If you’re in the aviation space or represent an airline, you’ve probably gained a deeper insight into the question: how do passengers pick an airline? If you’re not, then it’s worth knowing that research from IATA indicates that 43% of leisure and 51% of business passengers feel they use too many websites and apps to find flights. And is it any wonder? With online travel agencies and metasearch engines like Travelocity, Trivago, Skyscanner, Google Flights, Booking.com and Expedia leading the market, it’s estimated that travellers use up to 38 digital channels to search for flights (Expedia, 2015).
The data is overwhelming – passenger loyalty to individual airlines are at an all-time low. In the US alone, only 24% of passengers show loyalty to at least one airline. And the definition of a loyal passenger differs on the type of passenger you’re talking about: business travellers are loyal to airlines in a different way that leisure travellers are. A variety of factors play a role in determining a passenger’s loyalty an airline, and we generally see cost being the topmost priority, followed by ancillaries, incentives and partner benefits.
How can your airline breakthrough?
It might seem daunting and almost a hopeless task – how can airlines, especially low-cost carriers, compete with the rising demand for low-cost air travel?
When WINGS deep-dived into this issue, we found that airlines currently miss this mark – one that could potentially improve passenger engagement with their brand: a strong ability to Know their Customer.
Knowing Your Customer
According to data from IATA, passengers are generally comfortable sharing their data with airlines but expects airlines to use this data to provide relevant offers and better service. Passengers in this generation are exceedingly savvy – they know that their data is being collected, and they want to be rewarded for this information accordingly. At WINGS, we’re big believers of using data to your best advantage – be it churn reports or predictive analysis, data can help you identify which of your customers are at high risk of leaving your airline for a competitor, and reign them back in with targeted campaigns or promotions.
There are four key ways you can segment a customer:
- Demographic – e.g. segmenting by age, gender, family size
- Psychographic – e.g. segmenting by activities, interests, app usage styles or transaction data
- Geographic – e.g. segmenting by location or region
- Behavioural – e.g. segmenting by the way members engage with your campaigns, their loyalty status and reasons for choosing your airline
Ideally, your team should look into mixing and matching filters based on the four key criteria listed above for not only the most unique but also most satisfying, campaign experience. Offer your members a deal on their favourite ancillaries, discounted tickets or offers to partner merchants – all data you can receive from the way they interact with your campaigns and program.
PDPA and GDPR rules have made data collection methods more transparent and honest – and there are still many ways airlines can collect interesting data about a customer. From the methods used to book flights (OTAs? Metasearch engines? Direct through mobile? Direct through a website?); to types of ancillary items that they prefer (extra baggage? In-flight meals? Travel insurance?) – the opportunities to incentivize your passengers are endless.
With WINGS, we offer airlines a branded all-in-one mobile application that allows passengers and members to remain engaged with the airline while offering usage and performance information to the airlines to use. For example, Cebu Pacific’s GetGo program is now able to offer location-specific offers to their members, including the option to send a push alert to members who want to be notified of offers in their vicinity. This is a great way to encourage members to redeem the rewards they earned by spending with their airline or with associated partners.