that they can be included throughout the offer life cycle, so in offer creation as well as in search.  

And our work moving forward is to identify new attributes, incorporate industry feedback as to their effectiveness and understand their current usage and then keep the data flow from airlines to channels full and brisk.  

So the industry is changing and part of our work is understanding the direction that it's moving in, where airlines and channels are in the evolution depending on their need, what their goals are, what barriers they're facing, and what ATPCO can do to provide industry solutions to help them overcome these barriers. More targeted displays using attributes to define and differentiate and airlines’ products or service increases the relevance of displayed offers and provides the ability to more finely target to customer micro segments. So airlines also want to improve customer understanding of everything they offer. High-in-funnel filters help by providing a kind of catalog or index of sorts. So whether a shopper is price sensitive or interested in finding flights based on the attributes that matter most to them. Enabling shop by attribute decommoditizes flight shopping, enabling a quicker path to booking and enhanced experience.  

So here we've got some example personas created by Brad and—by enabling—so we'll just go through them. Just these three examples. So a 26 year old remote worker can find all flights with at least 29 inches of seat pitch, power, Wi-Fi, a free carry-on and no change fees from her hometown in the Midwest to Florida anytime during the month of February. A business traveler from Cairo can find non-stop flights to Singapore with Wi-Fi power, a layback seat, food and beverage service, and lounge access. An Australian mother of three can find all fully refundable flights with priority boarding, entertainment, food and beverage service to visit the grandparents in London this Christmas. I'm going to hand over to David...  

David: Thank you, Sophie. So first thing I'll say is I've worked very hard to look like this avatar. I think it takes about 30 years off. I try. So thank you. You've met me earlier today. I'm David. I'm head of ATPCO’s standards and  governance program. And one way of looking at that is an asset that ATPCO has of some 130 documents that are processing standards. We have interface standards which are the details of every attribute that that we distribute, and supporting services standards and that's that critical bit of how those attributes work through the life cycle of the offer and the order through the transaction.  

So as I mentioned this morning, I've come from an airline background, 25 years’ experience of developing standards alongside IATA and Airlines 4 America and ARC, who's here today as well, for pricing, shopping, taxes, billing and settlement, and servicing. So I want to talk a little bit about the critical data and standards that make up what we call Next Generation Storefront, or an attribute-based approach to shopping.  

So if you're familiar with the work, and it's been a lot of years of work, about 3.5 years to develop the Next Generation Storefront. Original concept actually came from an announcement at Elevate some four years back now. And as with most of ATPCO’s work for the industry, collaboration was absolutely key in that coming to consensus on the most shop-relevant and airline content-heavy attributes that we had. So facilitating the industry, we came to the conclusion that these 16 attributes were the ones that were shopping relevant enough and had the critical mass to be called Next Generation Storefront element to drive attribute shopping and start that move towards where we want to be in the future.  

And the group, I hope you find conveniently and intuitively, you'll see the five groupings here, into areas that we can all understand and should resonate: airport baggage, on-board seats, and flexibility just to give them some more taxonomy. So taking these to an even higher level, you can see not only the shop transparency of all 16, but there are other really good benefits about looking at attributes in this way and having a core set of 16.  

So baggage and flexibility attributes are arguably the most scrutinized by regulators, and ATPCO has added a lot of value to the industry discussion in terms of consistent data and comprehensive data over the years. So it's good to see them part of the attribute-based shopping approach as well. There is right now, the U.S. Department of Transportation has a notice of proposed rulemaking on ancillary transparency and the feeling is that should that go anywhere, and we don't know yet, it's very new, it's not published on record yet, just for review, that this will help that approach for consistency.  

So let's call these the core elements, our baggage and flexibility side of things and then we have the flight and schedule data for each specific flight and that's driven by combination of amenities, data for flight search, and then optional services and brands for product. And that's when the service is available or not and whether it's payable or not. And it includes onboard services, seat attributes, and they're fundamental of course to the consumer experience in the air when that product is being delivered. Ohh, apologies.  

