Skift

Airlines Need to Look to Tech and Data to Become Better Retailers

  • Skift Take
    Airlines that want to compete in today’s rapidly evolving consumer landscape need to rethink how they package, price, and sell products. Fortunately, solving this challenge may not be as difficult as it might seem.

    The modern traveler is changing the way airlines need to do business going forward. Today’s traveler has more shopping options, more data touchpoints, and more expectations of their experiences than ever before. Airlines must be prepared to create dynamic and engaging experiences across multiple touchpoints to remain competitive –– or even relevant.

    For example, today’s retailers such as Amazon and Walmart have created the expectation that online orders should be delivered in two days or less. Moreover, companies such as Uber and Lyft have taken the guessing game out of taxi services and created a customer-first business model without physical inventory or physical money exchanges. Both examples highlight retailers that have leveraged data and technology to give consumers value they appreciate and, in most cases, an experience they want to brag about to their friends.

    The question, therefore, is: How does this translate to the travel industry? More specifically, how can airlines create experiences that travelers want to share with their friends?

    In short, today’s traveler is influencing the way in which airlines must operate to stand out in a crowded market. The need for a digital transformation is here, and airlines must consider what it takes to become intelligent retailers. Moving forward, technology and data will be the key components for airlines to accelerate their retailing practices while still achieving their revenue goals.

    While looking to data and technology to solve the challenge of digital transformation might sound simple enough, airlines need to ensure that they enable teams across their organization to align around the common goal of becoming a smarter retailer. For example, planners across commercial departments should factor in customer segmentation data when creating a profitable schedule, while the marketing department should consider customer willingness to pay when crafting creative offers.

    Imagine if all teams across an airline’s commercial department were marching toward one common goal. Even further, imagine if that one common goal was easily achievable because every team had access to a common view of data and the information needed to make optimal decisions every single time. It sounds far fetched, but it’s not. The technology needed to break down silos across commercial-planning departments and empower airlines to think intelligently about retail actually exists.

    Intelligent Retailing Through an Integrated Platform

    If airlines are going to be successful in today’s competitive environment, they must set themselves apart –– but they can’t do it alone. Sabre believes the true opportunity is through an integrated platform that empowers airlines to drive revenue and deliver a unique brand experience. Such a platform would naturally break down organizational silos and rigid processes by unifying cross-functional departments to align on the common goal of focusing on customers.

    The beauty of such a platform built for digital airlines is the breadth and depth of expertise, solutions, and forward-thinking. To make scientific, competitive, and innovative decisions on how to package, price, and sell products, it’s vital to have a robust, end-to-end view of the customer.

    Intelligent retailing requires both technological and organizational alignment, and one cannot lag the other. The idea of an integrated platform built for digital airlines lays out clear opportunity for how these two come together to achieve a unified goal. Leveraging such solutions can empower airlines to establish unique and differentiated strategies, as well as easily deploy and deliver on those strategies to set its brand apart from the rest.

    Sabre Airline Solutions offers the broadest portfolio of software and data solutions to help airlines maximize revenue and provide a unique brand experience. Click here to learn more about the value of a digital airline commercial platform.

    This content was created collaboratively by Sabre and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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