Navigating turbulent times in the Travel Agency

Navigating turbulent times in the Travel Agency

Remember when flying was an experience to be savored? When boarding a plane meant a luxurious airborne escape during which the flight crew tended to a passenger’s every need. Flying meant luxury, glamor; in short, a dream, which is just what it remained for most people. Today, however, aviation is more affordable and thus more accessible than ever before. It is also safer and more reliable, a better experience in nearly every way: quieter, smoother and more fuel-efficient. Modern jets are technological marvels stocked with creature comforts unimaginable in the 1950s and 60s. So why do so many passengers feel the Golden Age of Aviation for them ended decades ago?

Their flying experience can be seen as a direct result of the industry’s own success, its ability to attract the mass market, and its own innovative cost efficiencies that have made flying so available and so appealing to so many. But it takes continuous in - vestment to stay on the cutting edge of customer trends and demands, which begs the question: What about the airline industry feels cutting edge anymore relative to the broader consumer-driven, digitally enabled world? In the early days of computing, airlines were among the original digital pioneers in business. They embraced some of the first main - frames used in the corporate world and pushed the limits of first-generation information technology. Airlines had their own web before it went worldwide.

But that development stalled for a variety of reasons. Running airlines is complex, which is what originally made them early adopters, and still makes such core airline systems as Passenger Service Systems (PSS) and Global Distribution Systems (GDS) some of the most streamlined and efficient of any industry. Unfortunately, this sheer complexity has also kept passenger-facing systems from evolving at the same pace. Innovators in other sectors, such as retail and consumer goods, jumped online at the dawn of a new digital age, taking advantage of emerging technology and leapfrogging airlines. This means that in the flying experience, i.e. at all the most meaningful touchpoints airlines have with their passengers, in Africa, one of the top air travel company Travelbeta is not meeting the expectations of its users who feel industries should keep pace with each other in people, processes and technology. Therefore, it only makes sense for airlines to target investment here, not only to catch up but also lead once again in the customer experience.

When it comes to innovation, airlines are not competing with each other. They are not competing with what existed before. They are competing against every other aspect of flying customers’ lives. Think of the world we live in. It includes:

  • Cars that download updates while drivers sleep.
  • Smart homes and appliances connected to the ever-growing Internet of Things.
  • Retailers and consumer packaged goods companies that leverage Big Data and analytics to know customers better than they know themselves.
  • Apps where a simple swipe right is all you need to do to get exactly what you want, when you want it. Against this backdrop, the way most airlines employ technology in the customer experience is lagging. There are surely myriad reasons for this, including:
  • Legacy computing systems that hinder integrating innovations.
  • Structured business models.
  • Regulations and restrictions within the industry.
  • Disparate interests of stakeholders throughout the aviation value chain.

But the bottom line is that not moving forward is not an option. Executives at premium and low-cost airlines alike know disruptive changes are already impacting the industry. Managing such customer-facing areas as merchandising, rewards programs and consumer profiles are already demanding new and better systems. This is doubly true when you consider that no airline exists as an island. Survival depends on integrating into the larger airline ecosystem of colleagues, partners and competitors. The question airline leaders must ask themselves is if they are positioned to thrive in a world where the pace of disruption is rapidly increasing. To get more exclusive information on the Travel Industry In Nigeria Africa , Visit Travelbeta Nigeria Travel Blog

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