Great panel debate at the UATP Airline Distribution 2012 Conference in Madrid today. The topic was airline revenue strategies. Joining me on the panel were Montie Brewer, Jim Davidson (Farelogix), Matt Arthur (ENett) and Richard Cushing (Guestlogix).
Some key takeaways:
- Ancillary does not equal merchandising.
- The opportunity is the entire travel experience and all touch points.
- The opportunity is to close the loop, own the retail opportunity and maximise the value.
- The airline brand as valuable retail real estate coupled with captive customer segments is a retailer's dream.
The challenge will be to regain trust from the traveller to treat you as a retail brand, rather than the grim reaper of hidden fees and punitive charges. Airlines are struggling to break down 30 year old commodity approaches to systems and distribution, but they are breaking them down. Many struggle with the concept of true merchandising. But change is coming fast; first movers will transform the whole.
Some first movers such as WestJet and Air New Zealand were cited as examples of reengineering the business to serve the Guest experience rather the PAX! Think about the profit opportunity when airlines start using the data.
And a warning from Montie Brewer: to protect your data and continue a disciplined fight for ownership of your customer.
SVP Sales, Datalex