Launching new business ideas or adapting program designs in airline loyalty are only as viable as the underlying technology can support them. Too often, airline loyalty leaders face painfully long, resource-intensive, and costly systems customizations to get new ideas off the ground or integrate new partners into the ecosystem. The victims? Innovation, speed to market, and the ability to unlock a loyalty program´s full business potential. But there is another way.
Air cargo connects the world, and it has done so impressively well for decades. Yet, evolving customer expectations are accelerating the need for change in the industry. Technology is advancing at a fast pace in other sectors, which creates a precedent for air cargo that has been slow to adopt modern technologies. The industry´s continued reliance on legacy systems and architectures leaves a raft of benefits off the table.
Loyalty programs acquired superstar status during the pandemic, with many airlines selling miles to secure lifeline funding and alternative revenue streams. Ultimately, the objective is to acquire new members and steer them to the scheme´s everyday earn opportunities through the airline’s co-branded credit card or partner network.
With so many loyalty programs competing to be top of wallet, a strategic approach to creating a valuable currency is critical. Yet, airline loyalty programs don´t just compete against each other in this lucrative space. Often, unrelated credit card schemes offer their users more attractive benefits and have stronger currency value.
Digitization is the way forward for Airline Operations!
Airline experts hypothesize that technology adoption at airlines will leap forward in the aftermath of COVID-19. Around 70% of attendees from IBS Software’s VOPS’20 - Virtual Operations meetings with airlines across regions agreed that the time is right for large-scale transformations. These digitally-driven transformations will embed themselves into operations and drive long-term sustained efficiency.
Although contact centers are a critical part of airline customer experience, most operate as an extension to the core business today. Typically operated on some combination of rudimentary self-service features and outsourced agent-based call centers to reduce costs, these often lead to a disjointed customer experience for passengers.
Air cargo is a highly volatile business. External factors such as trade policy, consumer sentiment, global events like economic recessions, spreading of communicable diseases, and socio-political situations have an immediate impact on air cargo.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, airline loyalty programs have become a survival lifeline for airlines. Airlines can harness the power of loyalty programs to generate non-travel related revenue and retain cash by maintaining meaningful engagement through non-air activities and demonstrating compassion for their customers' circumstances.
The air freight business has always been challenged by the very operating model of the business. A significant share of global air cargo is ferried in the available belly space of passenger aircraft. Large scale commoditization of the offering has led to diminishing yields – even while costs continue to rise. There is a significant opportunity for cargo carriers and GHAs to derive higher returns from their cargo product by focussing on differentiated offerings and an elevated customer service that goes along with it. “Special Cargo” is the smart way to productize the air cargo service such that it is tailored to meet specific needs of specific markets.