Breaking Down Silos

Data And Analytics Solutions For Real-Time Airline-Wide Customer Data

 

There is a tremendous opportunity for the airline industry to follow retail leaders and better utilize their shopping and booking data across the entire organization. Utilization of this data can lead to increased revenue through better understanding the timing of demand and specific market trends, as well as by presenting customers with personalized, relevant offers.

Ascend Industry

Airline e-commerce teams have access to a wealth of customer data that could be used across numerous departments to improve revenue and offer personalization. An airline’s e-commerce team typically uses web-analytics data to understand overall site performance, as well as analyze path and flow performance, site traffic and transaction characteristics to pinpoint problems with the airline’s website. This insightful data could also help other areas across the organization improve the carrier’s bottom line.

For example, there could be up to 9 million shopping requests happening on an airline’s website on any given day. This data can provide valuable insights to the airline about a customer who has come to the website to purchase travel such as:

  • Which market they want to travel,
  • When they want to travel,
  • The length of their trip.

It can also reveal personal customer behaviors. For instance, when a customer searches an airline’s website, he inputs his origin, destination, departure and return dates. The data gives the airline a true indicator of demand for a particular O&D and travel date.

Taking this information a step further into what is being presented to the customer and what the customer actually selects, these insights can help an airline understand customer preferences and choices. This will ultimately help transform the experience to be more personalized and provide an opportunity to propose more relevant offers to a particular customer or customer segment. Taking this high volume of unstructured data and combining it with data already available can help the airline gain insights into various areas across its organization, including revenue management, marketing, merchandising and customer experience.

 

USING THE HIGH VOLUMES OF UNSTRUCTURED DATA AVAILABLE TO AIRLINES ON A DAILY BASIS AND COMBINING IT WITH EXISTING DATA ENABLES AN AIRLINE TO ACQUIRE INSIGHTS INTO NUMEROUS AREAS ACROSS ITS ORGANIZATION SUCH AS REVENUE MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, MERCHANDISING AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

Revenue Management

Most revenue-management teams do not incorporate shopping data into everyday revenue-management analysis. This data can identify specific high-demand departure dates for an origin and destination (O&D) before the bookings materialize. This enables an analyst to close lower fare classes, raising the price for a particular flight when demand is high. In addition, it can show an analyst that there is still last minute demand for an O&D so flight levels can be appropriately adjusted.

Shopping data can help determine when customers are shopping verses when they actually convert those searches into bookings. This enables an airline to truly understand when people are shopping for a particular O&D with intent to purchase versus simply browsing.

Marrying this data with competitive fares, O&D availability and forward-looking revenue can give an analyst insight about whether to open or close a specific class to increase revenue in a specific market and capture demand.

Marketing

There is also opportunity to leverage data more effectively in the marketing department. Web shopping data can help a carrier understand the various types of trips that are in high demand for a specific destination.

Showing the marketing department data on which destinations passengers are shopping and when they are shopping verses actually booking can help optimize the marketing strategy and spend based on search patterns.

In addition, using more insightful data analysis, the marketing department can see the specific months for which travelers are searching, such as seven-day stays or 30 days in advance with multiple passengers for a specific origin and destination. This type of activity would be classified as a vacation search.

Customers may also search for a three-day length of stay or seven-day advance purchases, indicating a business trip type.

These insights help the marketing team determine the types of marketing campaigns they should present for these months and customer segments.

For example, looking at data for the seven-day length-of-stay searches, the carrier should market to families. During months when three-day length-of-stay searches are conducted in certain markets, an airline should target business travelers in those specific markets.

For instance, on a business trip, the customer may not be interested in pre-purchasing any baggage fees. Therefore, any discounts or offers for baggage should be a much lower priority than offering Wi-Fi. However, if the customer is traveling on a leisure trip, saving money on pre-purchasing baggage fees will most likely be of interest to that customer.

Utilizing the data and understanding customer segments along with their shopping and purchase behaviors can ensure a more targeted offer, resulting in higher revenue return.

 

AN AIRLINE’S WEBSITE CAN RECEIVE MILLIONS OF SHOPPING REQUESTS A DAY. CAPTURING AND ANALYZING THIS DATA CAN HELP AN AIRLINE DETERMINE THE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DESIRED BY INDIVIDUAL TRAVELERS OR TRAVELER SEGMENTS. THE AIRLINE CAN THEN USE THE INFORMATION TO PROVIDE A MORE PERSONALIZED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

Customer Experience

Personalization is critical for today’s competitive airline. Many consumers receive highly personalized experiences outside the airline industry, and these experiences set the bar for airlines to deliver as well.

An airline’s customer-experience team can use web data to personalize offers to specific customers and customer segments based on analyzing the data. Just like merchandising teams can conclude a customer’s preference by examining the web data and past customer purchasing behavior, the customer experience team can use that same data to identify passengers’ needs and preferences.

They can determine which markets to tailor a relevant offer for a specific customer or customer segment. Or in situations such as service recovery, they can use these preferences based on historical purchases or actions to offer appropriate personalized compensation.

For instance, if a customer typically travels without checking a bag, but almost always purchases Wi-Fi, offering the customer a service-recovery apology with a complimentary baggage waiver misses the target. Instead, a more personalized experience would be to offer the customer something they value for a recovery apology, such as free Wi-Fi.

The retail industry has leveraged web data for years to understand seasonality and purchasing trends, as well as create personalized offers for their customers. In the airline industry, transactional data such as PNR, ticketing, inventory and check-in are not sufficient enough for airlines to use to make educated decisions.

 

SHOPPING DATA, WHICH IS GENERALLY NOT INCORPORATED INTO AIRLINE REVENUE MANAGEMENT, ENABLES ANALYSTS TO CLOSE LOWER FARE CLASSES WHEN DEMAND IS HIGH ON A PARTICULAR FLIGHT SO SEATS CAN BE SOLD AT A HIGHER PRICE. IT CAN ALSO INDICATE THAT THERE IS STILL LAST-MINUTE DEMAND FOR AN O&D SO FLIGHT LEVELS CAN BE APPROPRIATELY ADJUSTED.

There is an opportunity and a need to leverage other sources of shopping and booking data, such as web data, to provide insights to other areas within the commercial department to help a carrier get a true view into what customers are looking for and, eventually, purchasing.

With the investment in platforms such as Sabre Intelligence Exchange, Sabre’s data and analytics solutions are breaking down silos across an airline’s commercial departments and enabling other areas within the business to use and analyze the data so they can make smarter, more informed business decisions.

Sabre Intelligence Exchange combines booking, ticketing, inventory, customer and check-in data, enabling an airline to have analytics and applications that span across the entire customer journey.

Not only has the technology company invested in Intelligence Exchange, it also uses this platform to deliver customer-centric applications such as Customer Data Hub and Customer Experience Manager. These solutions help airlines understand and action data to improve the customer experience with personalized offers.

In addition, other commercial solutions such as Sabre Commercial Analytics provide actionable insights in advance that promote smarter decisions, drive faster actions and optimize outcomes. Combined, this innovative technology helps improve the commercial and customer-centric solutions Sabre offers airlines to help them better utilize data regardless of source, to make better, more-timely decisions throughout the airline.