Transforming data into value, fostering airline customer loyalty

Dominic Matthews

Global Head of Loyalty, Amadeus IT Group

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The Cambridge Dictionary defines loyalty as “your feelings of support or duty towards someone or something.” It’s a powerful notion. This is why it’s important for airlines to understand why their customers are loyal to them or not and what they base their choices upon. Loyalty was on everyone’s mind at this year’s Flight Global Loyalty 2018 conference in Bangkok, which was followed by the Amadeus Airlines Traveler Data and Loyalty Forum with 80+ attendees.

dominic and matthew

Amadeus was a platinum sponsor and I was delighted to deliver the keynote, ‘Fostering Customer Loyalty from Traveler Data’. My colleague Jim Barlow, Vice President Airlines Strategic Consulting, Amadeus, and I, talked about how loyalty is at the forefront of the digital transformation. Why is this so? Because if a loyalty program is effective, then it should influence a passenger’s choice of flights. But it’s hard for airlines to judge effectiveness because they only see the people who book with them.

Digital transformation is all about maximizing opportunity at each decisive moment. This means using data to understand what drives travelers to click ‘buy’ at the moment of truth. It also means understanding consumers and providing airlines with a blueprint to better communicate their offers to improve loyalty. When it comes to airline loyalty programs, these aspects are used to boost partner business opportunities, improve rewards and experience, and to drive a multi-dimensional loyalty strategy.

Smarter redemption options are also having a big impact on airline revenues and member engagement. An example of this in practice is Amadeus Miles & Cash Slider, a solution which allows airline loyalty members to pay for their purchases in miles, cash, or a combination of both.

Two years ago at Loyalty 2016 in Bangkok, I said during a panel discussion that airlines were sitting on a gold mine of customer data with few benefiting from it. We’ve come a long way since then and now we can truly transform data into value. We see millions of shopping, search, and booking transactions each day. This gives us a unique picture what people are looking for, what was available to them (including price), and what they chose. We’re making this data available to airlines to help them understand their customers’ choices, including measuring the effectiveness of their loyalty programs. Analyzing this new, innovative data helps airlines make better decisions aligning their priorities with what customers are really willing to pay for.

Our researchhas looked at the influences that lead travelers to make a purchase with an airline. What we found was that the key is to bring all of these real-time influences together to present the customer with something that is of value to them, right at that very moment. We already offer cutting edge solutions that helps airlines manage their loyalty programs by transforming data into value – which you can learn about on our Traveler Data and Loyalty website. Check out this infographicand videoto learn more about how data can foster airline customer loyalty.