January 10, 2018
Almost as traditional as champagne and fireworks, every New Year comes with its own wave of articles attempting to predict the technology trends of the next twelve months (and we admit our share of responsibility here!).
If you are in airline tech, the odds are that, by now, you already know that blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are three of the hottest areas any airline executive should keep an eye on.
But...are they, really?
We do not deny the long term potential of these technologies.
For example, blockchain technology has some pretty promising applications for the airline industry that have already attracted the interest of major players such as Lufthansa.
However, there is something that we have not failed to notice in our constant conversations with our clients.
When we discuss priorities and points of concern with senior airlines executives all over the World, what we see is that most often than not the most pressing issues they ask us to fix are, excuse me the wording, much more down to earth.
Rather than transforming their airlines overnight by adopting the latest buzz word of the industry, what we often see are efforts to streamline existing processes and systems, to lower costs without sacrificing efficiency and to open up new revenue channels that connect to the core IT platform.
The following may lack the glitter of the latest industry buzz words, but we think reflect well the concerns we currently see in the industry:
1. Developing and implementing ever smarter internet booking engines: while being immersed in a tech bubble it is easy to miss that, there are still quite a few airlines around the World that are selling a large percentage of tickets through less than optimal channels. Even in those cases when online represent a majority of sales, we often find ways to squeeze additional revenue.
2. Mobile apps: Yes, there are possibly more mobile phones than people in the World, but we keep seeing strong demand for apps that facilitate transactions and act as a travel companion for passengers. Another window into the traveler’s world that can bring about juicy ancillary revenues (see our related piece about mobile apps and airlines).
3. And, finally, airlines are seeing the advantages of launching multiple commercial and corporate sites catering to specific customer groups. It can be inspirational sites, sites designed for travel agents, sites specific for marketing campaigns or sites that allow you to search fares by budget, just to name a few. All of them need to be perfectly integrated into the airline’s IT platform and PSS and, perhaps as importantly, it must be possible for the airline’s marketing team to manage on their own.
By all means, be on top of the most futuristic developments, of course, but we would advise not forgetting what is ultimately the bread and butter of the industry.
There are plenty of real, tangible, opportunities there already today!