Thinking of building your own passenger communications platform? Here’s what you need to consider

by | Nov 24, 2019 | Airlines, News

Building, personalising and sending millions of notifications each year to keep your passengers informed throughout their journey is a complex and resource-heavy task.

Unless, of course, you have access to a sophisticated, automated passenger communications platform.

Over the last 19 years, passenger communications-specialist, 15below, has seen several airlines attempt to build their own automated messaging platform with varying degrees of success.

You may be thinking it sounds relatively straightforward, but in fact a fully automated, responsive, personalised, real-time and user-friendly notifications system is incredibly difficult to build – and takes dedicated teams of experts to maintain and optimise.

A brand new eGuide from 15below – 10 things to consider when building your own passenger communications platform – provides a valuable account of the most important factors and challenges any airline must consider and overcome before opting to go it alone and build its own messaging infrastructure.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the points covered in the eGuide:

Personalisation is key

With 63% of customers expecting personalisation as standard, it’s no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must. Your system will need to integrate with PNRs to pull vital data necessary to process relevant notifications. This will allow you to:

  • Offer passengers bespoke ancillary services and products. The world’s leading airlines generate up to 47% of revenue through ancillaries (IdeaWorksCompany) so whether it’s tours and activities, visas or priority seat selection, you need to make your customers aware of what you’re offering at the optimum point in their journey.
  • In the event of flight disruption, you’ll be able to present suitable re-accommodation options to passengers based on their personal details. You can even offer special incentives and rewards to disrupted passengers, helping to protect your reputation and minimising the risk of negative social media posts. 15below calculates that bad reviews on Facebook alone have the potential to cost an airline over $5 million in lost revenue each year.

Do you have the infrastructure and resources to build your own system?

From email servers and SMS gateways with sufficient capacity to send millions of notifications to tech that will allow you to process, sort and filter thousands of PNRs instantly, you’ll need robust, reliable and future-proof systems upon which to base your platform.

That’s before you consider in-house designers to create and update templates, a system to translate messages into any language in the world and software developers to build your platform and develop vital customer experience-enriching solutions such as self-serve functionality.

How to reach as many passengers as possible

With approximately 50% of all bookings being made via third parties, contacting every single passenger can seem an impossible task. But to minimise manual handling, your automated platform must be able to reach the maximum possible number of customers – particularly during disruption.

The key is to invest in a multi-channel strategy that encompasses not only email and SMS, but the latest social messaging platforms as well as in-app notifications.

Business that adopt an omnichannel approach experience a 91% greater retention rate than those that don’t (Loyalty360), so it’s well worth investing the effort.

That’s just a flavour of the multitude of challenges any business faces when developing its own messaging capabilities. So, if you’re still considering building an in-house passenger notification system, download 15below’s eGuide here to see the full list of things to bear in mind along your journey.