Digitalization and personalized consumer experience have revolutionized the way businesses are done today. This has put pressure on the airline industry to transform themselves to sell beyond the discounted fares. The future of airline retailing hence depends on what they can sell beyond the seat to the customers. Hence airline distribution will be driven by retailing and technology in the coming years. With air retailing taking-off, this snippet completely focuses on how retailing will benefit the different stakeholders in the travel industry.
Building a good travel retail ecosystem requires providing a compelling shopping experience to the travelers and balancing the competition without putting a squeeze on profits.
First, let’s Identify the needs of some of the stakeholders in the travel industry.
Airlines as Travel Suppliers
- Increase market share with clear value differentiators
- Increase revenue through order value and cost savings
- Retain customer loyalty.
- Overall decrease in employee’s travel cost
- Employee friendly offerings that tends to increase productivity
- Structured travel packages in compliance with internal process and policies
- Wide variety of choices to choose from
- Enhanced booking experiences
- Rewards for the loyalty purchase
The primary agenda of any traveler is to plan the journey rather than just buying airfare. NDC enabled retailing enables airlines to retain 100% control on the traveler’s behavioural and transactional data. Equipped with this passenger intelligence, an Airline can curate a perfect blend of airfares and ancillary services that best fits the preferences & purpose of traveler’s today’s and future journeys. This is very essential for creating additional revenue stream and win customer loyalty.
Products and services linked to airfare
Airlines dynamically bundle fares along with in-flight product and services like Priority boarding, lounge access, premium seats or seat upgrades, food and beverages, baggage, assigned seats or seat upgrades (including extra legroom seats on exit rows), amenities, Wi-Fi, entertainment. Travellers can choose the products and services These are often called ‘a la Carte’ products, as they can be selected like a menu by the customer to add to their air travel experience.
External product and services that are part of the journey
As part of the journey, Airline can offer the products and services that makes traveler’s journey comfortable & complete. This may include ground transfers, car rentals, accommodations, travel insurance, restaurant coupons, tickets to destination attractions etc., This will help travellers having the time constraint to organize their trip at once and enable the airlines to earn additional revenue based on the sale of these products.
There are plenty of ways airlines can dynamically bundle the airfares based on different combination of services to please the travellers. To enable this travel, airline and hospitality companies should come together and reinvent themselves to build a good travel retail ecosystem to deliver relevant and more engaging customer experiences and stronger travel loyalty programs.