Airlines must be able to compete with data-centric travel companies by using their own data more effectively, according to new study.
Research commissioned by global IT firm Amadeus has predicted that airlines could on average make as much as €35 extra per passenger by better personalising offers.
The study, entitled Thinking Like a Retailer: Airline Merchandising, found that 26% of travellers were more likely to respond to messages tailored to their personal interests, while 22% would respond to location-specific promotions, such as receiving a text message at the gate offering to upgrade.
Julia Sattel, senior vice president of airline IT for Amadeus, said: “For airlines to compete in the highly competitive and fragmented travel sector they have to act more like retailers and adopt an effective approach to merchandising, in which personalisation takes centre stage.”
Lawrence Lundy, strategic consultant for research company Frost & Sullivan, said the concept of retailing would be increasingly important as airlines evolve from being providers of one core product – flights – to travel experience businesses.
“Understanding where, when and how to merchandise products and services to the traveller is vital to retailing effectively, and this study aims to cast light on precisely these elements of a merchandising strategy.”
Among the report’s other key findings, a quarter of travellers want to be targeted with offers soon after arriving home from a trip. Lundy said airlines would require a change of mindset in order to recognise that the customer relationship continues after the flight lands.
Some 79% of global travellers would prefer to buy extra travel services directly from airlines.