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Digitizing air travel

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Digitizing air travel

  1. 1. Digitizing Air Travel Airlines are investing heavily on digital strategies to increase customer satisfaction and maximize direct distribution share in the industry. In lieu of the strong global passenger growth rate and a plethora of technological developments, airlines are realizing the importance of customer connectivity through social and digital media channels. Airlines represent half of the world’s passenger traffic and the upsurge in mobile users has compelled airlines to provide mobile sales and services to its passengers across the entire journey. Social media applications and mobility have not only proved to be the cornerstone in delivering superior customer experience but also transforming airline operations. Additionally, airlines are striving to revolutionize customer experience by providing maximum value through personalization and better connectivity. For example, Malaysian Airlines have transformed their digital strategy by investing heavily on Adobe Marketing Cloud and Creative Cloud Airlines that will enable the airlines to provide enhanced customer experience with customized offers and products. Airlines are facilitating personalized offers and merchandising by gaining comprehensive business insights from customer’s transactions and preferences. According to Cisco, in the next 3 years, 98% of airlines will provide customer services through mobile devices while 94% of carriers are planning to deliver passenger services through social media. The study by Cisco also highlights and reiterates certain trends and developments in the airlines industry. Mobility-The Game-Changer: Mobile usage is increasing at an unprecedented pace. In fact, ticket sales through mobile devices are expected to reach $70 billion by 2016. Airlines are continuously aiming to adopt digital solutions that will deliver excellent experience for mobile customers, create comprehensive mobile applications and implement mobile boarding passes and in-flight web connectivity. Browsing travel websites through mobile devices have witnessed a spectacular growth. According to a research conducted by a leading brand consultancy, Nucleus, more than 1 in 3 visits to travel web portals in 2014 are through mobile devices, increasing by 42% since January 2013. Airlines are seeking for digital solutions that will metamorphose their mobile websites and applications which will result in enhanced accessibility and connectivity. Airlines are also changing their crew operations to provide better personalized services and products to its passengers. The crew and lounge staff of Virgin Atlantic recently experimented with Google Glass headsets and Sony smart watches to harness information regarding their premium-class customers. Personalization- Social Media and Gamification: Visualization through social media is an integral part of the airlines industry. Content marketing through social media backed by images is also responsible for driving innovation in the airlines industry. For example, Virgin Airlines will be launching a social network that allows its passengers to share their LinkedIn details during the flight or in the airports. Social network, kiosks and mobile phones have emerged as key distribution channels for airlines. The increasing interests and sales through these distribution channels have compelled airlines to remodel their digital and social media strategies
  2. 2. to provide better targeted and personalized products and services to customers. Customer loyalty programs are also evolving with the developments in the digital landscape. Airlines are implementing the concept of gamification in their loyalty and frequent fliers programs to facilitate a sense of competition between passengers by providing different benefits to different customers. Transformation - Distribution Channels and Merchandizing: Airlines are continuously introducing new ancillary products and services. Ancillary services are crucial in driving industry profits. International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts an addition of about $14 due to ancillary services on top of the average fare of $181 for departing passengers. There have been significant changes in the airline distribution strategy. Airlines are focusing on mobiles as the new distribution channels and means of payment. Mobile check-ins, seat reservations, mobile boarding passes are increasingly being used by passengers. The emergence of the IATA led industry initiative, New Distribution Capability (NDC), will enable airlines to connect with customers across multiple channels in the initial phases and offer better personalized products. NDC will facilitate customized shopping and allow airlines to offer a plethora of ancillary services by gaining better insight into customer’s behavior. Choosing the right IT partner Airlines seek to provide the best customer experience by personalized products and merchandizing. It is important for airlines to optimize their business processes for agility, scalability and IT modernization enabling them to evolve with market requirements and technological developments. Direct distribution and improving customer satisfaction gives airlines a defining competitive edge and leads to higher profit and growth in digital distribution share. NIIT Technologies, a leading provider of IT solutions and services, has a vast domain expertise and consulting experience with global airlines and travel companies. NIIT Technologies realizes the importance of a comprehensive digital strategy including personalized social media interactions, distribution capability, channel compatibility and maturity for implementing better value proposition and novel operating models.