Airline profits, albeit very slim, are up this year. Yet positive consumer sentiment towards airlines is decreasing, mostly the result of poor customer experiences. Sentiment toward United Airlines, for example, dropped from 62% favorable in December 2016 to 36% favorable in early May. Other US carriers have also experienced drops in favorability caused by a host of issues: overbookings and travel disruptions, IT meltdowns, changes to loyalty program structures, and an overall lack of personalization and customer recognition.
In fact, airlines remain in the bottom-third quadrant for overall customer service among all industries.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
At the Future Travel Experience (FTE) airline conference in Dublin next week (June 26-27), I’ll be joined by several colleagues as we reintroduce Guestlogix to the airline community and discuss the company’s renewed mission: to help airlines drive the highest ancillary revenues while delivering an incredible passenger experience.
With passengers experiencing a degradation of customer service from airlines across the globe, as evidenced by several highly publicized media episodes in recent months, there’s never been a more critical time – or an opportunity – for airlines to invest in how their customers experience their brands.
How can they create satisfying experiences in an atmosphere of low fares -- and low expectations of good service? By delivering the products that passengers want and services they need. In doing so, airlines can get closer to their customers and uncover more ways to be relevant, while driving ancillary revenues.
But we recognize there is disconnect between the service that airlines are currently delivering and the service that passengers receive. What passengers expect today is a travel experience akin to the convenience and ease of their “on the ground” commercial experiences with Amazon, Starbucks and Uber to name a few.
And that is what’s driving our new product innovation roadmap and what the Guestlogix team will be addressing in Dublin next week.
There have been many changes at Guestlogix over the past year, and I’m sure there will be equally as many questions from airlines and industry media about our new structure, new team and new products that we have in development. What hasn’t changed, however, is the company’s commitment to helping airlines improve their onboard programs by transforming how they sell.
If you are attending the Future Travel Experience conference next week, I invite you to come by our booth A24 and find out what we’ve been up to in recent months and how we think we can improve both the passenger experience and airlines’ approach to ancillary revenues and profits. We don’t believe airlines should compromise on either.