In 1955, a one-way ticket from London to New York was the equivalent of $7,026 in today’s money. You know how much the same ticket costs in 2018?
$289. There are vacuum cleaners that are more expensive.
So why aren’t travellers more satisfied? And perhaps more pressing: how are airlines surviving?
Partner cross-selling is, without a doubt, a huge part of the equation. After all, if you aren’t earning what you used to with ticket sales, you have to find another way to make up for it. It’s about more than making up for lost revenue, though: it’s about providing the ideal customer journey that will increase customer satisfaction and loyalty in the long run.
Airlines are under pressure to boost revenue while also providing a seamless, customer-centric journey from doorstep to doorstep (and beyond). This means offering more than simply a flight, and that requires partners.
The challenge isn’t figuring out how to push partner cross-selling to customers — online sales have made this easier than ever. Instead, the challenge is to offer the best options to each individual customer, and at the right time.
Offering any old airport hotel and taxi ride during the ticket checkout process just isn’t enough anymore. For starters, many customers don’t trust that you’re offering the best deal out there. But perhaps more importantly: you’re quite likely not offering the most attractive option for that particular individual.
There are companies that are working to be innovative in this area. Transavia, for example, partnered up with Uber in 2017 to offer UberESCAPE — a program that made it possible for Uber customers the option to add a weekend escape flight to their Uber trip. The campaign effectively removed an annoying logistic barrier for customers (planning a last-minute weekend getaway) by offering everything they were looking for in one place.
What if airlines were to offer this kind of innovative journey to each and every one of their customers, every time they booked a ticket?
And instead of a one-size-fits-all campaign, what if you personalized it? You could offer high-end hotels and dining packages to your business clients. You could make it easy for traveling students to book bus tickets from the airport to their hometown and even benefit from airport discounts to pick up last-minute gifts during their holiday travels. You could go so far as to offer special packages to parents with small children, or to newlyweds going on their honeymoon.
The good news is that airlines already have the data they need to achieve this. They’re just missing the technology to put it all together so they can perfectly orchestrate the journey.
A number of airlines are already using their wealth of customer data to roll out “personalized” bundling tactics, product-suggestion analytics, and dynamic pricing in the booking funnel and over the course of the travel journey.
But even these digital frontrunners aren’t yet doing it on a truly individual basis.
At best, airline marketers are offering cross-sell opportunities based on large audiences and general personas. This translates to a throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks methodology that, while getting results now, puts them at risk of losing customer trust in the long run.
What’s the alternative?
Increase cross-selling with AI
The Relay42 platform gathers and organizes all of your customer data across channels to create unique user profiles. Then it uses AI to help you determine the best possible cross-sell, while also taking second party data from your business partners into account.
AI has the ability to take each user’s entire history into account to predict what their next move will be, and then decide what the best possible product is to upsell or cross-sell at that moment.
No more guesswork.
Relay42 helps you offer highly relevant cross-sell options at the most relevant moments, transforming cross-selling from an irritating experience into a supportive and helpful journey with a brand that has their best interests in mind. You can stop following your customers around with retargeting ads, and you won’t have to guess when and where they might be the most willing to make another purchase. This kind of real-time personalization allows you to be in the moment with your customers. Instead of creating noise, it builds a mutually beneficial exchange between you and each and every one of your customers.
Of course, having highly detailed and always up-to-date customer profiles is only the first step. Relay42 also helps you plan and manage end-to-end journeys across all channels and ensure that the timing, channel, and content of your message is always highly relevant.
This is what we mean when we talk about Intelligent Journey Orchestration:
Learn more about Intelligent Journey Orchestration in our infographic: Infographic: Intelligent Journey Orchestration in a Nutshell
Customer-centric solutions to the top 5 airline marketing challenges, from acquisition to loyalty.