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The fundamentals of an airline app - Part 3 - Traveller Engagement

Welcome to part 3 in our series of the ‘fundamentals of an airline app’. In this blog we will be exploring the demand for increased traveller engagement and the types of features that should be an integral part of your airline app.

Due to the evolution of technology, travellers are now more connected and empowered than ever before resulting in an increasing demand (and expectation) for joined-up experiences that provide continuity wherever and whenever they engage with your brand.

Creating a mobile channel where customers want to engage with your brand is the first step, then you need to reinforce and educate them through effective communication by providing your travellers with relevant, contextual updates that can be served to a customer in real-time and provides them with information that they can trust. In the pre-digital era, the focus was to use mass marketing to push customers to you, rather than attract and engage (pull) them via the experience. For mobile, quality engagement is at the heart of gaining and retaining the attention of your customers; if you lose their attention you run the risk of losing your customer.

The role mobile engagement plays in ensuring you are there for your customers when it matters most cannot be underestimated and when done right it can deliver real business value.  

According to research conducted by the European Business Review1, companies that set high goals for mobile customer engagement and achieve those goals observe net margins and revenue growth of 5% and 6% highter than their industry average.

So how do airlines go about leveraging this all important channel to deliver real business value and return on investment?

Mobile, and more specifically apps, help deliver a seamless end to end travel experience that presents a host of opportunities for airlines to increase the value of their customer relationships through ‘just in time’ and contextual promotions. With over 45% of mobile users within the travel industry opted in to iOS push notifications2 the opportunities to retain the attention of your travellers on the go is significant.  Integrating real-time messaging capabilities to the mobile app experience enables airlines to send relevant, useful’ day of travel’ information, making a traveller's trip as smooth and seamless as possible. These messages can include:

  • Alerts to plan your airport journey
  • Check-in notifications
  • Real-time flight status alerts
  • Airport information such as boarding gate or baggage collection carousel
  • IROPS notifications such as delayed or cancelled flights

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Targeted push notifications can also be used by airlines as a powerful tool to generate additional revenue by offering ancillary products to their customers at the right time and in the right context.

This can be done using push messages to communicate seat sales or to drive sales of more specific ancillary products such as wi-fi, priority boarding, seat upgrades and trip insurance.

However it is not just about the ‘day of travel’ experience. At destination and post-trip are all stages of the journey that provide opportunity to drive engagement and increase revenue opportunities with the end-traveller.

Location tracking capabilities can be built into smartphones to trigger pushes and give the user contextual offers based on their precise location. In addition personalised limited time offers powered by data rather than a mass broadcast can be leveraged based on their specific trip details, past use or preferences. According to a study conducted by Localytics personalised content can result in a 3X increase in event conversion3.

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Some of the Travelport Digital clients have seen increases of up to 300% in sales engagement when using our real time messaging engine (Travelport Engage).

Mobile and apps are at the core of traveller engagement however it is important to remember that engagement is not about communicating with your users for the sake of it. Understanding context, profile, past behaviour and preferences are key to powering a mobile engagement strategy so that airlines can deliver a highly personalised, contextual experience throughout the end to end travel experience. Do it well and the results can be transformative.

What to know more about how to power your airlines mobile engagement strategy, visit our airline solution page.

1 European Business Review (2015), Mobile Customer Engagement Pays Off
2Self Andrew Chen, Why people are turning off push
3Localytics (2015), The year that push notifications grew up

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