Fri. Jan 8th, 2021

As digital transformation in the region gets a boost from the ripple effects of demonetization, the aviation industry isn’t exempt from the changes. More and more airline booking transactions are now completed using credit, debit cards and online transactions. Apart from the hassle-free nature of digital transactions, this is also helping the aviation sector enhance the overall security, as using cards improves the traceability of passenger data. However, the real change brought on by digital transformation goes much deeper than facilitating easier transactions.

A recent report by Unisys that surveyed 29 senior airport executives at an Airports Council International Conference revealed that as much as 59 percent of those surveyed were looking to invest in advanced analytics solutions in the short-term, while 31 percent were already using them. Most wanted to make use of analytics in passenger flow (27 percent); airport operations and asset tracking (22 per cent); geolocation and wayfinding (22 percent); and passenger shopping and retail habits (15 percent).

The airline passenger traffic has been growing at a furious pace with India taking pole position in terms of growth globally. While this burgeoning trend is welcome, the benefits of advanced analytics extend far beyond and have a significant role to play in improving the knowledge base and streamlining the mammoth operational difficulties and challenges faced by the sector. Airlines have long tried to decipher travel patterns and passenger preferences, but recent advances in analytics now makes it possible for them to understand the nuances of whether passengers can or are willing to pay for additional ancillary services related to air travel. Not just that, but the intelligence gained from advanced analytics can help airlines hone their services so as to create a truly positive customer experience, while also providing innovative ways to generate revenue through enhanced offerings and services. Think custom-built itineraries and curated add-on services based on individual preferences that provides real-time suggestions based on choices you’ve made before.

We have already seen breakthrough successes like a major low-cost carrier in India that has cost analytics built into its DNA with its focus on fuel efficiency, delivering value for money for the cost-sensitive segment while also streamlining its fleet and crew. As the travel domain continues to evolve, emerging trends like personalized itineraries, short-hop flying and custom-tailored experiences are likely to become mainstream and important elements of new offerings from airlines. Also, in order to keep up with these changes, the airlines must now treat customer behavior insight as a primary resource for gaining a differential edge in the market.

In a recent article on Better Customer Insight, Harvard Business Review charts out the following data points as the most important customer insights irrespective of how many different ways they interact with the company. These involve which brand, what medium was used for the interaction, the user experience, and if it managed to pursue/ convince the end-user. Key business decisions must be precisely honed using advanced predictive analytics to derive maximum value out of differential pricing, time sensitivity, flight route feasibility and optimum usage of all resources (including labor, taxi in-out times, fuel burn etc.)

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