How can Airlines Retail at Speed Post-COVID?

by | Mar 10, 2021 | News, Retailing

Greater Offer Control, Faster Reaction Time to Market, Sophisticated Self-Service tools, Real-Time Response Capability, Automation…. These are the needs voiced regularly by airlines to overcome the limitations they experience in managing business data when executing their retailing strategy.

In today’s COVID environment more than ever, airlines need greater control of the offer, the ability to react quickly to market changes and customer demands, and they need to drive efficiencies wherever possible. Today they are hindered and held back by slow and inefficient processes that require IT support and in-depth industry and system knowledge. According to Diggintravel Airline Digital Retail Survey*, 84% of airlines surveyed say that their digital platforms are either not flexible or that it takes time and effort to implement new products and processes. Only 16% of digital retailing executives in airlines said that their platforms are flexible. In fact, IT challenges and the limitations of their digital platforms remain the key pain point when DigginTravel asked its survey participants, “What is your current biggest pain point or challenge in your ancillary revenue processes?”


Lack of Flexibility and Control, Lost Retail Opportunities

The complexity and limitations of legacy technology are slowing airlines down when they need, more than ever, to speed up. Not only are current data management systems and processes extremely clunky and time-consuming with a heavy reliance on IT, they also incur significant cost in terms of resources and effort to make configuration changes. As described recently by an airline “this is something they fight daily, causing a lot of unnecessary work, and IT cannot respond in the required reaction time”. Airlines have expressed such frustrations with their data management, they have at times not proceeded with desired data changes because of the associated time and cost, resulting in many lost retail opportunities.

Real-time Customer Engagement and a Frictionless Retail Experience in a post-COVID world

Moreover, engagement with travellers is to become increasingly real-time in the post-COVID world as they seek reassurance and regular updates on safety services on board. Airlines likewise need to be supported by products that enable them to react to market and customer demands in real-time with the right products, promotions and services that meet their customers’ needs, when they need it.
More than ever, as airlines emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, they need to have flexibility to adapt products, services and pricing according to a regularly changing travel environment and in response to customer needs for reassurance as they return to the skies.

Greater Control of the Offer, Faster Response in Market

Behind great retailing there needs to be a flexible, fast and simplified process of data management, testing, automation and offer optimisation. To truly excel in digital airline retailing, airlines need to be empowered with tools that enable them to have much greater offer control and greater self-service capabilities across all channels and markets, throughout their customers’ journeys, and with a much faster speed to market. The ability to react fast to market changes, competition and customer demands with tactical products, services and pricing in real-time is the holy grail. Realising great benefits to airlines:

  • Saving significant time and resources
  • Removing reliance on IT
  • Significantly reducing data management costs
  • Reacting much faster in market with tactical products and pricing
  • Accelerating COVID-19 responses
  • Achieving brand and service differentiation with relevant and timely product offers that reflect customer needs

The Super Digitalisation of Airline Retail, Empowering Airlines with Real-Time Retail Control

This is something we have addressed in Datalex with our Digital Configurator tool – which is transforming how our customers can manage business rule data, instantaneously. Datalex’s Digital Configurator was created to put game-changing, nano-second offer control into the hands of airline business users. With a core focus on simplicity and speed, it allows airlines’ business teams to bring their changes to production without involving IT, thus realising significant savings in time and cost, and enabling cutting edge product differentiation through direct and indirect channels. It enables airline business users to directly manage and quickly change their ancillary and pricing strategy in response to customer demand, competition and external market factors. Empowered by real-time retail control.

In today’s post-COVID-19 environment, airlines need significantly greater control of the offer, the ability to react quickly in market and to drive efficiencies wherever possible.

*Diggintravel 2019 Airline Digital Retail Survey