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Digital experience optimization for airlines: 3 tips from the 2020 yearbook

It’s been a year like no other for the travel industry. With COVID-19 still impacting every country in the world, most airlines currently have most of their aircrafts grounded with many operating at less than 10% capacity. Countries like Spain have already set a timeline for reopening to tourists, but it’s still unclear when consumer travel habits will go back to normal—or what the new normal will look like.

However, we know that demand for travel will eventually return, so we partnered with Diggintravel to sponsor the research behind the 2020 Airline Digital Optimization Yearbook. The survey investigates the maturity of the digital optimization processes and key challenges that airline professionals face in their efforts to optimize conversions. In the first quarter of 2020, 49 airline carriers provided their insights into the developments of digital optimization for the travel industry.

Here are just a few of the takeaways for airlines revealed in the research:

Embrace digital transformation

The report shows that digital optimization is part of the corporate culture amongst leading airlines. These leaders embrace digital channels and the technologies that help them delight customers with these channels. They pay particular attention to conversion optimization focusing on the UX of their website and their mobile app and measure their effectiveness with advanced analytics tools.

Many airlines are now using AI-driven predictive analytics to support personalization efforts as well as identify customer struggles. AI technologies can flag where customers are experiencing issues within your online or mobile purchasing processes. This information can then be leveraged to prioritize UX fixes or technical issues.

Foster a culture of experimentation

In a recent interview with Diggintravel, Stefan Thomke from Harvard Business School said, “Business experimentation brings the scientific method to management decision-making. If you make changes without running experiments, you’re playing the lottery.”

Airlines need to stop taking chances and start testing changes to their websites and mobiles apps. Leading airlines indicate in the survey that they do more than 10 tests per month. By using A/B testing, you can understand how various elements of the digital customer journey can impact conversion rates.

Overcome organizational silos

Leading airlines democratize data from their digital experimentation efforts and A/B tests. They share customer data across teams including marketing, product, IT and business analytics to support innovation.

With modern digital analytics tools, airlines can map the booking funnel and uncover where customers abandon their transaction. By sharing this kind of data, teams can work together to fix underlying technical issues, optimize their UX or personalize their retargeting campaigns to better optimize conversion rates.

No matter how things unfold over the coming months as lockdowns lift, customer experience will always be a competitive differentiator for airlines. Investing in the online booking experience and mobile app experience for travellers on the go will ensure you will continue to delight your customers.