Las Vegas, NV, United States & Madrid, Spain, 5th September 2013:A major independent global study released today appeals to the airline industry to take a fresh look at the age-old frustration of delayed or cancelled flights, in order to drive loyalty and reduce the impact of irregular operations on its customers, both now and in the future.
‘Passengers first: Re-thinking irregular operations’, written by Norm Rose of travel industry research authority PhoCusWright, and commissioned by Amadeus, a leading technology partner for the global travel industry, aims to provide airlines with practical strategies to improve responses to irregular operations, urging airlines to place a greater focus on the impact of disruptions on each passenger’s trip experience as part of operational decision-making during times of disruption.
Deliver a standard service approach to disruptions: Airlines should consider incorporating a standard service approach to deal with passenger itinerary changes. When severe events occur, airlines with such an approach in place merely extend their processes to a larger number of travellers rather than attempt to implement a new, reactive process.
· Offer ‘intelligent re-accommodation’: Automated re-accommodation technology may provide efficiencies for the operational staff, but it does not always solve the underlying passenger itinerary disruptions. Airlines may want to implement an intelligent one-click solution that empowers passengers to choose alternatives most relevant to their needs. Airlines should also consider investing in systems to gain a greater understanding of each passenger’s preferences and reasons for travelling, including passengers who book through indirect channels.
· Provide transparent communication: In every market surveyed, except China, insufficient communication was cited as passengers’ top frustration with irregular operations management. Introducing an integrated, cross-departmental approach to customer service will enable airlines to provide authoritative, personalised, proactive communication – and lessen the need for travellers to rely on third-party sources.
· Moderate delays hurt the industry more than big ticket disruption: One of the greatest challenges facing airlines is not major weather or force majure events, such as the volcanic ash cloud that disrupted travel across Europe in 2011, but rather the far more regular moderate delays of 1-4 hours that matter most to customers. In all markets at least 50% of travellers have experienced a moderate delay on one or more flights in the past 12 months, with this figure highest in China (74%) and Brazil (67%). Instances of significant delay are far less common.
· Travellers are increasingly venting frustration via social media: Globally, around one third of travellers surveyed said they had posted comments about delays to their friends on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, with higher numbers sharing experiences amongst their immediate family or friendship groups using other means. The study calls on airlines to shift social media strategies from promotional activities alone, and to embrace analytical tools that help them to understand the impact of social comments made in relation to disruption. By following this analytical approach, airlines can practice social mapping to better understand the impact of disruption on their brand as well as the sentiment of their customers.
- Flying High: Why Airlines Get Social Marketing Right (business2community.com)
- How 16 Middle Eastern Airlines’s Social Efforts Stack Up – Skift (cmosintravel.com)
- Amadeus shares one-click vision for managing airline disruption (tnooz.com)