Questioning the travel industry status quo, one blog post at a time

© adrian_ilie825 - Fotolia.com

© adrian_ilie825 – Fotolia.com

Location, location, location. It’s the phrase we all know when buying or selling property.  Well in the game of online selling it’s all about the User Experience, or UX.  In our world, the reality is very few people make the physical trip down to the local travel agency to buy travel.  Take me for example, with the exception of the occasional trip to the grocery store (a bit obsessive about picking my own fruits and veggies), I avoid physical shopping at all costs.  Initially, I thought it was because I was suffering from a touch of agoraphobia, but after a few visits to my head doctor, I realized what I fear most about physical shopping is the actual experience.  The driving to/from (I tell my family it’s an environmental issue, but I drive an SUV), the waiting for the person ahead of me to finish writing a “check” (what the heck is that?), the putting stuff in bags and carrying it (I can’t tell you how many times I leave perishable groceries in the car, and remember I live in Miami)—it’s just all too much!

Generally I know what I want or need.  I am more functional than status-conscience, so for me the User Experience is pretty much everything.  So most of my purchasing is done via Amazon.  I love Prime and even pay the extra $3.99 to get it delivered the very next day just to satisfy my need for instant gratification. Waiting two days is not the experience I am looking for. I have a choice and believe I am in control, which is what the User Experience is all about.  Take it from me when I say never underestimate the power of consumer choice! Read the rest of this entry »

© RTimages - Fotolia.com

© RTimages – Fotolia.com

After going over the top 10 reasons for not starting an airline merchandising program in a previous post, we thought it might be good to provide a little encouragement, along with what we believe are foundational principles necessary for any airline wanting to start or enhance a merchandising program.  Because let us not forget that in a relatively short few years, those airlines already practicing the art of airline merchandising are reaping their slices of a new revenue pie that is expected to exceed $50,000,000,000 (yes, that’s billion) this year, almost exclusively attributable to airline merchandising.  This year it is projected the average revenue generated per passenger boarded (PB) from what I call “true ancillaries” (those optional purchases excluding bag fees, change fees, and affinity credit card revenues) will exceed $7.50.  That’s more than most airlines make on a ticket sale!

So if you are thinking of starting a merchandising program, or expanding the one you currently have, here are a few considerations we have picked up on over the past couple of years talking with airlines about merchandising.  Our top three considerations are*: Read the rest of this entry »

© md3d - Fotolia.com

© md3d – Fotolia.com

We’re excited to kick off the first installment of our blog series on airline merchandising with,  “Top 10 Reasons Not to Get Started with Airline Merchandising.” We’ll share with you some of reasons we’ve heard why airlines don’t want to or are not ready to start merchandising. We’ll also share our rebuttal to those reasons. Enjoy!

10. We are a full service airline.  We offer an all-inclusive product. 
Are you able to tell the world that and demonstrate to customers your brand differentiation?  When travellers shop for a flight online, can they tell the difference between you and your LCC competitor? Merchandising isn’t just selling products and services; it’s differentiating your product so consumers know what they get when they choose your airline.

9.   Our customers aren’t asking for these products and services. 
Well, they’re asking someone for them, otherwise they wouldn’t be spending over $50 billion on those services this year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Now that spring has sprung, we’re packing our bags and hitting the road! We’re going to be at conferences, symposiums, education days, and more—all in the name of innovation in airline distribution!

Check out the upcoming events we’ll be at in the next six weeks.

NDC in Action: A Technology Symposium – Singapore
Along with Airline Information, UATP, and several industry thought leaders, we will demonstrate how NDC will enable airlines and other companies that sell travel to innovate, personalize, dynamically retail, and compete for customers at every touchpoint.

Airline Distribution 2014
This interactive conference is where audience members can contribute to the discussion and meet face-to-face with many of the industry leaders who are solving or working to solve the complex distribution questions facing airlines today. FLX’s Jim Davidson will sit on a panel discussion and give a keynote titled, Airline Merchandising, E-Commerce and Billions of Revenue – Why Some Airlines Are Winning. Read the rest of this entry »

As you may remember from my last blog, I have been spending more time with my knitting, but quite frankly I have knitted enough sweaters for everyone on my 2014 Christmas list. And just wait ‘til you see the sweater vest I knitted for Mike Premo. It will go great with the bow tie.

So what now?

© Brian Jackson - Fotolia.com

© Brian Jackson – Fotolia.com

Well, I was thinking that since we have spent almost two years talking to, and working with, a number of airlines on their merchandising strategies and approaches, we thought it might be fun to categorize some of the more interesting findings on this very hot topic for airlines, consumers, travel agencies, corporations, and technology providers alike.

So that’s what we are going to do. We are going to write about some of the challenges, opportunities, and learnings around the topic of airline merchandising gleaned over the past two years.  It will be fun, a bit controversial, and, most of all, informative by providing a foundation for continuing productive dialogue, debate, and innovation surrounding this most important topic.

So what do we have teed up for the next few months?

    •  “Top 10 Reasons Not to Get Started with Airline Merchandising”

    •  “Oh, the Things We’ve Heard: Memorable Quotes and Quips from Airline, Agency, and Distribution Folks Around the World as They Discuss the Concept of Airline Merchandising”

    •  “Why the UX Never Sleeps, So Neither Can We: Our World Has Changed, But Have We?”

