Tales of frequent fliers getting the same letter three times from their favourite carrier have done the rounds but now airlines seem to be taking personalisation more seriously.
Could it be something to do with Google’s latest foray into the travel industry with its flight search tool?
EasyJet says it doesn’t do enough and that its personalisation efforts are too broad.
Now, the low-cost carrier is planning CRM investment to come up with a more targeted offering recognising not only consumers who come direct to its website but also the ‘high value business customer’ that is increasingly coming via travel management companies and large corporations.
The airline also admits to spending a lot with Google to drive traffic and says the search giant could drive more traffic but easyJet does not want to become too reliant on any one intermediary.
Jerry Dunne, easyJet distribution development manager says:
“We want to keep the relationship good but we don’t want to be beholden to them.”
While the presence of google team members perhaps prevented some from being more forthright on the question of how influential the search giant might become, others described Google’s entry as ‘game changing.’
Timothy O’Neill-Dunne, T2Impact managing partner, says airlines have taken a singular view of their customers without taking into account that every trip is different and therefore, the traveller’s behaviour.
He adds that what matters is what consumers think and consumers trust Google.
“No one owns the customer, personalisation is no longer about ‘Yes, I kind of know who you are’. When Google has an interaction it is able to put things into the context of the search and that is something travel cannot do. How can we provide ways to get the context of the consumer dialogue. Also, every trip is different so personalisation is far deeper and travel industry has been too slow.”
Fergal Kelly, director of portfolio at Travelport, agrees many airlines have only just started looking at what personalisation means to them.
He also mentions the challenge for the GDSs because of the rules and regulations they are subject to and whether they may need to be revised as Google develops.