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During the 2015 Skift Global Forum in Brooklyn in November, Boxever hosted an intimate mastermind dinner with top airline executives to tackle the challenges facing the industry. The wine-fueled, open forum event led to some interesting insights.
Here’s what we learned:
Legacy airlines are utilizing data to compete with younger brands
A sense of unease fills the room when flagship brands discuss younger competitors. The hospitality sector feels it with the room sharing startups. Transportation feels it with ride hailing apps. Airlines feel it with low-cost carriers with newer infrastructure and cheaper fares.
The conclusion drawn from the dinner event pointed towards the good news that flagship airlines have at least one major advantage over their younger counterparts: a vast amount of customer data waiting to be utilized. The challenge now rests on how to implement it and turn Big Data into invisible analytics and actionable answers.
Loyalty programs are failing
With the rise of millennials travelers comes the decline of loyalty. Just 46 percent belong to a frequent flyer program.
JetBlue found that the average customer books their flight with economy seating. Knowing this, they’ve begun to reward flyers with options to earn additional points and create a more profitable customer through using personalized offers.
The on-demand economy is hot and the airlines want in
There’s no surprise that all sectors of travel are looking towards the Airbnbs and Ubers for inspiration. The airline sector is no different, though there is a realization there are greater restrictions towards achieving this.
There is a sense though that queues could be taken from the sharing economy, at least in the form of offering a wider array of on-demand luxury options to flyers. It comes down to how airlines can make flights more productive.
We all need a better understanding of our customers
If an airline doesn’t know their customer, how is it possible to truly personalize the message?
At Skift Global Forum, Hyatt Hotels’ CEO Mark Hoplamazian, introduced the concept to reverse the perspective on how brands view customers. What if the Airline were a passenger in your life? How would you treat them in that case?
This allows us to reimagine the relationship with the customer. Hoplamazian left us with a simple equation for customer happiness: Empathy + Action = Care.
Another theme trending in the travel marketing community is the implementation of behavioral psychology concepts to better understand customers.
Rick Wise, CEO of creative agency Lippincott, brought up the notion of using behavioral science to create signature moments during travel experiences, increasing brand perception and favorability among customers. Skift and Boxever discussed the topic further in this free report.
Personalization for language and culture needs to be accounted for
As the world globalizes, greater measures need to be taken to personalize for different languages and cultural nuances. Cathay Pacific cited that Passengers from different parts of the world expect different touch points and messaging, leading them to establish an American division to aid localization efforts.
It’s time to look towards wearable tech
Wearable Technology can create contextualized and personalized proposals that a passenger may need or want during a trip.
Boxever’s recent survey found that outside of price, the most crucial factor influencing people to buy or act is when an offer adds value to something the consumer is already doing. Nearly two-thirds of millennials said that their purchasing habits change based on where they are and what they are doing. Wearable tech can capitalize on that moment.
This content was created collaboratively with our partner Boxever. For more insights on customer behavior, check out our free quarterly report series The Habits of Travel Bookers.