How airlines and airports can capitalize on underserved travelers

air-traveler-outside-watching-takeoff

Travel isn’t a linear experience where you leave home, get to the airport, board a plane and arrive at a destination. It’s a journey that involves multiple segments and there is an opportunity for airlines and airports to realize new revenue growth by connecting the traveler’s “data” dots and delivering exceptional customer experience.

If airlines and airports can connect their systems and aggregate relevant data, they can improve the traveler experience with timely communications, enhanced retail offerings and expansive recreation options.  That adds up to more satisfied and devoted customers.

Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

  • Share data to your advantage. Travelers are confined to aircrafts and airports for a significant portion of their travel. If airlines and airports can share information more effectively, they should be able to come up with a bigger picture view of the customers’ end-to-end journey and then find compelling ways to better serve their needs. And not just frequent or upscale travelers.  The unserved or underserved consumer segments, as well.
  • Know your travelers. Airlines and airports need to do a better job identifying and then catering to particular issues that are common to various traveler personas. Many travelers, for example, tend to forget items like belts or phone chargers. Why not make it possible for them to purchase the merchandise inflight, and when they land at the terminal, navigate them straight to the retailer to pick up the packaged item? And when families are at the airport for long periods of time with kids, anxiety runs high. What if there were flat screens an 11-year-old could access so he could play Xbox with friends back home while waiting for the connecting flight?
  • Anticipate the traveler’s needs. If a traveler is flying from Los Angeles to New York and the airline sees it will be raining in New York, send the traveler an email or text before the flight takes off offering a chance to purchase an umbrella that would be ready for them when they land. The customer will appreciate the gesture and the airline secures his trust. This also applies to making pre-reservations for an Uber or taxi, or food or coffee that’s ready when the passenger lands. Millennials especially will appreciate these services and many of them will reward the airline with positive comments on Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.

From a technology perspective, a connected platform that can link multiple systems and aggregate data that can be leveraged, makes sense for the industry. Airlines and airports serious about digital transformation will recognize that connecting customers to new and ever-expanding services offers opportunities to  increase ancillary revenue, reduce costs through streamlined processes and offer an excellent way to build brand loyalty.


Jason Lutton is the Connected Traveler Offering Leader at DXC Technology. He has 18 years of experience in the information services industry, serving Airline and Aviation since 2004 in consumer travel, airlines operations, disruption management and cockpit solutions. In his spare time, Jason serves as a volunteer coach for youth football and volleyball and is a certified yoga instructor.

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