Travel has changed, travellers have changed and they expect their airline to have changed too.
Travellers’ expectations are higher than ever before for a truly connected travel experience.
The pandemic has rewired the traveller mindset - they want real-time communication, an individualised experience and a high degree of flexibility to change travel plans as needed. In independent research conducted by Datalex, 9 in 10 travellers surveyed think the airline booking experience needs to be either totally or partially connected to their travel needs.
Trends that were already set in motion for a more connected, contactless digital travel experience have been accelerated. Travellers’ willingness to pay, and attitude towards pricing have changed too and the conscious consumption movement is extending to travel purchases with an awareness of buying ethically and sustainably, selecting airlines with better policies in these areas.
As travel recovers and more people take to the skies again, Datalex research with 10,000 travellers worldwide reveals some of the key ways in which airlines can improve the travel experience with digital technology:
- Improved Digital Booking Experience and a more Connected Trip – easier search functions, seamless online booking experiences, easier way of using frequent flyer points and allowing for a connected trip that tracks itinerary, hotel, flight and car bookings using various sources
- Promotions and Inspiration - More travel inspiration and personalied , real-time offers and promotions for last minute bookings
- Customer Focused Services – better personalised flight travel experience through to in-flight services, easy check-in, tailored experiences & offers and direct digital booking with the airline, with perks and discount features
- Real-Time Instant Communication and more sophisticated digital self-service– live flight updates, real-time fully integrated information on travel requirements, live Chat Bots & WhatsApp to manage flight booking and travel thoroughly, offers and updates via WhatsApp
- Flexibility – better cancellation and refund related support, better exchange/ refund processes for cancellations, and flexible bookings that allow purchasers to alter bookings digitally and quickly with minimal effort
- New & More Modern and Flexible Payment Options – the use of afterpay and openpay (buy now pay later payment schemes), ability to use paypal and different forms of payment such as cryptocurrencies
- Pre-travel and day of travel alerts on travel documentation, policies and other day of travel updates (60%
- Personalisation to tailor the flight booking, ancillary offers and travel experience to their needs)
Airlines need to put the customer at the heart of the digital strategy and to keep pace with their evolved digital travel expectations, new booking behaviour, attitudes towards pricing and willingness to pay as we continue to live in an ever-changing world and travel landscape.
The promise of digital as a way to thrive and emerge stronger as an airline is clear. Key to this will be how airlines can and will harness AI, automation and SaaS to transform how they do their business, to connect better, and with more customers and to drive new revenues.
Datalex is working with airlines worldwide to ensure they are meeting the ‘’Great Digital Expectations’ of their customers, to digitalise every touchpoint in the customer journey and provide a truly modern digital travel experience.
Datalex engaged an independent and international market research consultancy firm Censuswide to conduct anonymous research with over 100 senior airline executives in 8 countries worldwide (Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Singapore, UK and US) and with 10,000 travellers in 10 countries worldwide (Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Ireland, Singapore, UAE, UK and US). This research was conducted in late November 2021 and comprises both quantitative and open, qualitative questions. The research report can be downloaded here: https://content.datalex.com/the-digital-airline-and-customer-2022