Increasing online bookings for Airlines through direct channels – a comprehensive checklist
Airlines use Agents, OTAs (Online Travel Aggregators) and their Direct Channels (Website & App) as primary channels for bookings tickets. Among these, Direct Channels have lowest cost of sale. Increasing conversions through these direct channels relies on 3 key aspects – ‘Audience profile’, ‘Offline & Online data’ and ‘Omnichannel personalisation’. Here are my thoughts in the form a checklist to help airlines assess their conversion strategy on their Website.
- Are you able to identify Prospects, Bookings and Loyalty members among your website visitors?
- Are you able to identify one time visitors and recurring visitors among the above mentioned categories?
- Are you able to identify ‘offline bookings’ among your web check in users?
Online and Offline data
- Are you able to move weekend demand over to weekdays by personalizing discounts based on online search data
- Are you able to execute advanced segmentation on your data? For example:
- Complex Rule based Segmentation
In the last 7 days, create a segment of users who have visited your website at least 3 times looking for a specific flight but not made a booking
- Real time Segmentation
Identify a recurring visitor who has visited your website twice and show him banners on route specific discount on his third visit
- Complex Rule based Segmentation
- Are you able to apply route specific discount data to personalize messaging to users on a 1:1 basis across these channels?
- Programmatic – Display, Facebook
- Brower Push Notification
- Home Page Banner
- Site Notification
- Push Notification on app
- Are you able to use loyalty data to show personalized messaging on channels other than email?
Use case: A loyalty customer visits your website 3 times in the last 7 days and doesn’t book. He has 24000 miles balance in his account.
- A personalised home page banner or site notification displaying his miles is shown to prompt him to book his ticket
- While browsing the internet, he receives a browser notification with his miles balance to prompt him to book
- While he is on cnbc.com, a personalised banner with his miles balance is shown
- Are you able to engage your audience on a 1:1 basis across various engagement mediums?
A use case for personalised home page banner on your website:A visitor has booked a New York-Dubai flight on your website and revisits website in a few days. He sees a personalised home page banner with offers on Dubai hotels on your website’s home page.
- Are you using your website to cross-sell ancillaries?
- A family of four (2 adults and 2 children) has booked a long haul international flight and comes to your website for a web check-in. A site notification with an extra baggage offer can be shown
- A loyalty member is traveling economy class from Bangalore to London and visits your website for web check-in. A site notification with ‘Business class upgrade using his miles’ can be shown
- Is cross channel synchronization a part of you personalisation strategy?
- A loyalty member has your airlines app installed. He searches on your website for a Singapore-Melbourne flight and drops off on the booking page. Using his website behaviour, you can send him a push notification on his app reminding him to complete his booking
- A ‘drop off visitor’ is shown an ad on display and Facebook for 2 days. When he doesn’t respond, you can send a Browser Push Notification (assuming that he has opted for it)
- A ‘drop off’ visitor (loyalty customer) has your app installed. He is first sent a personalised push notification since it is a free channel. When doesn’t respond, then show him an ad on programmatic display and Facebook.
Knowing your audience, Using offline-online data and Driving Omni-Channel Engagement are the three pillars of growth marketing for airlines. While choosing specific use cases to drive early wins is good for internal buy-in, long term success will depend on holistic implementation of these three aspects.
Look forward to hearing your view on this. Reach out to me at email@example.com with your thoughts and questions.