Data revolution for airlines
Maher Koubaa, Vice President—Airlines MEA, believes that airlines cannot evolve without an accurate analysis of big data in an age of connected solutions and tech-savvy customers.
In the past decade, the cross-border data flow connecting the Middle East to the world has increased by more than 150-fold, according to a McKinsey report. Moreover, carriers in the region have faced significant headwinds over the past year. Middle East passenger demand in early 2018 has been mixed at best. That demand has registered a considerable drop compared to previous years and to other international markets, according to recent IATA figures. Data is the key to unlocking opportunity for airlines. However, it requires an adjustment in mindset. Airlines in the region today face challenges they’ve never come across before. Traditional competitors remain rivals, and there are emergent contenders who, being newer, are nimbler as well as more upto-date in their approach than many established carriers. Moving from a process-driven to a data-driven mindset is itself a profound transformation. To stay competitive, airlines must start by using data to drive personalisation techniques and intelligent merchandising in their operations. Airlines who will succeed in this environment will be those who harness data and analytics for customer experience excellence. One of the success factors in becoming data-driven is creating a company culture that places data at the heart of the customer experience journey. Looking for new ways to create value from data is an important consideration. A great example of this is with schedule recovery—a recommendation engine that uses big data analysis to automate a certain number of actions, making better decisions faster. These solutions can help airlines predict passenger outcomes so they can effectively recover disrupted schedules. Airlines can replace ad-hoc processes with ones that automatically pinpoint conflicts. The result is quicker coordination between everyone involved - from passengers to crew. Another area where data analytics is creating value is in determining where to seat passengers. Combining multiple data sources, such as mapping passenger booking behaviour against the highest spenders or even social media sentiment analysis will help to maximise revenue. It will enable personalised offers specifically targeting those most likely to be interested in that back-window seat or special upgrade. Now is the time for action. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle penned the words for Sherlock Homes that “it is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data”, he would have had no clue just how relevant they would be today. Innovation, as opposed to invention, is the key to propelling regional airlines into a competitive future. With a datadriven mindset, airlines can achieve transformational success that will lead them to the top of the game.
( The views expressed are solely of the author. The publication may or may not subscribe to the same.)
In the race to stay competitive, airlines must start by using data to drive personalisation techniques and intelligent merchandising in their operations for enhancing customer experience excellence