Skift Take

Let’s face it –– airlines aren’t known for their infrastructure innovations. But applying new, intelligent technology infrastructures can bring them into the modern world and allow them to provide their customers with the right offer, at the right time, at the right price.

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Customers today are more empowered than ever before. They expect the digital experiences they engage with to be immediate, consistent, functional, and relevant to their individual needs.

Customer segmentation is one strategy that retailers, both within the travel industry and outside of it, have increasingly used to meet these demands. But those that are truly successful aren’t stopping at customer segmentation –– truly intelligent retailers go above and beyond in understanding their individual subscribers and customers. Each customer is treated as a unique entity and is provided with specific offerings, price points, and experiences that fit their specific needs and expectations. These retailers put their customers at the forefront and build long-term relationships, which means investing in the future.

When it comes to the airline industry, it might be daunting to think about how this “customer-first” way of thinking fits in. The airline sector is already a highly complex environment, and further complicating it with the concept of one-to-one touchpoints sounds challenging. The good news is that while customers are dictating the way airlines do business, technology is driving how airlines do business.

The Need for Intelligent Technology Infrastructures

It’s no secret that most airlines aren’t making headlines about their infrastructure innovations. More times than not, when talking about technology related to the airline industry, the words archaic, legacy, and complicated are frequently mentioned.

This means that before airlines can begin to implement intelligent retail solutions to operate in a customer-centric world, there must be intelligent technology infrastructures in place. These technology infrastructures should combine artificial intelligence, machine learning, sophisticated operations-research (OR) models, and customer data to provide relevant insights that allow airlines to proactively identify, understand, and predict customer behavior. They should be created with state-of-the-art, cloud-enabled, scalable structures. Therefore, the accessibility they provide will be unmatched to today’s systems.

However, these infrastructures shouldn’t neglect the current systems in place today. Instead, airlines should bring the fragmented systems of today together by understanding how they interact and how additional systems can help enhance them.

This opportunity for providing next-level customer experiences doesn’t merely exist in the marketing department, either. It exists within the planning, pricing, revenue management, and offer-management areas as well.

Moving forward, intelligent solutions will empower these departments to improve schedule synchronization, deploy schedules faster to increase revenue and reduce reccommodation costs, monitor and analyze fares automatically, deliver persona-based, flight-plus-ancillary bundled offers, provide pricing recommendations that use multi-channel availability and are buffered from abrupt market changes, and deliver personalized offers and services that are consistent across all channels.

Intelligent retailing is here. Empowered customers are shaping the way successful companies conduct business. Technology providers that offer intelligent solutions will be the catalyst to helping airlines achieve revenue maximization and provide differentiated experiences for their customers.

Sabre Airline Solutions offers the broadest portfolio of software and data solutions to help airlines drive revenue maximization and a differentiated brand experience. Click here to learn more about the value of intelligent retailing and how Sabre is solving for it.

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

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Tags: airlines, infrastructure, sabre, technology

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