Create Profitable Revenue While Earning True Loyalty

Sabre Airline Solutions has released a new whitepaper highlighting the business challenges faced by airlines in the areas of customer data, personalization, and retailing. Brand differentiation and customer-centric sales and service are becoming increasingly strategic areas for leading airlines due to their market share and profit potential. In the whitepaper, Sabre discusses the unique complexities in the industry, analyzes new findings about revenue potential and loyalty growth, and discusses possible solutions to these problems.

Airlines have not traditionally had cost-effective technology that takes a holistic view of their customers and, hence, haven’t truly understood their broader travel and lifestyle preferences. (LEK Consulting) Consequently, one reason many loyalty programs do not realize their full potential is because they focus primarily on the “purchase” and “operational” elements of the travel cycle, ignoring the other phases that have become as important, if not more. Utilizing customer data in real time to execute a personalized, seamless travel-journey experience may have previously sounded idealistic, but that is no longer the case. The maturity of cost-capable technologies is paving the way for making the idyllic customer experience a reality.

In terms of technology, the first step is to create a robust, multi-channel platform for traveler interaction that can both deliver services and capture information, seamlessly across all channels or touchpoints. For most airlines, some of the building blocks of a so-called platform are already in place, though they exist in a fragmented technological and functional environment. These could include an Internet booking engine and e-commerce user interface, native mobile apps, tablet-enabled roving agents and a text-alerts engine, among other pieces. The goal is to provide anytime, anywhere access for customers, making it more convenient and more natural to interact with the airline at every touchpoint. For an airline to transform the way it deals with travelers, it is essential to create a full view of the customer’s interactions across the enterprise, as well as on social media. This is the cornerstone of a better, more profitable travel experience. Gaining this 360-degree view makes it possible for the airline to build stronger relationships with travelers and treat them as individuals. (IBM)

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Once a comprehensive view of the customer has been achieved, the airline can begin to leverage that information to create value. Applying analytics to passenger and travel information marks the shift from data to actionable insights, enabling real personalization and relevancy. The airline can learn to anticipate customers’ behavior and their needs, using that insight to be proactive. This integrated-platform approach brings with it significant revenue implications. The graphic above illustrates the relative value of each component of an integrated customer-centricity platform.

What the graphic does not illustrate is that the value of each of these components may cease to exist without the others. Is it possible to adequately reaccommodate and service an individual without knowing the value and operational history of the customer via the master customer profile? Can an airline properly utilize an omni-channel retailing and service platform without analytics tools to drive insights about the customers for which it is interacting? The answers may vary by airline, but the reality is, next-generation airline systems built around the customer must be fully integrated and not fall out of sync to drive the most value for the customer.

To learn more about Customer-Centric Airline Retailing, download the whitepaper!