The fundamentals of an airline app - Part 4 - Friction Removers

In MOBILE TECH, AIRLINES

Welcome to the final part in our series of the ‘Fundamentals of an airline app’. In our previous blogs we highlighted some of the core functionalities that travellers expect from an airline app including search & booking, real-time engagement and mobile check-in and boarding. In this blog we will be exploring the increasing demand from travellers for a frictionless experience and how mobile is primed for airlines to ‘join the dots’ of what can be a disjointed experience for travellers.

With increasing mobile adoption it has created a multitude of micro moments throughout the travel lifecycle where customers want to know, go, and buy quickly. According to research from Google 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if they can’t find information or if it is too slow1 and of those that do switch 67% will switch if they can’t get the desired information or complete the desired task quick enough2. For this reason it is vital that airlines look to anticipate their customers needs and make it as seamless as possible for travellers meet these needs.

As the pace of multi-device and travel app usage continues to grow so too will the demand to self-serve across every touchpoint. As we all know the ‘day of travel’ can be frustrating even for frequent travellers - fears about getting to the airport on time, lengthy check-in and security queues, uncertainties about flight take-off times and gate locations...are all common pain points. As a result travellers can regularly feel frustrated by their travel experience and this can seriously damage the relationship they have with their travel provider.

The good news for airlines is that there are an abundance of opportunities to address these friction points pre-trip, at the airport, at destination and post trip.  Mobile is primed to help airlines remove this friction and offer a more seamless travel experience using features such as mobile booking and check-in, Apple pay, Touch ID, card and passport scanning, real-time flight alerts, personalised itinerary updates and more.

We can already see example of this in the mobile offerings of progressive airlines like easyJet, Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways who have focused on building an intelligent and intuitive digital services that makes the travel experience as seamless as possible.

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This trend is expected to continue with SITA forecasting that the number of airline apps with mobile check-in and boarding passes will surpass the 90% mark – by 20193. Passenger usage is also expected to pick up with airlines forecasting that check-in via a mobile app will reach nearly one-third (31%) of passengers by 2019.  The impact this has to your bottom line is not to be underestimated as we have seen some of our own Travelport Digital customers save upwards of $2M in one year as a result of mobile check-in adoption.

Other innovations such as Apple pay and credit card scanning play an equally important role in removing friction from the payment process as well as improving the rate of successful conversion – something which is of particular interest to airlines. If we consider in the US alone, mobile payments are set to triple to amount to $27.5 billion by the end of the year4 it’s hard not to see the opportunity for airlines to increase new and existing mobile revenues by embracing new mobile payment technologies to deliver a more frictionless retail travel experience.

Incorporating other features such as Touch ID, loyalty integration, chatbots, automatic check in and passport scanning further serve to simplify the travel experience and by incorporating features like these into your mobile offering you will ensure better adoption and engagement of your airline app. For most travellers friction is most often associated with poor customer service so anything you can do to avoid that is good for your brand.  

As highlighted throughout this blog series - advancements in technology have created so many more touch-points for airlines to engage the traveller throughout the journey. To stay competitive, travel brands need to continually demonstrate their understanding of the pain points their travellers experience and provide them with a mobile experience that incorporates the fundamentals to address these core needs.

This is the first step to helping your airline build more valuable customer relationships.

Interested in finding out more about how you can supercharge your airlines mobile strategy? Why not join our upcoming webinar.

Sources:
1 & 2 Google, 2015, Optimize your mobile experience
3 SITA AIRLINE IT TRENDS SURVEY, 2016

4 eMarketer 2016, Mobile payments will triple in the US in 2016