Before he was kitesurfing with President Barack Obama, Richard Branson offered a new entrepreneur some sage advice on how to find and create loyal customers. He told the young man to, “…focus on what customers care about most. Next, make sure to set realistic expectations and then exceed them, preferably in helpful and unexpected ways”. This advice is as relevant as ever, especially for airlines.
Amadeus’ new study, Embracing airline digital transformation: a spotlight on what travellers value, puts research behind this notion. The study is based on interviews with airlines, travel agencies, and technology experts. It found that there are new models for the airline industry to apply, in order to better understand what travellers value when shopping for a flight. Doing so means they will present their offers in a way that secures revenue and loyalty.
I was pleased to present key findings at the CAPA Latin America Aviation Summit in Cartagena.
My message was that customers value three main things when travelling: product, service and convenience. Also, the way they buy flights is evolving as online shopping continues to grow in relevance.
For travellers, choices can be overwhelming as they search for flights. Our research found that only 14% of travellers find it easy to compare airline offers based on attributes other than price. Yet these components are key when it comes to making the decision, for example while 37% of travellers say that competitive price is the most important factor when choosing an airline, close behind is convenience of flight time and departure airport, which 31% say is the most important.
Ultimately, what travellers value will change depending on the context of their trip. This provides an opportunity for airlines to present their offers in ways that move beyond price, leveraging data to provide a more personalised offer that improves conversion, satisfaction, and brand loyalty.
The study also charts a range of changes taking place as digital becomes a driving force in the airline industry, including the evolution of economy class, the promise of artificial intelligence, and the reinvention of loyalty. These developments offer great opportunities for brands that are ready.
As I take on my new role as Head of Airlines for the Americas on the 1st October, I look forward to working together with our airline customers, as we employ Amadeus’ market-leading business solutions to drive digital transformation. I invite you to download a copy of Embracing airline digital transformation: a spotlight on what travellers value and to stay tuned to this blog for more insights from the study.