What's in Your Favorite Airline's Future?

Posted on 09/14/2017

What do travelers value most when shopping for a flight?

And how can airlines leverage such information—along with the wealth of new technology and customer data—to present the most compelling and engaging offers?

Those are some of the questions explored in a new report titled “Embracing Airline Digital Transformation: A Spotlight on what Travelers Value.”

Commissioned by Amadeus, and Connections, a global networking and events organizer, the report is the result of interviews with airlines, travel agencies and technology experts, as well as an independent survey of travelers. It offers a detailed look at the current state of the industry, where it’s headed and current consumer opinions, including findings such as:

—56% of travelers said the total combination of product, service, and convenience was important to them when making a flight purchase

—24% valued the lowest price over all else

—20% said they always book with the same airline unless there is a significant difference in price

—28% of people said when searching for flights online, it’s difficult to compare flights based on features other than price

—31% said convenience of flight time or departure airport was the key factor in a purchase decision

The report also notes that the airline industry has entered a Fourth Industrial Revolution, which it describes as an era of datafication and constant connectivity that allows brands to get closer than ever to consumers and understand what they value.

“The ability of new technologies to aggregate customer data, combined with the application of behavioral economics, will help airlines to present their offer in a way that secures revenue and loyalty,” Elena Avila, Head of Airlines Strategy for Amadeus IT Group, said in a statement.

Additional takeaways include that economy class changed beyond recognition over the past two decades. Budget travelers have become accustomed to a culture that includes numerous ancillary charges. But some of those charges provoke more frustration from customers than others, particularly when something was formerly free.

When done in the right way, upselling can be positive for both the airline and the customer. Otherwise, the airline just annoys the customer, John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting, said in the report.

Artificial intelligence, including chatbots, will also drastically change the industry, according to the report, with AI being used to deliver more personalized experiences for travelers when requested.

Ultimately, the transformation currently overtaking the industry will mean investing in digital solutions and infrastructure—a seismic, technology-driven shift that, in an ideal scenario, will translate into a greater relationship between brands and consumers.

It will also likely mean a future where air travel sales creep into more and more platforms, including social media hangouts such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

“When you visit an airline website currently, it’s not a playful experience. But we’ll get to a point where it is, and when you playfully interact with an airline, there’s real potential,” said Michael Bayle, head of mobile for Amadeus IT Group.

Source: Travelpulse

PHOTO: A new report explores consumer attitudes about airline ticket purchases and the future of marketing in the industry. (photo via Flickr/Mike Murry)