And then there are the rest of the attributes, the attributes of the shopping relevant with critical mass of airline content, and they form the basis of the product catalogue that we're talking about next door around dynamic offers and some of the proofs of concept that ATPCO is facilitating right now. And that's critical as well to moving towards the outcome of offers and orders for the industry driven by dynamic offers.  

So airport services look likely to be a really good driver of that set of attributes as well as the ability to advance select a seat. Our Offer Presentation Council has just approved the 17th attribute which you don't see here. It's not in the standard yet. We have a process and we're following it, and it's in draft and will be published very shortly. And that's priority check-in, through our design team, we concluded that that was another shop- relevant attribute that had enough airline-filed content to again be called a Next Generation Storefront attribute. So do expect more to come. There are design teams, as I mentioned earlier this afternoon, working on all these attributes. It's not static, it's moving on to meet the need of modern attribute shopping.  

Finally, a subject very dear to my heart, being head of standards at ATPCO. I just want to close with the idea of the importance of standardization and I go back to a question I was asked at an ancillary services conference in, it was 2017, don't standards slow down and stifle innovation? Great question to be put on the spot with. But I've had a long time to think about that, and the answer to it and I always come to the conclusion, as I said this morning, that innovators of course should be free to innovate where it competitively makes sense to do so and it moves the economy and the industry forward. But the only way to globally scale that, and what we see time and time again through network economic effects and ATPCO facilitating that data to the market, is that through agile and well articulated standards, it's the only way that we can reach global scale and that's through speed of delivery, accuracy, and again adoption things with high airline content that scale for the industry.  

So you're about to hear from two more speakers that Sophie has already introduced. They're very familiar with the reality of attribute shopping to benefit the consumer experience. So you’ll hear from Melanie Paul and she'll tell us about Virgin Atlantic's purposeful evolutionary journey, bringing Next Generation Storefront attributes to the front and center of channel presentation of their product. And Connie Chung from Expedia. And they have an approach beyond NGS. It's rather than using that specific terminology, Expedia have a broader take on smart shopping using attributes because of their multimodal offering and Connie will tell you a lot more about that. So without further ado, I'll hand over to Melanie, and a clicker for you. Thank you.  

Melanie: Thank you, David. Hi, all. I'm from Virgin Atlantic and the attributes for ATPCO was a huge part of our COVID information to the public. We used it initially as a starting point. When I first started, I had the joy of starting at Virgin Atlantic six weeks before COVID shut down the industry. So I came in at a very unique time, but I was furloughed for two months and then came back, and this was one of the very first things I actually implemented within the airline, was the COVID attributes with the intense cleaning and the face masks, the hygiene packs on board. We used all the imagery to relay that information through.  

But going back to yesterday's early morning discussion with Jeff talking about the old school systems, you look at this and you think you're literally buying a seat. We've all been talking about this and all the presentations over the last two days. You look at this and you have no idea what you're purchasing. Yes, the customer has a seat. I've just been in the merchandising forum and in there, it was like a seat and a bed, and that's literally what we're trying to also portray is where we've got our JV partners, we work with them very closely. You want to know what you're purchasing when you purchase a Virgin Atlantic seat, the customer wants to know what those attributes are. They don't want to know how we get that to them. They just want to know what they're buying. And so looking at the old green screen, they don't know what they're getting whereas moving forward with the attributes, we're able to display exactly what we're what we have on offer.  

So this is our new A330 NEO with our new loft and Retreat Suite and the new seats and everything on board that we've just released. This aircraft starts flying this month. So this is the sort of thing that we're able to portray to the agents through the attributes. So we're able to give full explanations of exactly what they're getting on board. What cabin has what features and the rich imagery that goes with that. So we're able to make sure that what we are selling, they know what they're getting. The question was raised earlier, how does the customer know if there's an aircraft change, if things aren't exactly what they expect? Well, I can say that these are our new aircraft and this is what they're getting.  

So we've got our JV partners that we also work with, which we're very lucky to be working with Delta, Air France, KLM, and we also have the attributes with our partners as well. So when you purchase an a ticket for that seat you, that's also displayed across each of the websites. So we've all got these attributes across all of our carriers, so you know that what you're buying and what you're seeing is what you're getting. So this has been a really important thing for all of our businesses, especially with the recovery stage over the last few years.  