    •  “The Last Mile: Merchandising Through the Travel Agency Channel”

    •  “We Know Merchandising Creates Happy Customers More Revenue, But Cost Savings, Too?”

    •  “You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide: Mastering the Airline Silo Game”

That should keep me busy for a while. Although I’ve heard scrapbooking is making a come back…

Finally, we put an end to 2013. It was a year of ongoing litigation, lobbying, lethargy, legacy, and three-letter acronyms (DOT, NDC, etc.) that may actually be behind us. I know that certainly is the case for Farelogix. It’s been a long time since we could call off the lawyers and lobbyists, and I can’t remember the last time I could look at my upcoming travel plans and not see regular trips to DC. Sure, I may pop by occasionally to say hi to my friends at DOT, but only when I’m in town to have dinner with Premo or attend an industry conference.

640px-Pink_knitting_in_front_of_pink_sweatshirt

And NDC was finally exposed for what it really is – a boring technology schema that allows airlines to deliver rich content to travel agencies, even through the GDSs no less (see AA, AC, WS). Seriously, we spent all of 2013 arguing over something that is actually good for everyone in our supply chain. Boy, I bet we all would like to have some of that time and money back. Oh well, at least we contributed to the economic recovery. Read the rest of this entry »

Ho-Ho-Holy Cow, it’s the end of another year again, and what a year it has been!  Farelogix has had its best year ever while building on and advancing the merchandising and distribution goals of the largest airlines in the world and bringing on new airline customers from all parts of the world! We’ve also been recruiting and hiring some of the best talent imaginable from around the world to join the Farelogix family. Like I said, what a year!

But it’s more than just us, our customers, and our partners, that makes this time of year special.  It’s about the connections that have been made, friendships that have developed, opportunities realized, challenges overcome, and even those mistakes we all make being mended with grace.  What a year!

As we at Farelogix look ahead, we see very bright things, full of new opportunities to showcase our products, full of growth for our company and customers, and full of respect for the challenges that come with growth.

Our optimism spreads to the entire airline and distribution industry, where airlines are now focusing on “customer engagement,” rather than just schedules and fares.  Where consumers are “choosing” not just their flight, but the experience they desire.  And where technology is promising personalization and flair.  Do I dare say that air travel can once again be filled with stories of pleasure, relaxation, and the occasional surprise?

2013 was a great year for us, and we hope it was for you, too. And here’s to 2014 being even better!

Happy Holidays from Farelogix!

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ZeusLast week’s PhoCusWright Conference in Hollywood, Florida, with its record-breaking attendance, had the theme “Cult of Context.” When prepping for the event I thought to myself, hey, it’s been quite some time since I have joined a cult and most of the scares and horrible nightmares have gone away from my last cult-joining experience, so what the heck, join the “Cult of Context.” How bad can it be? So I joined!

Session after session, innovator after innovator, offered up profound, or at least novel, examples of travel product personalization, content-relevancy generating algorithms, and example after example of delivering the right product to the right person at the right time. I’ll bet I heard that last expression 50 times throughout the Conference. By the way, as an aside, I thought the Conference was one of the better PCW Conferences I have attended. It was also Tony D’s coming out event as PCW’s new ring leader. Well done, circus-master TD, as you and the PCW team once again demonstrated how a thought-leader conference can be super-professionally run, inclusive of opinion and perspective, and even have a few streaks of fun. I suspect Mr. D will bring in a bit more of the latter, in his next PCW appearance.

Back to the “Cult of Context.” I had the wonderful opportunity of participating on a panel titled, “Flights of Fancy” with Kurt Ekert, COO of Travelport, and Bob Kupbens, VP Marketing and Digital Commerce at Delta. Tony D did his usual yeoman’s job of navigating us through thought-provoking questions about airline distribution, personalization, customer engagement, etc. We had a somewhat spirited discussion about the differences between Direct and Indirect airline distribution channels ending with what I thought to be a fairly profound general consensus that the lines need to blur and the gap needs to close between the two channels – even to the point of a suggesting that we (the industry we) lose altogether both the terminology and the notion that there is any difference between the two, at least from an airline’s customer engagement, brand differentiation, and product(s) delivery point of view. With the notable exception that travel agents or corporate booking tools may play a “proxy” role in product display and transaction delivery on behalf of the airline, thus adding their own value in the process but not impacting the actual airline offer for that particular customer or corporation. Read the rest of this entry »

 

View video on YouTube.

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There are many wonderful things to see in Dublin—the Dublin Castle, Trinity College, and The Brazen Head. And while you’re at WPS, we really hope you’ll swing by Booth 27 to see Farelogix and our innovative technology solutions. Because, after all, seeing is believing, and we think you’ll be inspired after seeing how our technology brings NDC to life.

Our team will be on site to show you real life examples of cross-channel merchandising, personalized shopping, and much more. Additionally, private meetings can be arranged for a more in-depth look at our technology solutions. If you’re interested in setting up a private session, please email sales@farelogix.com.

And then after two long days of everything airline distribution, please join us for a drink on the last night of WPS as we sponsor the Cocktail Reception on Wednesday, October 30 at 19:30.