TakeTravelForward recently posted an article on airline distribution and how it is time the industry shift to a consumer-centric marketplace as opposed to one where an intermediary controls the product offers to airline travelers. They also produced a series of videos on the same subject. We thought it was worth reposting on our blog in case you missed it. Enjoy!
Today, airlines are competing for consumers in ways never imagined just a few years ago. For decades much of the airline industry had been relegated to a commoditized offer of an available fare and schedule. In fact, the inability of airlines to differentiate their product offerings led to what many viewed as a “race to the bottom” in terms of innovation, service, and the entire experience from “buy to fly.”
But why did this happen? Did the airlines really want to give consumers a bad experience? Of course not. They simply could not maintain profitability in an era of rising fuel prices and a mass commoditization of their product.
The turmoil in the industry today reflects that the pendulum is now swinging back, as airlines strive to offer consumers new and better travel experiences that are unique to the airline. But the shift is not so easy, and there is friction across the industry. While airlines are willing to share any information necessary to deliver customized offers to travelers, friction is inevitable as airlines try to achieve these changes against a backdrop of an entrenched business model that may serve the dominant industry intermediary (the GDSs) well but has left consumers as a mere afterthought.
Today’s consumers are unique and different, and so are their trips—vacations, business trips, weddings, and more. Consumers want to be treated special, rewarded for loyalty, given options and choice, and know they’re getting the best deal.
The Internet has given us the power to search and comparison shop for the best deal, and the notion of “one-size-fits-all” has been replaced with “Real-time, Transparent and Personalized.” Consumers enjoy and expect these benefits in today’s transparent retail world, and it should be no different when they search for and purchase air travel. Now is the time for the travel distribution industry to join in.
Episode 1: Do You Really Know What Happens When You Shop For An Airline Ticket?