So this has been huge for us to be able to push out to the market, have a single source of truth as well that goes with that. So we're able to work together and say, right, this is what we have. Everything is stored in one place. The imagery comes from our website. So we're able to have the same content from our website going through the Routehappy application with the attributes and the information to go with that.  

And we're finding that this is a huge benefit to the business because the uptake in upsell has also been phenomenal because you can go from, yeah, you have a seat, you may not want a bag, fine, you can purchase that, no problem. Then you can say, actually I do need a bag because I'm going to go on a shopping trip, but that's exactly what I need. So it's the sort of thing where I need to make sure that I do have that extra baggage space because coming to the US, who wouldn't go shopping? So if that sort of thing where you want to go back with that extra luggage space and have that with you, and going into the business class or the upper class. You know you've got that that Retreat Suite where you can sit back and have people come and sit with you have little mini meetings, and then you've also got the loft which is like the lounge on board. So it does everything that we need.  

Saying that, going back to what David was saying, the innovation doesn't stop. We've found that with our JV partners, we want to make sure that we can keep progressing with those displays, make sure that everything that we're selling, they sell, is aligned and we're continually developing that relationship and putting those ideas and suggestions forward to ATPCO to then put those onto the roadmap for future development as well. So this is working really quite well for us. So if anyone has any ideas, just raise a change request and so that's going to David, thank you, or your account manager like Asma and they'll take care of it. So yeah, it does work well for us, it's something that we couldn't have lived without, to be honest, throughout COVID. It was just a really great product for us to be able to push out and keep the trade informed of everything going on. I think we can pass over.  

David: Great. Thank you. Thank you, Melanie. So just before I hand the clicker over to Connie, just to mention, you will see these Slido tags. Please do use your phone to capture those. And if you want to ask a question anonymously or otherwise, I will be seeing them here and we'll ask them. I'll save the one that I've got because it's for Connie after you've spoken. But please do get the questions rolling in. It will be a lively discussion afterwards.  

Connie: I don't have my glasses on so I can't see the question, but hopefully I magically answer the question, whatever it is. Oh, that's not me. Okay.  

Sophie: So Next Generation Storefront isn't about ATPCO designing displays because after all, it's not our Next Generation Storefront, it's your Next Generation Storefront. So we help with getting the best data to drive the best customer experience, sharing industry feedback so that airlines understand channel perspectives and vice versa, so that we can continue to iterate and get even better.  

In our mind, any storefront that encourages shoppers beyond the base fares and uses NGS to do this is an NGS channel. And great examples of NGS channels exist, but this is a mock up of some of the ingredients that go into a great Next Generation Storefront. Their attribute filters to enable shoppers to quickly find the products that they desire most, and comparative displays provide a home for visual content and make it easy for shoppers to understand differences between offers at a glance. And now, over to Connie.  

Connie: Thank you. Hi, folks. My name is Connie Chung. I lead the air product team for Expedia Group based out of Seattle. Yesterday I spoke a little bit, touched on all these points I think yesterday, but we had to go a little deeper today.  

Our goal at Expedia is to make sure we want to deliver the best travel experience possible. I'm in charge of the air team, but obviously within Expedia Group we have many other product areas and we get to leverage learnings from other areas such as lodging, vacation rentals, to improve upon travel experiences for anyone visiting our sites. And so yesterday I talked about smart shopping and how that is something that is already live on our lodging space. They are talking about similar problems that we have in the air industry where you have all these attributes, right. In the lodging world, it's do I have breakfast included, is Wi-Fi included? That's mostly free nowadays I think, but other attributes within that lodging experience that they've also had to say, how do I take out pieces to get something to travelers that they understand what they're buying. Well, they're a little bit ahead of where we are, I think in the industry. And so now we're doing that on the air side.  

So in air, we're very, very focused. We've been spending this whole year doing research and how we present attributes clearly to travelers so that they can go in and have transparency and confidence in booking. Tied to that confidence, there are many other things that we've been launching. So before I jump into all the attribute-based shopping stuff we do, a lot of focus on ensuring that our travelers trust what they're buying from us and they trust that the information that we're providing is accurate and valuable for them.  

