Customers have more choice and less patience than ever before – and they are increasingly eager to share their travel experiences with the world after a trip.

This means it is essential for airlines to focus on personalisation and engagement with passengers at all points throughout their journey, says Bruce Randall, global director of travel at e-commerce software firm SAP Hybris.

Speaking at a breakout session entitled 'Personalising the Journey' during yesterday’s Passenger Experience Conference, Randall said that a combination of new technology and customers “changing the rules” has altered the way in which people plan and purchase travel services.

“We have an immediacy need now. We expect when we go on the internet that we’re going to get marketed to in a personal way,” he says.

Airlines can no longer assume that their websites will be the first place passengers visit when researching travel options, and they must accept the growing trend for customers to take to social media post-trip, to make their travel experiences – both good and bad – public knowledge.

“To make customers happy, you need to engage with them at every step of the journey – before and after their first trip,” says Randall. “Should airlines care at all about the experience [their passengers] had at their hotel or on any excursions they went on? I’d say you should – whatever experiences they’ve had… may reflect on whether you get them to come back.”

Randall suggests airlines should be using “social outlets” to “track and ascertain” whether passengers had a good trip with them, and to follow up on what they learn.

“As an airline I can check in and say, ‘how did the trip meet your expectations’? And I can pull data to find out, what are they posting? What are they saying about it?” he adds.

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Source: Flight Daily News