A Magazine for airline executives
2016 Issue No. 4

Sabre + Skift Present:

Getting To Next: Actionable Strategies

The findings of our research and survey results have enabled us to outline some actionable takeaways, including:

  • Create digital channels that engage customers in more direct personal relationships with your brand, reinforcing strong preference for and loyalty to your brand.
  • Travelers aren’t necessarily asking for additional engagement with the airline. However, they may not know what to even expect (or the additional value that could be provided to them) in terms of personalization, additional products and services, contextual engagement, and proactive sales and services. With recent digital-technology innovation, first-mover airlines have the opportunity to capture market share by wading into new waters with traveler digital engagement.
  • Draft a truly customer-centric journey map, designed with empathy for the traveler’s greatest “pain points” or concerns at each touchpoint, and consider customer service, sales or ancillary product solutions that can be designed into the customer-centric digital-retail flow.
  • Identify the various lost opportunities along the path due to deviations, and identify potential service gaps and plan resolutions into the digital process.
  • Ensure time offers are both empathetic and contextual by letting users opt-in to offers, and use relevant language in the context of that travel need, rather than a generic “buy-now” call-to-action button.
  • Don’t complicate customer experience to the point where consumers have to make decisions. Make the sales path easy by limiting the offers made at any point. Limit the options a customer must consider before making the final purchase, followed by a quickly actionable click-and-buy or tap-and-buy interface. This is far more effective than a complicated purchasing menu, which leads to too many choices prompting the consumer to think twice — or give up — before completing the transaction.
  • Consider price-point sensitivity when offering bundled or unbundled services. While many customers may buy ancillaries while booking, others who have not could be tempted by buy-in when the time is closer to their context. When the individual product is divorced from the rolled-up price of the ticket, customers are more likely to find the price reasonable and affordable. Timing helps here, too. What may seem an unnecessary “extra” at the time of booking could become an essential opt-in at another point along the journey.
  • The successful customer-centric system is built on the flexibility of a responsive user interface, an understanding of customer data and personalization of the passenger experience that meets the needs of individual travelers, as well as the integration of internal operational systems that can handle disruptions with mobile devices, create bundled ancillary offers across channels and provide other timely solutions. Airlines need a flexible, open, back-end reservations system that enables controlling the process easier; yields valuable customer insights; and is flexible across channels, storefronts, devices and touchpoints.