As an airline or airport you are, of course, aware of all the challenges you face around regulation, shifting fuel prices and the operational issues expected within a global and complex industry. But with a focus on solving these, the time given to being truly innovative and finding points of competitive differentiation is often limited. And that’s the key to stealing a march in the air travel market – finding a way to differentiate the end-to-end customer experience within your airport or your airline.
Digital is at the heart of this, but what does digital really mean? It’s becoming an overused word, presented as a catch all for anything with a pixel. But when it comes to the customer experience, identifying a customer journey that utilises the data you hold to communicate more effectively through the mobile devices that are carried by 93%* of the UK population.
We’ve seen airlines make a tentative move towards online options for check in, apps to replace boarding passes, and using emails and texts to alert passengers of their flights. But what the consumer is still not seeing is technology that co-ordinates all aspects of their journey, from the minute they leave their house to the moment they arrive at their destination. Imagine if you could offer an integrated experience where the initial booking process was simple and easy on the eye, your customer’s journey to the airport was coordinated from one app, helpful alerts were sent during the airport experience such as gate opening times, and your customers have the option to have their luggage sent to their destination ahead of them.
All these and more are possible through effective data analytics and identifying the customer touch points where you can add value, create loyalty and stand out from the competition. So, for today’s airlines and airports, the commercial outlook is more encouraging than for some time and it’s vital that airlines focus on customer service differentiation to invest in building a future of relevance and resilience.
*Ofcom, Q1 2016