Sabre Corporation recently surveyed 30 Asia-based airlines, and the results indicate that carriers are revaluating their strategic focus as they think creatively about new ways to generate revenue and increase yield. Close to 70 percent of the airlines who participated in Sabre’s study indicated that two main factors are influencing change: technological advancement and increasing traveller expectations.
More than ever, consumers expect unique, targeted offers from their shopping experience – and travellers are no exception. So, it’s no surprise that over half of the survey participants (53 percent) believe that leveraging data intelligence, whether to gain insights into market trends or passenger behaviour, is a top growth area for their airline.
Yet, despite airlines acknowledging the power of innovative technologies to enable new ways to sell, 80 percent of those surveyed admit falling short of their ideal ancillary sales vision. What’s more, only one in five respondents have identified product differentiation as their airline’s strategic focus – demonstrating a significant opportunity for Asia-Pacific (APAC) airlines to create a personalized retail experience for the traveller as a means to differentiate their products and drive incremental revenue.
“With consumer trends evolving as fast as the markets they serve, airlines have the potential to generate significant growth by efficiently channelling their content with innovative technology solutions that harness artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Rakesh Narayanan, vice president, air line of business, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific. “Our Beyond NDC program drives collaboration with airlines and agencies to help them create rich personas and micro-segmented offers using rich data that support their business objectives.”
Ancillary sales have increased by 88 percent year-on-year in the region, but reports show the same top ancillary requests appear across all markets: baggage, seat selection, and meals. While in-flight Wi-Fi is increasingly featured in the top three most popular ancillaries, accounting for a quarter of business traveller requests in APAC, there remains room for airlines to partner with technology leaders to help them up the ante on competitive differentiation. Successful retailers understand that the key to delivering curated experiences lies in tailoring offers to distinct buying personas, requiring a robust data-sciences approach to maximize individual consumer engagement as well as end-to-end profitability.
The survey findings were announced at STX Singapore, a cutting-edge event for members of the travel industry in Asia Pacific. STX welcomed over 500 airline, hotel and travel agency leaders to discuss and steer the evolution of the industry.