Sunday, 6 July 2014

SUMMIT: SITA's Air Transport IT Summit 2014

It's been a couple of weeks now but I thought I'd share some thoughts from this year's SITA Air Transport IT Summit 2014.

From my personal perspective the interesting bits were around mobile and passenger communications. From the SITA survey results it looks like everything going self-service, with kiosks due to make a resurgence as a more intelligent touch point than the current check-in and boarding pass generators.

A key target for investment over the next 3 years is predicted to be baggage services, which was good to hear since that's what we'd thought at 15below towers in creating our customer conference presentations. Given the infrastructure changes over the past few years I'm quite excited about how the passenger experience can be improved in this area - having had to wait 16hours for my bag to turn up with minimal contact or updates I would certainly appreciate that!

After baggage, disruption management will be next, which does surprise me a bit having worked in this area for over 9 years ... what's taking these airlines so long! Those surveyed said they would move to preventative communications, but this needs good BI to get take-up going from 40% airlines now to 90% in 2017. 

Mobile will play critical role but channel choice depends on the step of journey the interaction happens (and not to mention customer preference!). Kiosks still have major role to play, increasingly adding info source, self serve recovery and the preventative communications.

It was pointed out that the sales of reservations systems was a key link between inventory/passenger relationship and managing complexity. I would add to this that third party integration specialists can help too.

Mobile is still mainly used for selling tickets and a third of airlines also provide flight related services. Adding more mobile services is seen as a top driver for mobile take up, followed by improving usability and then increasing awareness. Personalisation via preferences and real-time personalisation via mobile very low implementation today.  Plans to get take-up personalisation up to current ticket sales levels by 2017, again bit surprised by lag of personilsation in the industry having worked on integrations that provide that for so long.

The "Passenger experience" IATA video on YouTube was played and showed the passenger journey making a lot of use of apps and notifications to deliver automation, e.g. Boarding pass delivered without any obvious manual intervention. The point was also raised "what is check-in for anyway? can we achieve the same aims with less process (i.e. overhead)?"

That only covers the morning session, but plenty of food for thought there in how to improve the passenger experience. See more at the summit's download center.

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