In what may bring in better consumer experience in airports and on flights, as much as 82 per cent of the 200 passenger carriers (including airlines from India) surveyed by IT solutions provider SITA said they will scale up investments to offer personalised solutions to travellers over the next three years.
These services would include provisions for downloading content from media kiosks to tablets or smartphones for flight including books and films, ‘virtual conceirge’ delivering shopping to passengers at airport gates and lounges, information updates to track baggage and app-based services to book onward travel from airports.
Three out of four airlines surveyed by SITA said they plan major programmes to deliver passenger services through smart phones in the next three years. As many as 64 per cent of the airlines surveyed said that they will have mobile-based apps in place for customer service and particularly for providing baggage related information by 2018. More than a fifth of the airlines (22 per cent) surveyed said they would have facilities enabling the customer to download content from media kiosks on to their personal devices for in-flight entertainment in the next three years. A similar number of airlines (20 per cent) will also make operational virtual conceirge in the same time.
The survey further shows that passengers are rapidly adopting technology to ease travel experience. The number of passengers using mobile devices to check-in has doubled over last year; and will overtake web check-in by 2018. As many as 24 per cent of travellers are estimated to use mobile check-in by 2018. In fact, what is particularly interesting is that low cost carriers are driving this change in consumer behaviour. Already 23 per cent of passengers of LCCs utilise mobile devices to check-in.
By the end of 2018, two-thirds of airlines surveyed said they will offer wireless internet and multi-media services to passengers on their own devices. Mobile apps enabling passengers to book destination services such as onward travel from airports , are also set to increase to 44 per cent from 6 per cent currently. In-flight duty-free shopping apps, in the meantime, are set to increase to 47 per cent from 11 per cent at present.
As per the survey, as many as 86 per cent of the airlines expect that investment in ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) would fetch them clear benefits in the next three years. IoT refers to physical objects being connected to the Internet which in turn would enable tracking, data collection, analysis and control. IoT investments would be focused in the areas of check-in, bag drop and bag collection, the survey said.
“All these things that are being connected will create immense amounts of data and both business intelligence (BI) and data centres are vital to extract the data’s value,” the survey said.
(The correspondent is in Brussels on an invitation by SITA)