We’ve all seen what travel looks and feels like without personalization – passengers wandering around airports, stressed and unsure of who is supposed to help them, swiping through travel apps and getting hotel offers for Hawaii even as they’re headed to Cancún, wondering if their favorite drinks and snacks will be available onboard the flight, getting redundant offers from credit card companies they already spend lots of money with, not having transportation ready when they arrive at their destination, and so on.
Been there, done that. And personally, I like stress-free travel a lot better...
The vast majority of travelers feel like strangers everywhere they go – the airline may lack the right tools to support them every step of the way as they deal with different travel merchants (hotels, car rentals, retailers) and juggle a myriad of different travel apps. And this fragmented experience is a result of airlines not having the tools to accompany travelers on their journey and an insufficient use of data – challenges that we are helping airlines address through our new Travel Experience Platform.
The Possibilities for Personalization and Passenger Experience
To take just one example of the problems that travelers face, many of them will have booked a flight but no hotel – not an uncommon situation for “on the fly” connected travelers. These customers are on their own unless the airline can anticipate their need and deliver a personalized offer for a hotel, whether the offer is made in the booking path or closer to the day of travel, or both. But even if the customer passes on the offer, this touch of personalization shows that the airline is thinking about their needs in context (beyond the flight) and using data to meet those needs with a relevant offer.
This is how travel loyalty is built.
Are there other relevant offers that airlines could be making on the day of travel? The possibilities are limitless, but only if airlines have the right tools to use data more intelligently, make offers and product suggestions based on individual preferences, and add new value to the overall journey.
Think about how many passengers forget their phone chargers every day …or want their favorite drink on a long-haul flight …or don’t know what to do for fun once they get to where they’re going…
Airlines can easily anticipate all of these traveler stress points – it isn’t hard to figure out what a passenger needs when you know where they will be for hours at a time, where they are going and what they’ve done in the past. But with better use of data and business intelligence tools airlines can make the right offer at the right time, in-context and supportive of the larger day of travel.
Rather than announcing a special credit card offer over the loudspeaker – and annoying every passenger that isn’t interested – these sorts of offers can be targeted to passengers who actually are interested based on their past transactional and behavioral data.
Challenges and Obstacles to Personalization
In many cases, travelers don’t know what they want until the airline (or another brand) makes a suggestion. Personalization for airlines starts with using whatever data they have, more intelligently and at more stages of the journey, but starting with the most basic and common stress points.
Want to add a beverage to an onboard meal order? Here’s a combo with the passenger’s favorite drink…
Haven’t picked up that birthday gift yet? Here’s a special offer for the passenger to redeem during their layover…
No plans for tonight? Here’s a great deal on tickets to the big game for after the passenger’s business meeting…
As travelers wait for their luggage at the airport, what could they possibly need on the next stage of their journey? How can airlines anticipate and deliver personalized offers for those needs and continue the customer relationship after the flight? Doing all of this seamlessly may seem impossible until airlines start addressing some of the larger challenges and obstacles to personalization…
Fragmented Sales Channels
From mobile apps to seatback devices and anonymous cash transactions, airlines lack an all-in-one onboard POS for experience-focused selling that creates a consistent experience across sales channels and stages of the journey. Not only would this make it easier to manage personalized offers on the back end but also make it easier for passengers to track or revise their orders.
Poor Relationship Management
There are many points during a journey when airlines can win or lose their passengers, but the fragmented environment onboard the flight makes it hard to correct mistakes and capitalize on real-time opportunities. Passengers may exit the plane stressed and dissatisfied, for example, but a timely discount on a car rental could be just the personal touch to make the brand relationship right again.
Lack of Tools for Data & Personalized Campaigns
Airlines are lacking tools to turn massive amounts of highly personalized data into actionable insights that drive passenger satisfaction and more “under the wing” revenue. Simply making it easy for passengers to give feedback through an airline’s app would provide invaluable insight into what went right, what went wrong on each flight and how the airline could to fix it. In other words, connecting those insights to real-time personalized offers and campaigns targeted at individual flights or routes.
Nobody wants to be a stranger on the day of journey, certainly not your passengers. Simply by using data more intelligently, airlines can personalize different stages of the travel journey to make passengers feel like the airline is always there for them before, during and after the flight – whether with a discounted offer on a hotel, a personalized meal combo or a special rate to a local event.
What about your airline? Are you able to create a more personalized experience for travelers, while extending your selling window beyond the flight itself? We’re working with airlines across the globe through our Travel Experience Platform to enable them to do both – and a whole lot more. Interested in finding out how we can help your airline? Let’s talk.