The aviation sector, in the emerging markets has been most volatile with new entrants in the sector and existing players trying to increase their customer base. There is intense competition in this sector and constantly thinning margins. In such a scenario, the aviation industry is increasingly banking on new technologies to provide better customer service and experience and gain a competitive edge. Airlines are stepping up their investments in latest technologies to position themselves appropriately in the market.
Travel makes up for 75 percent of India’s e-commerce market (B2C) share. Within Travel, Air Travel is of course the fastest growing travel segment in terms of CAGR in India. With so much action happening its natural that airlines are looking for a competitive differentiator. What’s resulting from all this is better facilities for the consumer at competitive pricing.
Customers today are well informed and aware of the multiple choices they have. These smart customers are constantly pushing up the bar on services that the airlines have to deliver to them. It is now imperative to provide a seamless service experience to customer across complete travel cycle on multiple screens and platforms. Social media sites encourage the customer to share his/her travel experience. Social media analytics is coming very handy in managing customer sentiments through the travel cycle of ticketing, travel and arrival.
Also important is how an airline positions its ticket price greatly influences the customers buying decision. Offering ‘Unbundled Pricing’ is a concept that was pioneered by the Low Cost Carriers (LCC). Here also technology plays a key role to ensure that the optional-purchase items are prompted smartly and non-intrusively in a way to aid the customer selection. Another popular trend in pricing is ‘Dynamic Packaging' where a shopping-cart experience for their customers is provided by allowing them to ‘tailor-make their holiday/vacation package’ i.e. they can select the flight that they want, choose the hotel-separately, add other destination activities and then check-out with a single payment giving a significant discount to the bundled-price as compared to the individual components.
If you’ve got the pricing and customer experience in order, then creating a brand recall will not be so difficult. Back-end technology operations play a great supporting role in terms of equipping the airline to position itself appropriately in the market. An airline that is focused on quick turn-around and On-time departure does not invest in complex IT-systems that support inter-airline traveler connections.
Travelling globally and thousands of miles a year gives a comparison of best practices across the globe. Western carriers, especially the ones in the US, have very mature loyalty programs and they can leverage technology further to offer delightful customer experience both on and off board. Emerging market carriers, have lots to learn from the western carriers as far loyalty programs are concerned but offer best in class on-board hospitality which is unique.
Technology is offering multiple solutions to airlines, are you ready for the change?
Air Trave,Dynamic Packaging,Unbundled Pricing,Western carriers