And so one of the features we launched back in May this year was price tracking and predictions. So we are leveraging our AI team’s knowledge to predict pricing for a flight and someone can track if they do search. For example, for myself, it was Seattle over to DCA this time. I can say track this price and I'll get notifications when the prices go up or down a certain threshold. And that also is an AI-driven threshold that we're using. And so this just helps customers and travelers understand, like hey, you can trust that we're going to go out and find you the best deal.  

Very, very much tied to that is a product that we have called Price Match Promise. This is one of our insurtech products and it allows travelers to have the confidence to book, even if you don't have the cheapest price now, if you have Price Match Promise, if that price does drop, you're just going to get money back automatically. That delight that comes with just getting free money back is something you can't explain, right? I think Amazon did that for me recently on a purchase. It was like here's $2.00 back. It's just $2.00. But you just gave it to me. I think Costco does the same, right? You can do this price match. And so it's an offering that we have on our air product and that we have seen an increase in trust and delight in the product. So I talk about these things because it really tees up the philosophy that we have. We want people to have confidence that what we are giving is transparent, it's real time, it's accurate. And that whatever they see on a site is to help the traveler, it's not to have someone say oh, you don't want to, most spam someone into thinking, sometimes people have urgency messaging being a little too spammy, there's only one ticket left. Do I really trust you that there's only one ticket left? And so those are some of the things that we want to ensure that we see our travelers’ experience.  

So I mentioned yesterday also that we've been working on bringing out attributes further up funnel. So we used to do a lot of selling on the checkout page after you've already picked the flights that you wanted. And instead we have been bringing that and testing all this year bringing some of those attributes further up the funnel than the checkout page. What is really, really cool is every single test we have launched this year, we have rolled out because every single test we've launched this year has been a winner. And winner means, in this case, we are measuring do we see people increasing the purchase of non-restricted fares? So that they're not just buying a basic economy flight but they're actually buying something that is valuable to them because we've shown the value of an upsold option and they see and can easily compare. Hey what's the difference between this fare and the next fare up? Why does it cost 50 U.S. dollars more? Oh now I understand it. Yes, that is valuable to me and I'm going to go ahead and purchase that.  

So we've spent all year already teeing this up, and one of our fun stats I think I can share, click for me, Brad. One of the fun stats I can share is we moved seat selection up the funnel just by one page and we saw 94% increase in choosing seats. So there are tiny, what feels like a tiny, tiny test that you can run that absolutely makes a difference. And we see that replicated, yesterday I think someone asked me what I see on the app experiences. We see that experience replicated and the same results replicated in the app too. So these wins that we see on the web experiences we also test in our iOS app or Android app and it's the same thing. We see that increase in non-restricted fare purchases. We see people buying these upsold options.  

So it's been very exciting and encouraging, and it helps us believe that the smart shopping path we're on is the right path to continue to emphasize that transparency. I'm going to share a demo shortly after this slide on smart shopping and what we've really been focused on, I mentioned we're already bringing all of these attributes up front, further up funnel, we're going even further up funnel. So we're trying to reimagine like Sophie was talking earlier, it's not just about schedule and price, but if I am able to choose the different attributes I already know I care about for a specific trip, let's start as up funnel as we can so that travelers get that experience earlier, right? And you're not just walking the path up and down over and over again.  

In addition, we have our machine learning models that we use to also impact our sort models so that we're able to say, hey for this person, can I personalize their search results so that what you get back is based off of different attributes you've already told us you care about? So we've already launched our first AI-based recommended search this year and will continue to refine that, but I'm going to walk you through a quick demo. A caveat, this was a demo we put together back in May. And like I mentioned, we are constantly doing research and studies and iterating. So what we plan on launching by the end of this year doesn't quite look like what you'll see in this demo, but it gives you a flavor of where our minds have been and how we're iterating and focusing and trying different things to try to make sure that what we put forward is the best experience possible. And whatever we put forward at the end of this year, we may not hit the mark perfectly either, and we'll keep iterating.  

