The customer journey will most likely be unforgettable if there are great improvements in the passenger experience. Travelling is always meant to be pleasant, however, the simplest problem can turn the customer's journey into a disaster. That is why it is important to understand and address the general travel problems and travel industry trends.
With airlines recognising that positive travel experience is likely to lead to long-term loyalty, some improvements have been seen in today's market. Brands are focusing on reaching customers in every moment of travel rather than just before or after the point of booking. But in order to make assertive changes to attract this kind of loyalty, companies first have to comprehend the customers and their needs.
IATA's Global Passengers Survey displays what customers are satisfied and dissatisfied about during their journey. From booking to airport security and even queuing, this survey highlights some of the points airlines should quickly start trying to improve.
Problematic touchpoints with rather simple solutions
The booking experience is still something that takes a lot of time from travellers. OTA's might be solving part of the problem right now, but airlines need to start tackling this inconvenience. Customers do not wish to change tabs to individually book every step of their trip. Instead, they wish to purchase their accommodation, fight, transportation and everything else without having to research for a new provider all over again.
It is true that a good number of airlines have started to incorporate activities and hotel booking into their website, however, having these two options only is not solving the problem in full. Numbers show that, although hotels are the number one additional service customers would like to purchase along with their flights, insurances are also on the top of the list. Followed by transportation from the airport to the destination and car rentals.
Moreover, users demand proper customer experience, which means that placing these bookings in different areas of the website might not spark their interest as they need information to be centralised. Some may then just choose to go back to the OTA they are used to using.
Holding on to the information
Nowadays, passengers are offered little information regarding their journey. Consequently, having no control over their trip leaves them feeling powerless and uncomfortable.
From the IATA report, we can see that the flight information is, as expected, the most required information passengers wish to have. Along these lines, customers also claim for information such as the distance to the gate or waiting time at customs, all that is related to the airport itself. However, two mentioned points are in direct control of the airline: Destination content and products and services available for purchase from the airline.
Voted more relevant (25%), the destination content is not a new topic for travel media readers. With the huge development of data, this topic has been approached by many as a need of customers and a great added value for the airline. In fact, third-party technology companies are growing in this space since they are able to provide quality solutions for a fraction of the cost and at a much faster speed.
The bag drop stage of the travel journey might not be the biggest issue, but it does involve one thing that customers do not want to experience: queues! With self check-in already being a common thing to find at airports, staying in line to drop off your bags seems frustrating.
Easyjet is one airline that has already an implemented plan. The low-cost carrier had its first drop off point put at Edinburgh Airport in 2013 and since then expanded this model to other UK airports, such as Gatwick, Manchester, Bristol and Luton.
Losing the passengers' luggage, even if temporarily, is a pain for both the traveler and the company. In fact, over half of the respondents (56%) from the IATA survey say that, preferably, they would like to be able to track their bag during their journey.
The good news is that tracking systems for luggage already exist. By incorporating it into the journey, airlines will be able to provide a better sense of security to its customers as well as have more control over bags. It is definitely a win-win situation.
As different as passengers can be, the obstacles that keep the majority of them from having a pleasant journey are often the same. Surrounded by news that talk about advances in technology, not having simple issues solved, such as being able to track their bags, tells them that there is a lack of attention from airlines. As a consequence of the absence of solutions, passengers migrate from one company to another, seeking for a better experience.