By Alexander v. Bernstorff
Happy New Year – of which one twelfth is almost completed. Everybody is curious as to what will keep us busy for the remainder of 2017. In case you’re not already left behind by your own project plan – think of mobile!
Consumer preference for an activity space of roughly 5 inches is rapidly increasing in every corner of life and commerce, and myriads of experts continue to educate the airline industry about it. But while not much has happened in our industry (as quite often), mankind is on the go and about to create a post-mobile era, where mobile-only will replace mobile-first. 2 Billion people in countries like India and Indonesia will soon be getting connectivity and they will be using mobile devices only.
According to a study of the National Retail Foundation “NRF”, 95% of retailers have mobile-optimised websites. If we turn our heads backwards and look at the airline industry, many do not even seem to have desktop-optimised sites. The Holy Grail in the eyes of many airline e-commerce managers are still mobile apps. However, app development is a hazard area. Recently, I could not do simple things like a seat reservation or the purchase of a checked bag using the mobile app of a large carrier. And: Successors of mobile apps are already established and continue to grow.
The airline industry – although some airlines do a great job in mobile – is way behind what the consumer expects. Many airlines prefer a meagre 30% online share (of which less than 10% is mobile) over taking the risk of doing e-commerce differently and build capabilities consumers actually require. The remaining 70% are sold via the GDS distribution channel, with all its technical and commercial shortcomings. There are companies and start-ups around that can help airlines selling products in a nicer way, but they need something compatible to source offers from. Here is where the dead-end ends: current offer management systems are not compatible with an excellent mobile shopping experience.
But wait! – The upcoming transition of airlines towards a new way of engineering, distributing and selling products, and towards a new way of customer engagement and the introduction of brand new technology, all under the common term of Airline Retailing, opens up the unique opportunity to re-think and re-engineer things and catch up with the mobile world out there.
We at InteRES make sure that whatever an airline can do with our NDC Retail Offer- & Order-Management System can work nicely on a smartphone. Our product demonstrator is mobile only and our goal is not to require more screen space in order to make airline products and services work. We’d be pleased to give you a live demo, end-to-end and based on pure NDC messaging. You’ll be amazed – promised!