So what you see here first is someone coming to our Expedia app to do a flight search. This is just a simple one way for demonstration purposes, and in this case we're gathering some pre-filtered information. This is things that we often see people click on the most, time of day. How many stops? Everyone wants a nonstop preferably. And some of these attributes that I care about. Do I care about seat choice? Do I need my bags chosen for me? I mentioned price tracking earlier and what we're doing here is saying, hey if someone really cares about adding a seat or a bag, I can say yes, I care about it. You can see that price changes and increases to show, so you're really able to compare apples to apples amongst the different airlines right up at the first page. So once you've selected the carrier, in this case Conway Air, what we've done is said, okay, now you kind of see your typical schedule and price and you can see and compare different fare types and seat types. And so from here you can choose and say, hey, with visual content, can I get a better experience and understanding of what I'm going to get between different fares? I can pop in and dive in to see what content is available. I can see fares and fees and what's included and what's not included. And this is an area where I can now choose my seats. So in that merchandising page, what we call our merchandising hub, you can add all these different attributes here we're just talking about, right, whether it's her bags or Wi-Fi or meal purchases that all happens here. I mentioned Price Match Promise earlier to give you confidence to book. And you go ahead and check out and this is kind of a typical checkout experience.  

So that's a bit of a preview of what we've been doing with smart shopping. Like I mentioned, we're going to launch our first what we call our MLPs, our minimal lovable products. The first one's going to launch by the end of this year for air, and we will keep iterating what you saw there. Like I said, it won't be  exactly in the end of this year, but you understand a little bit of where we're going with this. The whole gist of it is transparency, confidence to book, trust that Expedia is trying to provide the best options and surface the best options for our travelers.  

Sophie: So to sum up, everybody, all customers, are better served by clearly defined attributes to facilitate the most informed decision making. As David mentioned–is this the right one? As David mentioned, the Offer Presentation Council has just approved attribute 17, priority check-in. And basically NGS isn't some dusty, static thing, it's a living standard and what you, the industry, make it. Airlines by providing their strategic input and of course their data and channels by using this input and data to guide our shoppers to what they need and want for that trip on that occasion. So now we'll move to Q&A. Is that right?  

David: Yes, for sure. So I know that we haven't got the QR code up here, but it's slido.com#ngs. Hopefully, you hit the QR code or you can just raise your hand. We have some roaming mics or you can shout out. We have two questions. I'll address the first two to Melanie first, just to give Connie a break for a second, somebody asked, should, in your opinion, should the user be responsible for choosing their attributes or should the channel, who knows their customers, be tuned to preference and surface appropriate options? I'll ask you the same question afterwards, Connie, as well.  

Melanie: So very good question. Well, the information that we input Is in regards to how us as an airline want to display our content to the customer. However, saying that this application also provides the ability to personalize the customers’ preferences once that display is being provided. So as an airline we're able to then have the information displayed how we'd like it, and then that gives the customer the choice to be able to then go ahead and select what they would prefer. So in theory it's a bit of both.  

David: Yeah, thank you. So there's room for innovation from channels. Yeah. Perfect. It's never ending. Thank you. So same question to you, Connie, your opinion on that?  

Connie: Yeah, I think there's a balance to strike. So I mentioned an example yesterday where even for myself, even if Expedia knows me perfectly when I'm traveling, wearing the hat of mom of 4 elementary school kids, it's very different than when I travel for business. And so you really want, yes, we want to personalize. Yes, we want to make this as easy as possible, but there's also context that we need to understand when people are searching.  

And then I talk about often an example called the creepy factor. You don't want to get so personalized that you start getting creeped out. The example I have is I recently had a creepy factor situation with a large online retailer. I was ordering COVID tests because my family got COVID and through Washington state they're free. So you can just get them through our government website. But it's shipped through this large online retailer. And because it was shipped by them, I started getting ads to buy COVID tests in my search results even though I never searched for it within there. It gets that creepy, ooh, how did you know that? Like, why do you know this information? And you don't want to get to the point where it's gotten there. I can't imagine it being too hard in the air search path to really creep people out.  

