Mobile sales now ‘highest priority’ for airlines, says IT giant

Posted on
Mobile sales now ‘highest priority’ for airlines, says IT giant

Airlines expect mobile devices to join the web as a dominant sales channel by 2015, according to a survey by air transport technology provider SITA.

The survey among half the world’s 100 biggest carriers found 70% expect smart phones to be a “dominant channel” for direct sales within three years.

Nine out of ten plan to sell tickets via mobiles by 2015 and, for a second year in succession, mobile services topped a list of airline investment programmes.

Presenting the Airline IT Trends Survey results to the Air Transport IT Summit in Brussels, SITA strategy development and market intelligence director Nigel Pickford said: “Mobile will be a dominant channel. It is the highest priority for nearly all airlines.”

Pickford said: “By 2015 airlines are planning for significant personalisation [of offers] sold direct through new channels; 75% are committed to planning personalisation in direct sales.”

SITA reported current airline sales via mobiles, social media and airport kiosks combined as “barely 2%” of total sales, but forecast this would grow to 12% by 2015 with mobiles accounting for 7% of bookings.

The company forecast 35% of global sales would be direct through the web in three years, but declined to put a figure on the proportion of total sales likely to be direct, saying only it “would grow”.

However, SITA chief technology officer Jim Peters described 7% for mobile sales as “not a huge amount” and told the conference: “There are challenges in selling on a mobile.

“Phones have to be easy to use so you’re not having to type everything in, and direct sales often decrease yield so a challenge will be how to maintain yield.”

The annual survey of IT trends suggests continuing pressure on relations between carriers and global distribution systems (GDSs) with 64% of airline respondents planning to by-pass GDSs and have direct connections to third-party agents by 2015.

Tony Tyler, director general of airline association IATA, reported agents still account for 60% of his members’ global sales. He said: “Agents play a major role in airlines’ distribution and I expect them to continue to play a major role.”


This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travolution.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.