Guest Post: Are data clean rooms the fastest way for airlines to securely unlock customer value?

Guest Post: Are data clean rooms the fastest way for airlines to securely unlock customer value?

Rashmi Bhankhede, senior director, data engineering of ATPCO, gives her thoughts on how third party data clean rooms can avoid silos and resolve disparate data sources

Among the assets counted by airlines, data is becoming bigger and more important than ever. While airplanes themselves do the physical heavy lifting, data drives better marketing, sales, and customer experience from flight shopping to flying to loyalty engagement. 

Getting value from that data is the tricky part. As airlines amass more and more data, it becomes exponentially more complicated, and therefore riskier to use it. Sending a huge data file to a partner requires massive amounts of computing powers. Plus, the data needs to be encrypted to remain secure. Then, for sharing to work, two data sets need to be compared anonymously without giving away specific details. 

Airlines need to be able to dictate the rules of the game, so that they can keep their data protected while maximizing its value. Working with partners requires a neutral solution that allows each data owner to apply their own rules at the same time. That’s where data clean rooms come in. 

Facing the data challenge

An airline flying thousands, or even millions of passengers every day has enormous amounts of data. Data clean rooms address many challenges that help airlines use their data more effectively: 

Resolving disparate data sources: Airlines typically collect data in different ways, and it comes in a variety of formats with different rules attached. Personally identifiable data from a transaction might be saved in a secure database while anonymous website behavioral data might be saved in a completely different environment without the same level of security. A clean room can preserve the different rules and levels of anonymity while resolving the data sets to allow airlines to create a clearer picture of purchase behaviour and different audience segments.

Increasing speed to market: Creating a data management solution that can scale and manage security requirements is a major undertaking and a major expense. Readily available clean rooms can be added directly to an airline’s current data technology stack to integrate with data sources quickly and securely. 

Build for data collaboration: A third party data clean room solution allows airline partners to share and analyse their collective datasets much more easily than an individual airline building their own infrastructure for data sharing. Working together using a neutral solution that is already scaled at a global level makes fast and effective data partnerships possible.

Creating incremental value with custom offers

Airlines can make use of data to deliver more with a shared clean room environment. Today’s dynamic pricing is built in silos. Airlines using dynamic pricing rely on limited insights, which are disconnected from the rest of the market. The status quo of static pre-filed fares doesn’t work for dynamic offers. Airlines need to understand the offers currently in the marketplace, and they need to be able to merge this aggregated & anonymised data with their own real time, custom, on demand offers data to create an augmented, enriched, holistic dataset for internal processes, offer structures and AI/ML algorithms for dynamic offers.

By combining anonymised airlines’ offers, market fare data, and shopper behaviour data, airlines can craft truly custom offers. Not only can they include ancillaries and other elements in their offer to maximise value to the customer and improve margin, but they can also do so quickly and at scale. Data needs to be analysed to determine the right offer in a split second.

Finding the right solution

Airlines that use clean rooms for data collaborations will have access to comprehensive, aggregated and anonymised data across the industry. This can drive better and more relevant offers over time, and help airlines stay current. Rather than building individual islands to support dynamic pricing, a shared data clean room approach creates a tidal wave of custom offers for each airline, that will be the next generation in fares.

Are data clean rooms the only option for airlines to increase speed collaboration and value, no. But they are a tool that airlines can access now, that is secure and provides the easiest path to insights and analysis. Airlines can spend less time paving IT paths and more time driving business benefits.