Passengers lacking personalised service
Aviation is lagging behind other industries when it comes to giving consumers a good, personalised service. That was the consensus from a number of aviation experts at the IATA World Passenger Symposium in Dubai. Aidan Brogan, CEO of Datalex, a digital platform for travel retailers, believes that technology is not being used by airlines the way it should be. “At the minute if we’re [the world] moving at a Ferrari pace, the way technology is going, in five years’ time we will be going like a rocket,” said Brogan. “Young people look at Spotify, Netflix and then airline apps. An airline app isn’t as impressive because they traditionally use archaic models, they don’t care. By Patrick Ryan
“My 18-year-old doesn’t understand why there’s a difference between the apps for Netflix, Spotify, Aer Lingus and British Airways.”
Brogan believes that in the near future, Google will become the main player in the industry.
“Google knows when you’re interested in travelling before you do because of all the data they have,” explains Brogan.
Marc Rosenberg, the president of consultancy group Strataconnex, feels that airlines are not helping themselves when it comes to giving the customers what they want.
“Airlines only have ancillary offers [like Emirates’ recent decision to allow passengers to pay extra to choose where they sit] through their own websites,” he said.
“Travel agencies are still our biggest point of sales. You have to ask who is talking to who when it comes to these decisions.”
Matthias Walther, Panasonic’s Senior Manager of Integrated Marketing Communication, meanwhile agreed that passengers want a personalised service and it is up to the industry to provide it.
“People want to be able to walk onto an airplane and be recognised as a frequent flyer when they switch on their phone,” he said.
“There’s no way around the fact that your mobile device is basically your identity.
“The idea is when you walk into an airplane you walk into a network and once you log into the system it recognises you.
“You will get information on what similar movies you watched last time and you can use air miles to provide certain things. It should be able to bring up your Facebook or Spotify preferences.”
He added that passengers should be able to log into the airline’s app beforehand and set up a queue of movies to watch.
“When you think of the time you have on the aircraft, you have more interaction with the airline,” he said.
“You’re locked in and you can’t escape. It’s the most valuable time you can possibly have. If all you do is push your own promotions on people all they will do is zone out.”