When travelers arrive safely at their destination, they’re not explicitly “told” their customer experience has ended – it’s just inferred or implied. Many travelers may feel relief at “getting away,” but between the arrivals gate and their next booking, those same customers will make a number of travel-related purchases, whether at the airport’s duty-free store, restaurants or maybe ground transportation for the next stage of their journey.
The airlines that can be there for those travelers beyond the flight are not only improving customer satisfaction but also extending their selling window. Many airlines already interact with customers through their mobile devices even if it’s just at check-in and pre-boarding, but they can get more engagement and revenue out of that direct channel. And it isn’t difficult to get started.
Airlines and Customer Data on the Day of Travel
The hours before and after a flight are an airline’s prime selling window, where they can win future bookings, ancillary revenue and loyalty.
Airlines know down to the date and time where customers will be, and what they might be interested in purchasing based on past transactional and behavioral data (for example, knowing that a customer always books 4-star hotels or a specific brand). Airlines also know (and can control offers for) the common “stress points” that travelers face every day, like forgetting a phone charger, losing out on bin space, or not knowing where to take business clients once they arrive at their destination.
If a traveler is arriving without a hotel booking or car rental, for example, the airline can make an offer or suggestion through its own branded app, effectively creating ancillary revenue beyond the booking path. But first the airline has to know each customer in context. What does their recent transactional and behavioral data reveal about them, and how can it be used to create personalized offers that are relevant to their larger day of travel?
Use Case 1 – Pre-Trip
Every traveler is flying for a reason, whether business or leisure, and typically has a lot to plan and manage before they even get to the airport. That can include getting travel documents in order, packing oversized and fragile items, or even just getting to the airport on time. Airlines can use the post-booking/pre-trip period to offer value-added services such as hotel rooms or car rentals, and smaller ones like onward luggage shipping, while providing information (baggage requirements, for example) and connecting customers to other travel services (such as special transportation to the airport). The more airlines can leverage their customer data, the more they can personalize the pre-trip phase with relevant content that meets travelers’ needs beyond the ticket, while always keeping them connected to the airline brand.
Use Case 2 – During the Flight
Customer data is a “front-end enabler” helping airlines deliver the right content to the right customers, rather than delivering the same content to every single traveler. Nowhere is this more important than during the flight when travelers are relying on the airline to satisfy their needs and comforts – they can’t just walk away to eat at a nearby fast-food place. They depend on what the airline has available in terms of merchandise and media. Our Travel Experience Platform’s data analytics can give airlines the ability to segment and personalize the content (and inventory) they deliver to each customer right on their mobile devices. And why wouldn’t they? 98% of travelers carry one. This in turn helps increase the customer’s satisfaction while triggering more onboard purchases and higher spend on each purchase.
Use Case 3 – Post-Trip
If the pre-trip period was about helping travelers plan and manage their journeys, the 24 hours after the flight is largely about making sure their customers remember the day of travel as a positive one, thanks in part to the airline’s extra efforts to consider travelers’ needs beyond the flight. Customer data can help airlines connect disparate experiences on the journey – for example, if airlines can connect the data they generate during the flight to their apps, they can have a special offer waiting for customers who had to cancel an onboard order due to low inventory.
Our Travel Experience Platform gives airlines the tools to connect their data across all content and sales channels to deliver more relevant and personalized content and offers, boost revenue and create a better traveler experience.
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