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Hackathon brings airlines together to innovate with the Amadeus Digital Experience Suite

Marc Charrier

Head of Product Management, Airlines Digital, Amadeus

Global travel now demands technology that is ever increasing in terms of scale and access. At Amadeus, innovation has been at the heart of our business for over 30 years.

We believe that open systems will create value for airlines by enabling collaborative partnerships on innovation - ensuring transparency, choice and simplicity for travelers.

Airlines being fixed-cost businesses in a highly competitive market need to grow their business by reaching their customers ‘where they are’ (on device and digital channels where they interact) with personalized and differentiated experiences.

One of the key focuses from the Amadeus Airlines Hackathon, held in Singapore with seven airlines, was to gather our airline customers to share and learn modern retailing ideas from each other. We also got direct input on the development of solutions based on their visions for digital transformation. Held over three days, it was a hands-on competition for airline and Amadeus developers to collaborate and code a prototype based on the Amadeus Digital Experience Suite. This tool provides an open and flexible platform where Amadeus, airlines, and third-party providers can connect, develop, and share technology.

Placing their customers’ needs first was evident with all the airlines. Mobile-first experiences, which are critical in the Asia market, surrounded by group messaging platforms were a big focus during the hackathon. Several airlines presented mobile friendly solutions focused on creating end-to-end travel journeys or to upsell ancillary services. Leveraging chat applications such as WhatsApp and Telegram – a big part of a traveler’s daily life – helped the airlines create simple and social booking experiences for customers.

Winner of the Hackathon - Korean Air demonstrated a chatbot ‘Chat & Book’ with the ability to integrate airline bookings into chat rooms setup by a group of friends that will help them complete their entire booking from inspiration to payment within the chat platform. The chatbot can recognize keywords (e.g. "Disneyland") to suggest destinations, search and offer flight options. Finally, the chatbot can collect the passenger information and payment for each of the members of the group.

Korean Air delivered a relevant online experience and touched many aspects of our Digital Experience Suite at once. Notably the developer toolkit and links to external solutions such as the Telegram API, all nicely packaged and delivered into a strong business story, we were delighted to have welcomed such an engaged team!

Air Astana, winner of the ‘Most Innovative’ special recognition, explored a new approach to marketing by letting their customers do their marketing for them. Air Astana can select certain fares to appear as a 'Social Fare', where travelers get discounts when more people book that flight.

Finally, in its ‘MH Connect’ app, Malaysian Airlines integrated a chatbot with WhatsApp that notifies the traveler when it's time to check-in. It then asks if they need to add any ancillary services such as a bag or seat.

At the end of the hackathon, we were very impressed with all the great customer centric ideas as well as the high standard of technical expertise in terms of coding and UX.

As the travel market becomes more complex and fragmented, we need to take advantage of new technologies to the highest scale with our customers. This airline hackathon brought our customers together for a fun learning and collaborative experience and will help them put their ideas into production.


Tags

Asia Pacific