Introduction:Airlines have more customer data than any other field, and these information contain high-value intelligence that has a profound impact on operation, efficiency and service. However, at present, most airlines still follow the traditional retail mode left over from the tourism boom in 1980s. As a result, it is still difficult for airlines to really capture large amounts of data and use it to generate insights in a meaningful way.
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Airlines have more customer data than any other field, and these information contain high-value intelligence that has a profound impact on operation, efficiency and service. However, at present, most airlines still follow the traditional retail mode left over from the tourism boom in 1980s. As a result, it is still difficult for airlines to really capture large amounts of data and use it to generate insights in a meaningful way. In the end, after the plane landed, everything that happened on the plane only existed in the mind of the crew for a short time, and soon disappeared with the opening of the next flight.
However, the times are changing, and the full-scale attack of covid-19 has brought a heavy blow to the profits of aviation enterprises, and also enhanced people’s urgent desire for automatic and seamless waiting and flight experience. In addition, the technology industry has developed innovative airborne systems to help airlines capture large amounts of passenger data and provide various services for long-distance passengers.
With these innovations and insight into big data, airlines will gain a huge advantage over their competitors. From booking, check-in, boarding to boarding, airlines can track all kinds of information of customer groups. Specifically, airlines can not only easily find the products with the best sales, but also use big data to deeply understand customers’ purchasing habits, and publicize the most favorite products to passengers at the right time and place on thousands of routes. By aggregating historical information, airlines will be able to predict and model customer behavior, generate personalized results and drive future ticket sales.
All this, however, is only a preliminary vision. A considerable number of airlines have been struggling on the edge of survival and need to persuade external investors to suspend the withdrawal. Whoever can succeed in this crisis will be at the forefront of aviation service in the next era.
Amazon teaches us what real data power is
The reason why Amazon is able to excel in the field of online shopping depends on the basic idea of “one store, all inclusive”. Many customers don’t really know what they want and which product is most worth buying. Amazon’s job is to provide them with personalized suggestions and sort out the most appropriate product recommendations based on their previous preferences.
The reason why Amazon is able to do this with customers in the process of shopping is that they are able to do so. The more Amazon knows about the company, the more accurate it is to predict future product purchases. In addition, once the shopping needs are identified, Amazon can also simplify the process of guiding the purchase.
Specifically, Amazon’s recommendation technology is based on collaborative filtering, that is, it first provides a user profile to establish a preliminary understanding of the buyer, and then recommends the ideal product based on this profile like material.
In addition to buying, Amazon also keeps track of what users have viewed, shipping addresses, and whether they have written comments / feedback. They can even find other products that are suitable for similar customer segments, and organize the recommended content for you according to the query content of other similar customers, which can be said to be quite intelligent.
Why not be in the aviation industry?
Imagine the bright future, and then look back at the bleak reality – Amazon model in the field of on-board retail seems to be far away from us.
Given the basic conditions in the aircraft, it is not difficult to understand why the pace of innovation around forecasting and analysis is always slow. Passenger data often have clear lightweight characteristics, and it is difficult for airlines to understand the preferences or expectations of passengers on board, except for a small number of predictions, notes on diet requirements or historical purchase records on current flights. In addition, the carrying capacity of the aircraft is very precious, it is difficult to reserve sufficient inventory, so we can only store some souvenirs and other small items related to the destination according to the route. During the journey, passengers browse the catalogue of goods on board, and all purchase activities are recorded in the form of paper orders. The most popular goods sold out quickly, and the passengers who couldn’t buy them were frustrated This is the reality. Where is the way to change?
Another very important fact is that at present, only one tenth of passengers choose to buy duty-free on board, which means that each short-distance flight can only complete 10-12 sales, while long-distance flight sales are 30-40. In addition, the number is also slowly declining year by year. It is generally believed that this is affected by the limited selection range, high indirect cost and complex distribution process. After all, in addition to inventory, the itinerant trolleys and even the product catalog itself will take up a considerable part of aircraft capacity. In other words, any unsold product will bring high cost, and inventory management is difficult to predict and replenish in time.
In the final analysis, no matter what the opportunities are, the on-board retail business has not received much attention until now
Challenges of covid-19 epidemic
Under the impact of covid-19 epidemic, Airlines began to attach importance to the power of big data for the sake of health and safety. Obviously, this can not only significantly improve the on-board health standards, but also help alleviate the increasingly tight pressure on operating profits.
According to the latest report released by black swan and apex, after the outbreak, the confidence of passengers was seriously affected, and more than 8.5 million social conversations began to convey negative emotions – the number increased by 43% in the past two months. One of the three main reasons for the negative mood of passengers, according to black coor, is the negative mood. Therefore, airlines must increase the proportion of technology in the customer experience, which not only helps to capture important customer data, but also helps airline operators show a firm willingness to improve and solve the anxiety of passengers.
Today, passengers want a seamless and efficient experience during their journey. It is the responsibility of airlines to provide passengers and crew with this mode of travel that minimizes contact. In fact, a series of recent communications with airlines have shown that limiting the contact between crew members and passengers has become a basic prerequisite for airline employees to return to work normally. In this regard, only technology can truly strike a balance between the demands of both sides.
Federico GERMANI, chief business officer of gategroup, said in a recent press release that “the most important step for airlines is to restart aviation services worldwide while ensuring the health and safety of passengers and crew. Airlines are trying to find effective retail technology in this new operating environment. “
In view of these pressures, Airlines began to consider taking advantage of this rare opportunity to ground their fleet and promote technical testing based on the actual environment. The most forward-looking airlines are already working on plans to work with technology and retail suppliers.
“We need Google level operational capabilities”
Focusing on companies like Amazon, we can see how the Internet can change consumers’ shopping habits and specific ways. And the potential of it is entirely possible to reshape customers’ shopping habits in the air.
Ordering and inventory systems such as gategroup / Black Swan’s TRT epax solution have been developing continuously. With the improvement of aircraft networking capability, airlines can deploy end-to-end solutions to continuously serve customers and capture relevant data along the way. All this not only helps to eliminate passengers’ concerns about the effectiveness of health and epidemic prevention, but also allows airlines to explore a feasible way to collect and use data on board aircraft.
“We need Google level operational capabilities,” said Joe leader, chief executive of apex If airlines can really use the technology so skillfully, AI applications will become easier and eventually create an air version of Amazon’s retail experience.
For the aviation industry, which has always been slow to move, this change undoubtedly represents an exciting step. Any practitioners who ignore the trend of the times and the direction of history will be abandoned by every passenger and even the whole era.