But, you know, there's definitely a balance of applying all the smarts and technology we can to help personalize something to balance that with what can we provide that is the best option for you. So I think there are opportunities really to accelerate and improve personalization in air search, in the air search space, but also to balance it with not getting too creepy.  

David: Yeah, I think some similar answer, the bit of both. So channels should innovate to a point but not to the point to your great phrase, I will certainly use again, to not have the creepy factor. So somebody was interested in the ticket with Price Match Promise if a lower fare is found and asked if Expedia does that in every issue.  

Connie: Yes we did. It does. So yeah, that's what I was sharing. We did. We do have Price Match Promise and the great thing about that is there's no impact to the carrier, to the airline. Expedia is covering that, right. So if the traveler sees a certain price, like I'm not sure if I should book, but because there's Price Match Promise I'll go ahead. When the traveler has bought at that certain price point, if it drops, I mean as the airline you're made whole, right? That total ticket price that was purchased, that's what the airline gets and we refund the customer back whatever the difference is that the price has dropped. So that is a guarantee that we're providing as Expedia Group.  

Audience member: [inaudible]  

Connie: Nope.  

Audience member: [inaudible]  

Connie: Correct, it is just an Expedia benefit that we're providing or a product that we're providing for our travelers to choose to purchase.  

Audience member: And if there's not a price change...  

Connie: Then nothing happens. Yeah. Yep.  

David: Right. Thank you for that. And I noticed there's a little ring with the microphone.  

Audience member: Dollars or a flat fee, or? So yes, please if you can dollars.  

Connie: We obviously, as with everything we're doing, we test things and so we have variations on pricing for the Price Match Promise product, yeah.  

Audience member: Is it personalized?  

Connie: We definitely have, what I would say is we definitely are trying to make sure that we hit a correct amount to make sure we're attaching correctly, but also providing the best traveler experience we can.  

David: All right, so thank you. So this next question I'll start out with, I'll see if the rest of us have, what happened shelves and drawers? I thought they were a great way to display offers.  

So actually this gives me a chance to give a little bit of history on the pivot that ATPCO facilitating the industry took with the Next Generation Storefront approach in January 2021. So up to that point there was a very big emphasis on writing very detailed processing standards that govern the display, basically shelves and drawers. We got a lot of feedback on that. But our standards initially should focus on core data and standards that drive the data that should allow channels to innovate on display, whether that be shelves and drawers or whatever that might mean. So we do define the term Next Generation Storefront. We say what it is, we define an attribute, we have critical mass for it, we have the 16 attributes within there. We do stop short of defining what a shelf and drawers in a channel should display. So from ATPCO's perspective that's where that conversation went.  

The design teams right now are completely focused on the raw data and standards that drive that consistent results and we are being displayed to innovators. Anybody else want to comment on the shelves and drawers concept?  

Melanie: I'm more than happy to comment on that. Yeah. So from Virgin Atlantic, we actually file all 16 of the attributes that were displayed earlier. We find that it does help advise the customer what products they get with each of the products that we sell. We have our fare families and all those attributes are listed within those fare families.  

We also work really closely, like I said earlier, with our JV partners as well, with the joint ventures. So that keeps us aligned with the products that we're selling and what our partners are selling and I won't say it standardizes things because we all like to have our little nuances within each carrier. But it's something that we are working towards to have, a stable workflow and display across the JV partners. So this is something that we are working towards and I think it's going quite well. It's taken quite a while to try and formalize that across four large carriers and get agreement. But yeah, it seems to be working. So watch this space.  

David: I think that makes an excellent point of where standards and innovation play well together. Yeah. And stop at a point where shelves and drawers still have value, it's just passing industry standard, if we can't get consensus, then we're spending a lot of industry time trying to get to a standard for something that should be innovated, and they are doing that very successfully.  

Melanie: Yeah.  

David: Thank you. I have another question that's related. Who decided on the attributes and what were the criteria for those attributes?  

