It is interesting to see how consumer choice has grown over these years, and how this together with a rise of individualism is altogether changing consumer culture. Personalised products and services are increasingly challenging the ‘one fits all’ mentality – and we can’t expect less from the travel industry.
I make a lot of short trips – either business trips or weekends away – so I usually travel with hand-luggage only. At the same time, having spent most of my twenties missing flights, I now like to get to the airport already checked in and very early. Consequently, I’m more likely to be swayed by a deal on lounge access than a deal on checked-bags.
This is the logic of customisation – we are each different and have different “hot buttons” when it comes to choosing an airline or accepting an up-sell. This has always been true, of course. Traditionally, airlines used fare classes to customise their offer according to price and service. However, this is a static solution which doesn’t respond to the specific service “hot-buttons” of individual travellers. Now the unbundling of the traditional elements of the fare and more sophisticated technology is enabling a finer degree of customisation.
Right now, it is possible for airlines to customise the level of availability they present within the travel agency channel. Availability can be customised according to a range of rules such as ‘point of sale’ (that is, which travel agency is searching) and also the frequent flyer number, which provides a range of information on the individual passenger. This enables airlines to offer the last available seat on a flight only to their most loyal customers.
Furthermore, Amadeus facilitates the provision of ancillary services – such as excess baggage, in-flight meals, lounge access. The Amadeus Ancillary Services solution enables airlines to price ancillary services according to frequent flyer number – so the most loyal customers can check in bags for free.
Yet while significant progress has been made towards personalised offers, challenges remain which require attention. I will look at these issues in a follow-up post next week, don’t miss it.