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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.

Audience profile

  1. Are you able to identify Prospects, Bookings and Loyalty members among your website visitors?
  2. Are you able to identify one time visitors and recurring visitors among the above mentioned categories?
  3. Are you able to identify ‘offline bookings’ among your web check in users?

Online and Offline data

  1. Are you able to move weekend demand over to weekdays by personalizing discounts based on online search data
  2. 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

big_data-1.jpg

  1. 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
  1. 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

Omnichannel personalization

  1. Are you able to engage your audience on a 1:1 basis across various engagement mediums?

amit_blog_table.pngA 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.

  1. Are you using your website to cross-sell ancillaries?

Use cases

  • 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 
  1. Is cross channel synchronization a part of you personalisation strategy?

Use cases

  • 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 amit.agarwal@vizury.com with your thoughts and questions.

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amit.agarwal@vizury.com'

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