So historically, the Next Generation Storefront group I believe around for a couple of years before we pivoted to raw data and standards, and basically that group came up with the attributes that were shop- relevant and had enough airline content to make sense. So the idea was to hit the sweet spot of the right groupings of attributes that look like they were the next use case for really good valuable attribute shopping meaningful to the consumer. The criteria would actually help with the standard. We didn't publish the standards earlier this year. We're coming up on version three now and we publish how much content of each airline in aggregate, how many airlines are filing content for each of them.  

So our criteria is that each of the attributes must have at least 50 airlines filing data for that attribute, or 30% of available seat kilometers are covered by the airlines filing. Absolutely there is this measure and there's a little bit of an arbitrary number, but we got industry consensus and so that went into the standard as kind of a baseline for we're not going to just make any attributes a Next Generation Storefront attribute. It has to have some weight for shopping relevance. Again, I'll just ask for other comments.  

Next question as well for Expedia again. Have Expedia experimented with weighting the value of attributes similar to weighting the value of price and duration?  

Connie: Weighting? So what we, hopefully I'll answer this correctly, what we do to determine maybe if that means the importance, how much that attribute matters to a traveler? What we're doing is constantly checking how people utilize our site. So how people are scrolling up and down, where people are pausing, where they're going back up funnel, going back down, and so those are indicators. For example, let's start with something really simple like nonstop. That's the first filter everyone clicks, right? I mentioned that earlier. We know because they click on that one.  

So if you look at attributes, you can look at that similarly. If there's a filter or an option to say, hey, I want a flight that also includes a checked bag. And we say now we whittled that down to fares of that type. That's how we start determining what attributes matter more based off of how people are using the site. So from that, we then prioritize the order.  

So you know in that demo we had that pre-filter phase at the very beginning before search results came up. How we choose what goes in there is based off of what our customers are travelers are telling us. If they're using that, that means it matters to them. If they're not, then maybe it's less a lower priority and maybe isn't something we would highlight on some of those first pages.  

So it's all based off of what our travelers are telling us with their clicks and feedback and we have all sorts of ways of gathering that information whether it's just clicks on the site. We also have a lot of site intercept surveys that come in, we have feedback pages, many, many different forums to get that information back to our product teams to prioritize.  

David: Yeah, thank you. I'd love to throw the same question to Melanie, because you mentioned you're filing all 16 attributes. Is it something that you're looking at as well from a user perspective, user preference of attributes or do all 16 have equal weight?  

Melanie: Yeah. So the attributes are really equal weight in our eyes because we have the fare families. All those attributes are applied to each bundle. So each one has a specific purpose for that purchase for the customer. In that respect, we are telling the customer what they're getting as part of that rather than giving them that flexibility of choice. But saying that, I think what we're doing seems to be working because we're still flying after all these hard times. So yeah, the product, I think, is speaking volumes. What we provide works and the customers are happy and if we do get feedback on any of those attributes where they think an improvement can be made, we definitely take that on board and assess and work through and roll out more functionalities, really. Like we said earlier, it's always a growth product.  

David: Excellent, thank you. We welcome those certainly and make them use case relevant.  

Melanie: Absolutely.  

David: As so use cases and I hear you say it's not a dusty old standard, it's very dynamic—  

Sophie: Not that the standards are dusty, not at all.  

Melanie: But if it's coming from a customer and a user experience, it's definitely worthwhile looking at it. Going back to the TripAdvisor comments earlier where if you're getting that feedback, you need to take that on board because if someone's making that effort to come to you and say, actually I think this would be a really good idea, they're obviously not going to be the first person who thought of that. They're the first person to come forward and suggest it, which means that you need to do that analysis, take a look, see whether it is feasible and obviously how difficult it is to get on the roadmap and implementation. But that's a whole other thing. But it's there for the taking. So if someone makes that effort, then you need to make effort to look into it.  

David: Great, thank you. I will say that just to add to that, the design team, a lot of the activity has been this pent up, the airlines joining design team saying these things matter to me for my shopping experience. Some of them don't have the weight of airline content yet, so they're not really shop-relevant enough but we do actually add them to the standard as attributes. They're not actually attributes yet because they don't have the — open seating is a great example where one airline is using it, incredibly important for that airline to have it, so we added to the standards as an attribute. Some of those it can be then included with brands and so forth. So it is kind of an incubator for those attributes to get more out of content as they become more shop-relevant to experience.  

