A couple of decades earlier, an airplane was just one of the modes of transport. The scenario has completely changed today. Apart from transferring you from one far off place to another, the airline industry transfers thousands of gigabytes and terabytes of useful data. Big data has touched every part of your life, and the airline industry is not left behind. In fact, it has embraced big data in more ways than one.
The aviation industry is full of data. But most of it is in an unorganized manner. Thanks to big data, of late, airlines are able to utilize the big data techniques in order to strengthen the customer value and relationship and thus increase customer loyalty. Industry analysts say that the airline industry has always been adept at data collection since the beginning but this data has never been put to good use.
Now a days, since the cost of data storage and processing has come down, in spite of tons of data being collected, it is getting easier to process and channelize it properly.
Every airline, large or small has data stored with it. Some pieces of information that the airlines already know about you are:
– Departure time and Arrival time
– Checked in luggage
– In flight food preferences
– The number of people you’re travelling with
– Number of points earned in the Credit card
– Destination place
– Departure time
– Shopping, in the flight and at the airport
– Hotel accommodation
– Car rentals and cab transports
– Activity on social media
Seems astonishing, right? Let us see what the aviation industry does with this amount of big data collection. Here are some of the real time examples:
Airlines are constantly competing with one another to see a smile on their customer’s faces. There is no better way to achieve this than to shower you, the customer, with customized offers. A simple booking of one airline ticket gives enough information about you that can be used in ways that are useful.
The industry is using big data to bring in a change in the customer experience department. For example, recently United Airlines, made a switch from the age old ‘collect and analyze’ method to a smarter ‘collect, detect, act’ approach.
This system analyses around 150 variables in each customer’s profile, right from previous travel details to your purchases and priorities. The details are analyzed in a fraction of a second and custom made offers are presented to you. This approach has shot up United Airlines’ annual revenue by 15%.
After presenting you with personalized offers, the next big way airlines are using big data is for improving their marketing efforts. Airlines have a more or less detailed data of each of their customers. They work on this data and come up with special offers for the customers.
When you have a special offer presented according to your preferences and priorities, the natural tendency is to go for it. When you are in favor of the particular airline, it becomes easier for them to know how the customer thinks and behaves. This in turn assists in the future marketing strategies.
An example to cite here is from a marketing platform – Boxever – in the travel industry. A client of theirs chalked out a marketing plan around some abandoned carts and personalized mails were sent to the customers. They got bookings of $1 million worth per week, just from these email communications.
Southwest Airlines has tied up with a software company called Aspect to generate a unique set of customer contacts and workforce optimisation solutions. They take the help of a tool for speech analytics, which allows the customer service executives to analyze and understand the subtle differences in each pre recorded interactions with the customers.
It is not just limited to phone calls. The representatives at Southwest Airlines can analyze social media data to get to know their customers even better. Various standards of measurement aid the executives in coming up with the best possible solution. No doubt, people are in awe of Southwest Airlines for its impeccable customer service.
During an aerial journey, tons of data are generated every hour. On an average, a 6 hour flight from one country to another collects about 240 terabytes of data from the plane. If this data is inspected and analysed, it goes a long way in improving the safety of the flight.
Southwest Airlines has a partnership with NASA since many years, to be warned of any safety concerns and maintain air safety. NASA along with machine learning algorithms has an automated system which analyses huge volumes of data and finds out inconsistencies leading to any accidents.
Every person travelling in a flight has the nightmare of losing his/her baggage. To counter this, Delta Airlines has introduced a novel application for baggage tracking. The app simply uses baggage check data which runs in the background and the staff members at Delta keep a track of the bags and send the tracker to the customers. The app has been a huge success and close to 11 million customers have downloaded it in their phones.
There are many areas in the airline industry which can be tapped by big data solutions in a much better way. Marketing, crew and flight operations and aerial cargo are some of them. Big data solutions help the airlines to understand their customers individually, their preferences, their behavioral patterns and also predict the requests that might come up.
Today’s flyers are happy with the fact that their airlines know where they are, who their co passengers are and what climatic conditions will they be met with on arrival at their destination. The airline industry has been keeping a tab on this information since long but it needs big data to help them analyse it and make it useful for the customer.