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Spotnana enables unused ticket management across airline content channels

July 27, 2023
By Sarosh Waghmar
Categories Innovation,News

It’s our goal at Spotnana to maximize the efficiency of every traveler and agent who uses our technology. To achieve this we are working step-by-step to fully automate every possible travel workflow, no matter how complex.

We believe travelers should only reach out to an agent when they want to, and not because technology gaps leave them no other choice. While it’s a long journey to truly empower travelers to handle every possible need on a self-service basis, Spotnana’s modern architecture makes this possible, and we’ve made tremendous progress over the last few months. 

Today I’m excited to share that Spotnana is the first company in the world to provide comprehensive support for managing unused airline ticket credits across both EDIFACT and NDC distribution channels.

Embedding unused ticket credits in the booking process

Studies have shown that unused airline ticket credits can make up 5% of airline travel spend. The vast majority of these credits go unused, either because travelers forget they exist or find the redemption process too difficult to navigate.

In order to meaningfully recapture this spend, we realized we had to design a self-service user experience for redeeming travel credits that was radically simple. We decided to embed the opportunity to redeem unused credits throughout the entire process of booking a flight. 

Travelers can see available unused ticket credits on their homepage when they login. Most importantly, once a search occurs, we make it easy for travelers to quickly identify the flights that allow a credit to be redeemed. 

When one of these flights is selected, Spotnana automatically applies an available credit on a traveler’s behalf. If more than one credit can be redeemed for the same flight, travelers can choose which credit they prefer to apply. Should the traveler decide to save their unused credit for a future trip, the credit can be removed from the booking with a single click. 

For travel managers we’ve created a report that provides a detailed analysis of the volume and value of unused credits that are outstanding and redeemed. 

Tapping into the power of Spotnana’s modern architecture

It was very important to us to deliver capabilities for managing unused tickets for both EDIFACT and NDC fares at the same time. Wherever possible, we strive to deliver the same capabilities across all distribution channels and content sources, so travelers have a consistent experience. In addition, we’re seeing that the vast majority of travelers choose to book NDC fares on our platform when the option is available.

While commercial solutions exist for tracking unused ticket credits from EDIFACT based fares, no one has created this for NDC. As a result, we decided to build this ourselves. Our architecture is inherently content agnostic, which makes it easy for us to build features that work consistently across distribution channels. 

For unused ticket management, we use Spotnana’s Content Engine to parse fare rules for all content sources, which helps us know when any fare is cancellable, non-refundable, and eligible for an unused ticket credit. When a booking is canceled, we’re able to request unused ticket credit details via our direct NDC API integrations and store the results in our extensible System of Record. 

With the right data in place and accessible in real-time, it’s trivial for us to display unused ticket credits in our booking flow both for travelers and agents, since both our Online Booking Tool and Agent Desktop sit on top of the same platform. And if an unused ticket credit is redeemed, the microservices in our Booking Engine automate all aspects of the workflow, including communication with the airline.

Driving ongoing innovation with American Airlines

I’m a huge believer in building direct NDC integrations because they give us maximum flexibility to innovate. We can take full advantage of the unique capabilities supported by each of our airline partners at the time of launch, and we build direct relationships across engineering and product teams that support further innovation. 

American Airlines has been tremendously forward thinking when it comes to NDC. In early June they announced the ability to redeem an unused ticket credit from an EDIFACT-based booking toward the purchase of an NDC fare, and we quickly became the first company to bring this new capability to life. 

“Spotnana added support for NDC redemptions of EDIFACT-based flight credits in a matter of weeks. Their next-generation modern infrastructure is ideally suited for NDC, and we look forward to working together to bring new innovations to market.”

– Anthony Rader, Director of Airline Retailing Technology at American Airlines

The next frontier of automation and self-service

We’ve already addressed many of the major corner cases for exchanges and cancellations that typically require agent assistance. For example, in the last few months we’ve delivered self-service capabilities for multiple exchanges of the same flight, exchanges and cancellations of partially flown flights, exchanges of tickets with a pending upgrade, and the ability for a traveler to cancel a flight and choose either an unused ticket credit or a refund if the amounts differ.

As we build more automation and self-service capabilities into Spotnana’s next generation technology stack, I’m seeing more and more corporations choose their preferred technology first and their preferred TMC second. 

At some point I believe we’ll reach a tipping point and this will become the norm. The transition is already well underway.