Airlines Digital Forum EMEA: building shared-purpose and inspiration

Marc Charrier

Head of Digital Product, Amadeus IT Group

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On December 12th, 2017, Day 1 of our Amadeus Airlines Digital EMEA Forum, Nice Airport was closed down for ‘extreme bad weather’. This disruption wreaked havoc on the journeys of airlines representatives coming to the event. Of the 60 customers who made it, many had stressful stories to tell. Some hopped from plane to plane, some combined plane, train, car, bus… One thing was for sure, they had to get here!

This tells us two things: First, that it’s hard, even impossible, to tackle the digital era alone. Things are moving so fast, transforming the travel industry at such incredible speed that it can be baffling even for the most experienced travel specialists. We need to listen, to share, to learn from each other in order to move forward. The second point illustrated here, is that using the latest technologies to better serve customers is a ‘must have’! Take disruption: When things go wrong on a trip, solutions need to be flexible and user-friendly enough to cope with unexpected ‘nightmares’.

Which brings us to the heart of this Forum’s message: today, it’s all about the traveller! How can digital make it as easy, as intuitive as possible for you and for me, to search for flights, book a trip, add ancillaries, and go through the journey as seamlessly as possible, even in case of disruption.

“Don’t underestimate user experience,” said Tomi Maaniemi, Product Owner Finnair Digital Platform. Testimonials and interviews with airlines provided proof that in the digital era, you need to get the user experience ‘just right’.

Some business results highlighted at the event include:

  • Finnair

    announced that since the implementation of the Amadeus Airlines Digital Experience API, which pushes the boundaries of traditional airline websites, conversion rate had jumped from 1% to 4% on mobile browsers.

  • Lufthansa

    presented excellent results following the introduction of Amadeus Digital Awards on lufthansa.com, this allows travellers to mix Miles and Cash while booking flights. By using this innovative capability, 30% of those customers said they made a booking because of the Miles and Cash feature.

  • For their international markets, American Airlines

    have successfully migrated to and optimised e-Retail DX, an Amadeus white-label website solution for airlines. The airline saw its bookings grow up to +17% year-on-year with a conversation rate that increased by +1.8pts in 2017.

So, what are the next steps for Amadeus to help airlines digitally empower their customers, strengthen their brand and optimise sales?

Quite remarkably, in an era dominated by speed and the latest innovations, it’s not merely a question of staying abreast of the trends and mastering the technology: the game changer is the human factor, establishing new, more agile ways of working together. Amadeus’ strategy, presented at the Forum, is to build an ecosystem based on an open, collaborative spirit, with stakeholders sharing the same code, the same technology, the same tool kits, and working in close proximity to take small day-to-day decisions together. All backed-up by a strong API-first strategy.

The approach adopted while designing and building the Amadeus Airlines Digital Experience API together with Finnair and their partners in agile teams is a good example of the benefits of these new dynamics.

The exchanges and the open dialogue during this Amadeus Airlines Digital Forum EMEA, tell us that this strategy, this ‘philosophy’, is key to success.