In our airline strategy guide, we explored how Sabre’s vision is to provide airlines with a flexible offer and order ecosystem that intelligently enables them to retail and distribute a broad choice of tailored offers across any channel. Orders can be fulfilled and delivered with ease on an open, flexible, and cloud-native platform, resulting in value creation for the airline at each step in the process.
In our previous article, we examined the importance of choice and intelligence using case studies from other industries to illustrate the value we believe they add. In this second part, we diver deeper into the importance of ease when it comes to order fulfilment and delivery in a future world of travel retailing.
It’s fair to say that we would all appreciate a little more ease in our lives. For things just to work, without difficulty, without struggle. Most consumers want to eliminate unnecessary effort and find easier ways of accomplishing tasks. This shines through in the success of companies like Uber and Amazon, who have found ways to make day-to-day activities like shopping and transportation frictionless and easier than ever before.
Consumers have come to expect ease in the way they experience products and services and with the companies providing them. They want to be as in control of their own experience as possible, with self-serve opportunities being a key facilitator of that. For travelers, that starts with a simple, transparent and personalized shopping experience, supported by a range of payment options that suit their preferences. While traveling, they want seamless (self-)servicing, open lines of communication with their travel provider and to be kept informed when things change unexpectedly. Put simply, they want the whole travel experience to be as interconnected, effortless and easy as possible.
For suppliers of products and services, ease is just as desirable. Streamlining time-consuming or manual tasks allows suppliers to focus resources on activities that add more value to their business. For travel providers, it’s all about letting technology do the tedious work, so they don’t have to. Having the right systems and processes in place, combined with greater automation and traveler self-serve opportunities, will improve efficiency, control costs and ensure better servicing of passengers. All of which adds up to enhanced customer satisfaction and benefits for their bottom line.
In fact, the concept of ‘making it easy’ only delivers sustainable value in the context of things being easy for both the supplier and consumer of a product or service. As Stephen Covey explained in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, ‘win-win’ is the only outcome that works in the long run. The best – and only – solutions that stand the test of time need to make it easy for everyone.
Consider the example of Uber, seen by many as the standard-bearer when it comes to delivering an easy, modern travel experience. Sure, the transactional nature of the travel solution Uber provides differs from that of an airline, but many of the fundamentals of the experience hold true.
Uber is convenient with journeys available to be booked ‘on demand’ at very short notice via an app-first user interface that puts the traveler in control. The Uber experience is reliable and hassle-free, and offers travelers transparent communication before, during and after the journey. This transparency extends from service availability, wait times, and product selection all the way through to driver and vehicle details and pricing. Safety and security are key for all travelers, so Uber has built confidence and trust by offering functionality to share travel details with others. Flexibility of payment methods includes more traditional options such as credit and debit cards, but crucially also allows for modern, digital solutions such as e-wallets and peer-to-peer payment, enabled by companies such as Venmo.
As airlines enhance their retailing capabilities, there are opportunities to streamline, simplify and automate. This transition, which involves offers and orders, will undoubtedly open new doors when it comes to revenue optimization. A modern retail model will enable airlines to provide more choice of intelligently personalized travel offers. Once those offers convert into orders, it’s important that they can be fulfilled seamlessly through a robust order management system. That’s why at Sabre we’re focusing on ease as a core tenet of our approach to offer and order management. Ease for travel providers in seamlessly delivering service, and ease for travelers.
The right tools for the job
Whether it’s sourcing the broadest choice of travel offers, applying intelligence to refine those down to exactly what each traveler is looking for or delivering an easy experience for travelers and travel providers, Sabre is building the right technology tools for the job. We are working closely with industry bodies and our airline partners to build a suite of products tailored to the needs of our customers in an open, retail-powered future.
You can learn more about Sabre’s approach to smarter airline retailing powered by offers and orders right here.
About the Author
Andrew Thorpe is part of the Sabre team exploring what the future of travel will look like and how airlines can succeed with offer- and order-enabled retailing.