According to Travel Daily News over the next three years 52% of airlines are planning major AI programs. Airlines are particularly interested in leveraging AI for prediction and warning systems; however there are numerous other ways airlines can leverage AI to improve the customer experience and differentiate themselves from competitors. To do this though, airlines must first have access and insight into individual customer data. In this blog post, we’re taking a look at some specific ways airlines can benefit from AI and data management strategies to improve the customer experience. Keep reading to learn more!

Upselling

Having a proper data management strategy in place is crucial for airlines to deliver upsell offers that customers actually want to redeem. The first step is a 360° view of the customer. When different customer actions and events stream into the customer profile not weeks, days, hours or even minutes later, but rather within milliseconds airlines have the ability to act in the moment--when it counts.

Artificial intelligence enables airlines to identify products that a defined audience may be most likely to purchase. Inversely, Lufthansa airlines uses AI to determine what not to offer certain passengers. For example: according to Skift, Lufthansa will not offer traveler’s insurance to customers traveling on business because those passengers’ companies likely have a policy for employees.  

Customer Service

Everyone has had a bad flying experience at one time or another. Maybe your flight was delayed or cancelled; you were forced to check your bag when the plane ran out of overhead space; or your luggage was lost. So many of these mishaps are due to uncontrollable circumstances that even the most sophisticated technology cannot eradicate. That being said, there are some ways in which the right data management strategy and AI can improve those situations. For example: according to eConsultancy Delta airlines has introduced RFID bag-tracking that enables passengers to see their bags go on and off the plane via push notifications from the Delta mobile app.

In order for data to have a positive impact on the customer experience, airlines must empower flight attendants, customer service agents and other relevant customer facing roles with the information they need to know about each, individual passenger. For example: according to Bloomberg, American Airlines has plans to release a new app next year that will enable flight attendants to dispense frequent-flier miles or travel vouchers through their Samsung Galaxy devices as a way to resolve customer service issues that might come up during a flight.

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Personalization

Customer data management and AI are not just useful for increasing sales. Airlines should also leverage customer data simply to make customers feel special. For example: Lufthansa sends detailed destination information to passengers based on a traveler’s itinerary.

Most airlines have barely scratched the surface when it comes to leveraging data to personalize the passenger experience. As Skift points out, “shouldn’t airlines know where a traveler might fly next? Or shouldn’t an airline know what ancillary option a loyal traveler might want? Perhaps lounge access? Or an upgrade to premium economy?”

Technology is a major issue for the aviation industry. Although airlines were early adopters of computers, which put them ahead of other industries for a time, innovation has slowed, as many airlines still rely on legacy technology systems. Advancements in data management technology and artificial intelligence grant airlines the ability to synthesize any number of customer events, make decisions on the next best action to take, and execute that action via the best channel--all within milliseconds.

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