Expert panel at World Passenger Symposium discusses opportunities airlines have to personalize their offering

Airlines are aiming for personalization, a one-on-one relationship with the customer that will benefit both sides. While that is undoubtedly moving nearer, there are still roadblocks and the holy grail remains out of reach.

Rob Broere, Co-Chairman StB Steering Group and Vice President, PSS Transition, Emirates, believes data sharing is the main challenge. 

Everybody thinks the customer is their customer and so they are not willing to share information

Speaking at Wednesday’s (25 October) Passenger Experience session, he noted airline departments have problems sharing data between them and with other partners in the aviation value chain.

“Everybody thinks the customer is their customer and so they are not willing to share information,” he says.

Essentially, each company wants to make money out of the customer and not enable other companies to do so.

Broere contested that belief, and argued that untapped potential means sharing data would be a win-win for all partners.

Steve Peterson, Global Travel and Transportation Leader at IBM’s Institute for Business Value, agreed personalization is not about finding out someone’s maximum willingness to pay or doing a different version of the same process.

Rather, it is about doing something unique for each customer.

That isn’t yet possible because of the lack of quality in the data—another roadblock in the quest for personalization.

People are increasingly willing to share data for personalized services but want assurances that data will not be misused

Airlines are getting better in this regard and have moved beyond straightforward window or aisle knowledge.

But few will know how their passenger gets to the airport, for example. And they are probably not in a position to make suggestions about which amenities at an airport they might like to use.

There are regulatory hurdles too. People are increasingly willing to share data for personalized services but do want assurances that data will not be misused.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect in May 2018 and affects any company handling an EU’s citizen’s personal data no matter where the company is located.

Nevertheless, personalization is creeping closer. And loyalty, as opposed to revenue generation, is likely to be at its core.

When there is a weather delay, for example, the airline could notify the passenger’s hotel or taxi company.

This is useful for the passenger who may not have Wi-Fi or the correct contact and good for the aviation partners as they avoid passengers congregating around a desk or member of staff at an airport.

Top