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Amadeus: What drives travellers to click “buy” at the moment of truth

Tatiana Rokou - 12 September 2017, 00:11

New report from Amadeus finds traveller value is best understood using an axis of 'product vs service vs convenience' delivering a blueprint for airlines to better communicate their
offer and secure brand loyalty

Bangkok, Thailand - A new report published recently by Amadeus, 'Embracing airline digital transformation: a spotlight on what travellers value', sheds new light on what travellers value when shopping for a flight.

Today retailers from a multitude of sectors have reinvented the customer experience. However, the challenge often lies in working out what customers truly value when they make that all-important purchase. Looking specifically at the airline industry, this report explores new methods to aggregate customer data, accompanied by behavioural economic approaches, Artificial Intelligence and 'Contextual Commerce', in order to better answer this question. These developments can offer great opportunities for those airlines that embrace this change, asserts the report.

The report discusses a model of product vs service vs convenience, in order for airlines to be able to market intuitively each upsell opportunity. But this isn't a one size fits all approach. For each traveller, the balance between these three elements will shift, affecting the overall price that they are willing to pay for a flight. In a survey conducted for the report, 56% of travellers said that the total package was most important to them, while only 24% valued the lowest price the most. For example, a new mother travelling with a baby is likely to be very focused on the service experience. However, that same mother travelling alone for business or leisure will have different priorities.

Commissioned by Amadeus and Connections, a global networking and events organiser, the study is based on interviews with airlines, travel agency and technology experts. In addition, the report contains an independent survey of travellers focused on what they most value when booking a flight.

The report charts a range of changes taking place as digital is becoming a driving force in the airline industry:

  • Economy class is evolving: competition has changed economy class travel. Airlines are responding by using data to better upsell products with the base fare. American Airlines recently introduced its 'Basic economy fare' and British Airways moved to Marks & Spencer food on short routes.
  • The promise of AI: chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence will drastically change the industry. AI advice will deliver more personalised experiences for travellers when they request it.
  • Reinventing loyalty: An increase in digital offers is challenging brand loyalty. The industry is now securing loyalty with spend-based schemes, retail partnerships and pooling of loyalty points. Travellers can now redeem loyalty points much more easily as a result.


"Identifying upsell opportunities has long been the holy grail of the airline industry. Now there are new approaches to truly understand and define what people actually value when they travel. The ability of new technologies to aggregate customer data, combined with the application of behavioural economics, will help airlines to present their offer in a way that secures revenue and loyalty," says Elena Avila, Head of Airlines Strategy at Amadeus IT Group. "In the digital age, it's more important than ever for airlines to make an emotional connection with their travellers."



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