An airline’s passenger app is the front line of service for driving loyalty and revenue. Seeing that 85% of travelers use their smartphones while abroad, airlines need to take advantage of their technology and provide an app experience that has value beyond the flight; and across the entire journey. Based upon the loyalty success of their app, airlines will either succeed or fail to realize the tremendous ROI of travel personalization. After all, you can’t sell products and services without a salesperson, a store, a catalogue, and a cash register.
This research suggests that “the probability of selling up to new customers is in the 5–20% range, compared to 60–70% for an existing customer." So while driving app downloads is important, airlines need to be focusing on keeping travelers engaged and using their app, and definitely give users pause from deleting it.
Too large to fail
If the number one reason people delete an app is due to its size, then the app needs to be relevant, provide value, offers, incentives, information, and maintain interest to remain on someone’s phone. Secondly, airlines need to keep the size of that app as small as possible. It’s frustrating to see a game on iOS that’s 30-40MB, while an airline’s app is pushing 200MB! When travelers notice the amount of memory they’re sacrificing for a travel app whose main function is to house their electronic boarding pass, they’ll likely prefer to off-load that functionality to the Apple Wallet and delete the airline app altogether.
Ask for permission, lightly
On iOS devices, you can only ask users once to opt-in for push notifications and then for it to redirect to the official iOS screen. In other words, you have one shot, so be strategic about when you ask. Demanding opt-in as soon as they download the app is probably not the optimal moment, since they’re unsure about the value you offer. Sacrificing data and privacy might be a sticking point for them at this time. Instead, show them what they can do with your app, and what they can receive, and then suggest opting in to push notifications and location settings around the very moment that they’ll need to share that information. The same is true for asking users to set up an account, profile, and payment details. These are best left to transactional moments when this information is vital to completing a purchase or accessing a special offer or deal. Here are some other tactics for keeping mobile users engaged with your app.
Send a welcome
95% of opt-in users who don’t receive a push message within the first 90 days will uninstall that app. So make them feel welcome as soon as possible by sending an introductory message outlining the benefits they’ll receive from your app. Remember, promoting new features is a great reason to send a message, since added functionality improves the overall service you’re providing, which is something that passengers will find important.
Making sure your messages are relevant and strategically targeted can improve click-through rates by 4-7 times. For example, promoting an offer for an Eiffel Tower Tour makes sense if a passenger lands in Paris, but not if they land in Miami.
Knowing more about a passenger’s interests and preferences, you can now send highly personalized offers of products and services that they’ll find useful. Simply put, if they purchased a jump the line service before, why not promote it again? This is particularly effective when paired with location services turned on, since you can send offers at the right time. The important thing here is to let your passengers know that if they keep your app on their phone, they’re going to receive offers that they actually want.
Travelers check their itinerary an average of 7-10 times a day. You can ensure the “stickiness” of your app by providing this functionality, to keep travelers engaged and loyal to your technology. You’ll also have ample up-sell and cross sell opportunities and an open channel of communication.
Post-trip surveys can help collect key data points at a time when passengers are likely to be responsive to providing details about their recent trip. You can also match responses with other data points to build a more robust customer profile.
Travel personalization along the journey
Travel personalization can mean more than simply sending emails with your passenger’s names in the subject line. It means understanding the unique needs and stresses that they encounter along their entire journey, and provide them with as much relief and delight as possible.
Helping travelers dream and plan their trips can be a major function of your passenger app,and one that can also generate significant revenue. Your customers can browse through destination activities, add items to a wishlist, check availabilities, book, and make payments at any time along their journey. This means that an airline can drive revenue beyond the booking path, while providing a great customer experience through their mobile app. On the day of travel, push notifications can provide useful information and services at exactly the right moment, like securing transportation to or from the airport, or a jump the line service in the hours leading up to a flight.
The Guestlogix travel retail platform is built for retail personalization and adds value to an airline’s existing app without significantly increasing the app’s size. Passengers can have access to a breadth of ancillary content, on top of an airline’s existing a la carte services and commission-based content. And the suggestion engine allows airlines to serve up content at optimal moments and locations to increase the likelihood of conversion and to drive loyalty.