Blog post Personalization, Strategy

How Personalization Will Transform the In-Flight Experience

Personalization is being more and more recognized as the determining factor in conversion rates across many industries, from in-store and online retail to hotel and travel booking. The aviation industry is starting to use personalization tactics for customers booking flights, but what happens to personalization once the customer is actually up in the air? The traveling part of the journey itself is the missing link to complete the full circle of a personalized, high converting and enjoyable adventure for any traveller.

We've touched on personalization before and the fact that it can be easily achieved with a bit of forethought. With all the data touch points available to gather personal information and preferences, this process could also be included in the in-flight portion of the trip. Using loyalty programs and booking history, destinations, and possibly even an in-flight survey, a traveller can be made to feel special, not just one of the masses aboard the jumbo jet.

The in-flight experience is severely lacking on personal touches, and here are some ways it can be improved:

Facial Recognition and In-Flight Survey: To be sure the flight crew knows who is in each seat, facial recognition can capture photos and send a full roster. And with this roster any information that is known via loyalty programs or other data touch points. This data can then be used to personalize the experience. Passengers can also submit their preferences through a quick in-flight preferences survey.

Food and Drink Preferences: Most airlines offer a ton of food options depending on diet or pre-order meals, but what about beverages? People generally stick to their established favorite beverages, so if a stewardess knows that that customer has asked for a gin and tonic on the three previous flights, she will know what to offer.

Shopping Tendencies: One Business Class flyer purchases duty free perfume in-flight on nearly every journey and because the information has been saved, personalization mechanisms are able to create a special offer on designer perfume for this specific customer. One economy flyer who never makes in-flight purchases, marks tech gadgets as an interest in their in-flight survey, and the offer personalized for him entices him to make his first purchase of noise cancelling headphones.

Destination Information: Flight crews generally know where we're travelling. If the power outlets are different at the destination, why not check whether travellers have brought an adapter and present a good offer for those who may have forgotten.

In-Flight Entertainment: Just like Netflix; entertainment systems can give recommendations based on previous movies and shows watched on other flights or maybe you can continue that movie that you didn't finish on the return flight.

Transportation Information: Hours on the plane can be more productive and save time on the ground when the flight itself gives travellers information and options to organize and plan their transportation once they arrive. Iceland Air allows passengers to pre-purchase bus tickets from the airport into the city when flying into Reykjavik, and to book tours on board. Personalization can provide transportation options and the possibility to arrange it onboard, which takes a lot of stress out of arriving at a possibly unknown destination.

Here are just a few of the customer interactions where personalization can make a huge impact on the traveller's journey and lead to more conversions for airlines. Thanks to personalization and smart targeting it is easier to achieve than ever, the places it can go are limitless. Soon the earthly in-flight experience could be much more personal, and who knows, perhaps those flights into outer space someday too.

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