Forget bums on seats, personal bundles will be key to future airline experience

Hot on the heels of the first part of its Future Traveller Tribes 2030 study, Amadeus has followed up by looking at how airlines might better cater for different groups of individuals in the future.

For context, more detail on the six tribes, from simplicity seekers to obligation meeters (and their characteristics), can be found here.

This latest report, written by Frost & Sullivan, is built around several themes providing insight into:

  • how the traveller journey is evolving, increasing touchpoints in the digital world
  • the increasing number of potential sales channels – think smart watches, robots, virtual reality
  • how merchandising might evolve to become more customer centric
  • the recognition of data as one of an airline’s most valuable resources and customers’ expectations of it being used to personalise
  • how new types of travel purchasing experiences throughout the traveller journey will be possible through new technology and the use of data

Where contact with passengers used to end at the destination, the report highlights opportunities for airlines to engage with customers (via mobile, for example), stay in touch throughout more of the journey, and use data to ensure a better experience.

The study talks about successful airlines “leveraging each stage of the journey to provide a personalised experience.”

It breaks down the journey into nine phases and looks at how they will evolve and how airlines might create “personal bundles” depending on the travellers and the phase of travel.

(click image for a larger version)

Infographic Amadeus TT shaping the future traveller journey-550px

Booking, for example, will become much easier through the use of stored preferences and biometrics.

Smartphones, smart watches and location based services will enable airlines to offer travellers upgrades and other services very near the time of departure, perhaps even on their way to the airport as real-time revenue management takes hold.

And, more efficient processes around check-in and security should mean less time at the airport.

In short it’s about moving away from commoditisation and towards loyalty with the conclusion that if airlines manage to build loyalty through personalised services, then revenue will follow.

It might seem mad but despite industry online conversion rates in the low single digits, the report suggests conversion rates of near 100% are possible as airlines and intermediaries get to know their customers wants and needs better.

The report feels like a bit of a call to arms to airlines and other travel players to the opportunities out there if businesses can change the mindset from bums on seats.

There are also a couple of caveats highlighted such as the irritation factor and knowing what to offer and at what stage in the journey different travellers might be most receptive.

A further one is that carriers and intermediaries aren’t the only ones trying to become experience providers beyond just the flight, there will be stiff competition from the likes of Google and the metasearch players.

Like other global distribution giants, Amadeus is quite well positioned to take advantage of  airline moves to adopt retailing techniques.

The company unveiled the development of a merchandising system eight months ago, which alongside the Altea airline hosting technology as well as airport IT, it claims will help it connect more of the dots in the traveller journey.

NB: The second part of the Future Traveller Tribes 2030 report was released at the Amadeus Digital Merchandising Conference 2015 in Bangkok. It follows the Thinking Like A Retailer report in 2014.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda worked at tnooz from September 2011 to June 2018 in roles including senior reporter, deputy editor and managing editor.



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  1. Good service

    These reports are sales lies. Mobile companies went away from ancillaries (caller ID had a fee, voicemail had a fee, and so on) and internet went away from by-the-minute pricing because that’s what customers preferred and in a competitive marketplace companies have to deliver to customer preferences. Flying is competitive, and we’re already seeing Ryanair backpedaling on ancillaries and some metasearch engines rebundling (I.e. displaying prices with one checked bag, with drink, etc.)


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