April 26, 2018

Three ways airlines and airports can make the most of data

As the aviation industry improves its digital links with passengers, there are countless opportunities to apply consumer behaviour data to enhance the passenger experience, improve conversion and boost competitiveness.

At Skyscanner, data is a key driver in all decisions that we make, especially as we seek to serve the needs of a growing number of travellers. Our unique data is used to drive experiments, decisions and opportunities; as well as provide an understanding of when and where users are searching and booking. With these insights to hand, we can understand how traveller segments prioritise what they need from travel and deliver our products to suit those needs.

So that others in the industry can benefit from this data and gain insights, we have introduced Travel Insight – a data product that helps businesses improve their network connectivity, manage flight revenue ahead of the departure, develop new route opportunities and support all travel-related marketing. Not only can Travel Insight data show volumes, but also a level of granularity that isn't always present in other industry data sources such as geo-location and party size. In this article we explore three ways for you to start making the most of data with examples of how it can be applied, including our very own Travel Insight.

Here are three applications to start thinking about...

1) Better marketing and retail

Airlines are getting smarter about boosting revenue by selling ancillaries. By applying data on customer preferences, they can do better - especially if they make timely and actionable offers directly to passenger mobile devices throughout the journey. While individual trends may be easier to quantify for frequent flyers, applying insights on trends specific to regional markets or passenger demographics can also help improve conversions on offers. Airports are already applying passenger demographic data to help design their terminal experience and improve targeted offers from concessionaires.

One trend we’re watching: Mobile IROP (Irregular Operations). By sending timely offers direct to mobile airlines and airports could better address travel disruptions and irregular operations and even sell helpful services like ground transportation, lodging, lounge access, meals and flight re-bookings.    

2) Improved collaboration

Airlines and airports can help each other to address passenger needs and improve the efficiency of operations by exchanging flight and passenger data more effectively.

One application development we’re excited about: IATA’s New Distribution Capability. By establishing a standard for passenger and flight information that makes data exchange easier, the airline industry is helping to boost innovation and encouraging third-parties with fresh ideas to do their part to make air travel better (and more profitable).   

3) Data driven decisions

By studying consumer behaviour in flight search, airlines and airports can also identify market gaps ahead of their competitors. Using data in intelligent ways can guide better decisions on the launch of new routes, as well as help airports better target their offers to existing airline customers and new entrants.

Who knew that Londoners are most eager to visit Morocco, Luxemburg and Algiers?

Let’s just say, thanks to Travel Insight data, we had a clue.