I recently joined an industry panel at the CAPA World Aviation Outlook in Berlin alongside other airline industry executives from Made By Many, Bluebox Aviation Systems and Skyscanner to discuss the digital outlook for airlines and how to speed up their pace of digital transformation.
It was a great panel and I wanted to share a few of my perspectives as well as recommendations for airlines thinking about new technology solutions and partners (and there were many present at the CAPA event)…
Are airlines going about digital transformation the right way?
This was the burning question for our panel. Compared to other consumer-facing businesses, airlines have lagged in creating an omnichannel experience for their customers. For many airlines, this will be a key starting point for their digital transformation – unifying the customer experience across platforms. But if they can’t get these solutions to market quickly, and continue letting their current operational practices dictate the pace at which they can (or currently can’t) implement digital transformation, they’ll continue leaving money on the table in the form of lost revenue opportunities.
Unfortunately, the “old ways” of implementing technology solutions continue to hold airlines back. The reality is these legacy-system-dominated, 2+ year implementation schedules are unworkable today. Airlines need agility and speed to market in order to keep up with passenger demands and, ultimately, increase revenue. Technology developments like AI are full of promise but they’re not immediate.
So what is the immediate digital reality for airlines?
- Increasing conversions in every direction
- Identifying lost revenue opportunities
- Plugging revenue holes with solutions that are cost-effective and fast to market
What can airlines do right now to be more competitive, increase revenue and prepare for the future?
This was a complex question and I wanted to cut through all the clutter and get right down to the airline’s bottom line.
First, everything airlines do on the technology side should be focused on revenue. One way to achieve this is by making life easier for travelers. And something that airlines can do immediately is to implement quick-to-market solutions that have the most impact on streamlining the path to purchase. Booking and payments are their natural starting point.
Second, it’s unacceptable for airlines to go into a purchasing freeze for ANY length of time because of a technology implementation. If a solution can’t get to market in weeks or few months at most, the airline, or rather, the airline’s technology partner is doing it wrong. Time to market is everything and airlines must break out of their legacy thinking where they build and re-build everything in-house.
In other words, Productize, don’t Projectize. Our job as technology partners is not to change the airline’s fundamental product, but to make it as easy as possible for airline customers to do business with the carrier, and to make the sales process as cost-effective and efficient as possible for the airline.
What is my company doing to help airlines?
This question was addressed directly to each panelist; my response was that we help airlines identify lost revenue opportunities in all digital directions and fix those digital sinkholes with ready-to-implement, mobile-first solutions. It isn’t hard to find $100 million in lost digital revenue — and it’s just as easy to fix. Our team can do the job right, fast, and cost-effectively.
CellPoint Digital’s platform and solutions seamlessly link commerce and payments to create a frictionless path to purchase that increases conversions and lowers the residual costs for everything an airline does on its digital channels.
Forget about rebuilding and replacing legacy systems…that’s the old way of thinking – it takes too long and costs too much. We provide airlines with a clean platform (read more about our airline solutions here) that plugs directly into their existing systems and data.
Each of my panelists represented their companies and solutions well and spoke to the dynamism and innovation happening in travel and mobile technology today. But the pace of change among airlines is still too slow and their bottom lines are suffering because of short-sighted and limited digital strategies.
And that’s exactly what CellPoint Mobile is committed to changing.
Our Voyage, Velocity and Vantage solutions form a single platform with the tools and foundation an airline needs to do business in today’s environment where everything is omnichannel and the only strategy that can win is one that stresses agility, interoperability and a mobile-first approach.