Sharing contextually relevant information with passengers enables airlines and airports to provide incredible levels of personalization to the customer experience. This can lead to providing more relevant marketing messages before the potential traveler books a flight, right through to the in-airport and post-flight experience.
According to SITA research back in 2013, 69% of people book travel on a website, and 76% of airline passengers carry a smartphone. In 2016 those figures can’t fail to rise. The increasing use of web resources and personal devices for passengers – coupled to emerging technologies like the Internet Of Things and iBeacon/NFC sensors – is set to revolutionize the whole travel experience, for the entire ecosystem.
The opportunity for this data-centric approach to the customer relationship promises numerous potential benefits for airlines, including increased sales, reduced costs and improved customer satisfaction. Conztanz provides a smart data platform, fed by PSS data or any other relevant systems.
In this article we overview five contextual opportunities for airlines to consider. Between them, the individual contexts can be used for delivering more relevant pre-booking through to post-flight communications. In combination, they hint at the customer experience of the very near future.
Web marketeers are already using IP location, or browser-language detection, to deliver messages that are relevant to the traveler based, respectively, on where they are or what language they speak.
This enables potential airline customers to receive rich marketing messages which will appeal to their geographic context. For example, a French-speaker working in Moscow during January would see an advert for a warm weekend break in Morocco, complete with flight details and a video for the hotel.
Once a potential customer has clicked on a link – say for the weekend in Morocco offer – the airline can use re-targeting to show the original ad, or a variant of it, when the traveler is on other ad-enabled websites. Re-targeting reminds the viewer of their interest, increasing the likelihood of generating a purchase.
Web marketeers also use contextual relevance and profiling to promote more focused travel offers. For example, if the viewer is a previous customer with a preference for 5 star hotels, that is the content which should be shown. If the viewer is on a watersport website, a holiday ad for one of Morocco’s coastal towns might convert better than an inland destination.
By now the traveler has purchased a holiday flight online and arrives at the airport, armed with their smartphone and airline app.
At the airport there are five key events where the traveler interacts with the pre-flight process: Bags ready-to-go, Check-in, Document scanning, Self-boarding and bag recovery.
All of these processes can be streamlined by a partnership between the airport facilities and the airline app. Sensors like Bluetooth iBeacons and NFC Near Field Communications can track the movement of passengers through the pre-flight process, leading to reduced cost for the airport and increased convenience for the passenger.
Mumbai’s T2, for example, aims to offer a ‘silent airport’ where the constant chime of flight announcements is replaced by individually relevant messages on the traveler’s smartphone. In future, five thousand people won’t have to listen to the repeated tannoy announcement for ‘Mr Smith to report immediately to check-in’: instead, the message will go just to Mr Smith’s phone.
Once the traveler has arrived at their destination, the airline app can continue to impress the traveler by offering environmentally relevant communications. For example ‘there’s a light breeze that’s perfect for sailing’ through to ‘there’s roadworks on the main road to your hotel’.
Environmental relevance can be built into an app by API links to other web services – like a weather or traffic channel – or from the airline’s own resources. Similarly, before the traveler returns to the airport for the return journey, she can receive a smartphone app message that trains to the airport are being delayed due to engineering works, so allow extra time for the journey.
It’s early days for fitness trackers – like the Apple iWatch – but technologists see a place for biometric data as part of the contextually relevant spectrum of communications.
For example, in the airport a ‘go to the gate now’ message could be sent to slow walkers before it is sent to fast walkers. Or somebody arriving at check-in with a high heart-rate could be asked by the check-in staff if they are feeling nervous about flying.
Going back to the pre-booking stage of the flight experience, athletic people could receive different promotional offers than those with a more sedentary lifestyle.
A specialized Passenger Service System – like those offered by Amadeus or Sabre – and IATA’s NDC New Distribution Capability are
As a software and IT consulting company, Conztanz is specialized in providing innovative digital solutions for the travel industry. Our non-intrusive, plug & play and agile data platform – running as an overlay of an airline’s Information System and Passenger Service Systems (PSS) – is a powerful starting point for future marketing and service initiatives like contextually relevant information.
Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about our PSS migration services, NDC consulting sevices, or how we can help with other data-centric challenges like EU PNR compliance.