One of our main responsibilities in Travelport Digital is to help support travel brands achieve their business goals through digital and mobile platforms. The last twelve months have seen our clients progress even further on an incredible journey. They have released some groundbreaking new features designed to delight their travelers, increase revenues and boost loyalty.
The new features they have rolled out have helped skyrocket engagement across the globe - the number of app downloads broke through the 40 million barrier this year. Our clients picked up more than a dozen industry, UX and design awards. And, the new features have helped drive an amazing 4.5 average app-star rating across these apps.
In this retrospective piece we wanted to shed some light on some of the key challenges that our clients faced and the new solutions that we designed in partnership with them. So, let’s take a look at five key areas of investment from some of the top airline brands that include easyJet, Etihad, Copa and Singapore Airlines.
Ancillaries continue to be an important theme for our airline customers - especially over the past year - with easyJet, Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines all doing work to generate new revenue streams in the mobile channel.
easyJet led the way with the addition of a new ancillary upsell screen on check-in to drive more conversions of paid bags and paid seats. They also revamped their hold luggage, now giving users two luggage options, as well as adding the ability for users to purchase destination tours and airport lounge access from the app.
easyJet’s ancillary revenue grew by 17.8% last year and these new ancillary-focused app features helped contribute to that growth.
Etihad’s ancillary developments included first providing users the ability to purchase extra legroom seats and additional baggage allowance during the booking flow, and they have since added this functionality to existing bookings to help users to fully self-serve and manage their bookings from within the app.
Singapore also added a preferred seat ancillary last year as well as an integration with popular Asian ground transportation provider Grab.
2. Day of Travel
Improving the day of travel experience for users was another important trend that our airline customers assigned digital spend to over the last 12 months.
Singapore Airlines implemented a number of features to improve the day of travel experience for their users including revamping the home screen to make it contextualised to the user’s active trip, adding maps for Sydney and Hong Kong airports, and adding the TSA pre-check to the boarding pass to allow eligible users to skip the queues when entering the US.
easyJet implemented a new day-of-travel widget for the app home screen which has all of the information the user needs for their upcoming trip including links to their boarding pass, Flight Tracker and live flight status updates.
Copa Airlines integrated our itinerary management solution which gives users the ability to view summary and detailed information on each segment of their upcoming and previous trips, in an intuitive and smart user interface.
Adding new methods of payment to facilitate faster transactions and reduce points of friction has been another key trend over the last year with easyJet, Etihad and Singapore all assigning digital spend to this.
easyJet and Etihad both did a native integration of Apple Pay into its list of payment options to make it easier for users to make flight bookings and purchase ancillaries. The payment option also allows the user to fill out all their information automatically through the Touch ID or Face ID function on the device to complete payment. The Apple Pay payment method is now used in 12% of all easyJet app bookings.
Singapore also added Apple Pay and Android Pay as a payment method on their wrapped web booking flow.
Enhancements to our airline customers loyalty programs continued over the past 12 months with Etihad, Singapore and Copa all assigning digital spend to them.
Etihad implemented a quick enrolment feature at the end of their booking flow to increase memberships of the Etihad Guest Member Program. After the user completes their booking a banner appears which when tapped will pre-populate the user’s information from the booking flow into the enrollment form, thereby reducing friction for new sign-ups. They also implemented a two-factor authentication on login to provide more security to passenger loyalty accounts.
Singapore implemented a membership e-card for their KrisFlyer Loyalty Program which members can use to gain access to airport lounges and present to program partners. Copa updated their ConnectMiles loyalty dashboard in the app and added a loyalty card similar to Singapore. Loyalty members can now also submit a ‘Request Miles’ form to claim unclaimed air miles.
5. Traveler Engagement
All of our airline customers use Engage – our intelligent mobile messaging engine – to provide their users with live, trip specific information such as flight status updates and trip reminders, keeping their users up to date and allowing them to proactively manage any travel disruptions.
Another common trend for our airline customers over the past year was their desire to increase traveler engagement touch-points at each stage of the user’s journey, which was achieved by adding new functionality and enhancements to the Engage platform specific to their business needs.
easyJet made changes to the Flight Status Delay rules, as well as adding a paid bags leg filter meaning campaigns can now be created to target users who have not yet purchased hold luggage. Singapore also added a ‘Follow a Flight’ feature which allow users to receive flight status notifications for Singapore flights without needing an active trip in the app.
In the constantly connected world we now live in, travelers expect an increasingly tailored service. The most forward-thinking airlines are investing heavily in their mobile channels to provide a service that will accompany their consumers throughout their entire journey – from booking, to check-in, to boarding, all the way to their destination and beyond. All of this allows them to build loyalty from their frequent travelers and new digitally-savvy consumers.
Steve Jobs once said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” However, we wouldn’t recommend you simply copy the samples we’ve explored above. Every airline has different objectives and all of these features were carefully researched, beautifully designed and meticulously tested before they were released.
Are you looking to get started with your first airline app or considering going in a new direction with your current mobile app? Then we have the guide for you. Download the guide to 'Getting started with your first airline app' now.