So we do have about 15 minutes left. I don't have any more questions on Slido. Anyone want to raise their hand? Any questions you'd like to ask? Yes, please.  

Audience member: I can just put them in Slido. [inaudible] was very, very, it still continues to have very strong for the presentation of upsell opportunity in the earliest possible system and some channels are being that they believe is fully given the transparency upfront gives the customer what they want in terms of saying, oh yes that's the upsell is the actual thing I want. I was curious whether that philosophy fits your customer base or whether you think that taking them through the path, a different path, I should say. Does that ultimately matter, in that same place, or do they, do you think that they like, in terms of extra legroom, they like having this, they appreciate that and want to purchase?  

Connie: Yeah, I thought you were looking at me. Did everyone hear that? Okay. Yeah, I'll try to summarize. So there's a large US carrier, I think you said, that is very focused on extra legroom as an attribute and maybe that implies others are less focused on it.  

Audience member: They very strongly ask you to...  

Connie: Add it.  

Audience member: ...present that. Yeah. As soon as possible.  

Connie: Yeah.  

Audience member: And therefore, they're probably pro-NGS. But that means they're not standard anymore. And channels like yourself that didn't adopt that direction. Was your experience that the users were still selecting that and appreciative of seeing that that option on the second page as opposed to the first page listings?  

Connie: Yeah. So for Expedia, I think you're saying if we're not handling a specific use case for one carrier, if I can summarize it as that, then what happens? Are we still seeing travelers be able to pick up on that even if we don't call it out specifically? We're dealing with 500 some airlines. So the scale at which we're doing something is different than obviously if that airline.com has their own site to focus on that.  

And the approach we take is similar to what I've already mentioned before. If we're looking at customer feedback and we're seeing, hey, for example if I can look at increases in non-restricted fare purchases still it may not be the one specific attribute that we're able to pick up on, but if I can tell that the other work I'm doing helps drive up non-restricted fares then. And again, I'm looking when I'm running these, I'm looking at this globally, right across all the airlines and all the websites that we have. Then I would consider that a win for both the airline industry and Expedia and for travelers. So our focus isn't just on one specific scenario for one airline and that's how we handle that. We're testing constantly. So I believe we've also had this conversation with this airline too. And that's exactly how I've said it. We’re testing and we're looking and if there's enough customer traveler feedback that there is more information needed, more transparency about something. If legroom becomes a thing that everyone wants to know about, they want to know the exact seat pitch, that's not something we highlight today, like how many inches you have exactly. But if that becomes something, we're absolutely willing to test that on our site too.  

David: Excellent. Thank you for the question. Do I have any other questions today? Sophie?  

Sophie: Wrap it up.  

David: Oh. Thank you all.  

Melanie: That's a wrap.  

Solution breakout • NGS

An event experience you can't miss

ATPCO's Elevate + ARC's TravelConnect

Speakers ondemand


sophie carkeek headshot

Sophie Carkeek

Senior Strategist, ATPCO

Sophie evaluates what additional content ATPCO could and should be sourcing, ingesting, building, and distributing to bring value to the industry. She enjoys finding ways to simplify processes and improve industry standardization, and she is passionate about continually evolving content quality and reach. Sophie is currently working on Next Generation Storefront and is leading ATPCO’s work on sustainability.  

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.  

melanie paul headshot

Melanie Paul

Manager, Distribution Strategy , Virgin Atlantic

With 25 years’ experience in the travel industry, gained in various business, customer support, and management roles ranging mainly within the LCC market, Melanie couldn't ask for a better airline to be her first legacy carrier, Virgin Atlantic, where she started 6 weeks before the COVID lockdown. During the past 2.5 years, Melanie has been analyzing performance and business processes during these exceptional times and helping the business to define what's important and to become leaner and more streamlined, in turn permitting a stronger focus on the customer and product offering. 

connie chung headshot

Connie Chung

Senior Director, Air Experiences Product , Expedia Group

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