The Passenger Experience Conference - how to create a "wow" factor for passengers

08 Apr 2014

The opening day of the Passenger Experience Conference, jointly run by World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo and Aircraft Interiors Expo 2014, identified a range of new opportunities and insights in making the onboard experience more memorable for passengers during a well-attended dedicated breakout session on hospitality and service featuring presentations from industry-leading experts. Daniel Baron, Managing Director of LIFT Strategic Design, provided some exclusive insight on how airlines can create emotional connections with travel-savvy passengers that reinforce the power and appeal of their brands' exposure at every opportunity during the flight experience. "There is no doubt that a key weapon for airlines to make the onboard experience more memorable is the power of their brand and how consistently it is applied, " said Daniel Baron. "To create that "wow" factor for passengers, it is essential to set clear corporate goals that include constant innovation and an obsession with consistency in the brand's application at every touch point opportunity with passengers during the flight. As an example, it's no use investing in high-quality flat beds if a customer is not able to sleep because of ambient noise which could be prevented - this dilutes the passenger experience."

Daniel Baron, Managing Director of LIFT Strategic Design, addressing delegates A key consideration for airlines is how to manage the comfort of passengers at all touch points using innovative ideas from non-airline sectors which could include bedding with a choice of pillows, as provided by hotels, some of which have also revamped the traditional minibar feature. Instead of a pre-stocked fridge, guests can order a variety of snacks and drinks in advance at competitive prices which are delivered to the room prior to arrival. This potential initiative could be introduced by airlines on specific niche routes or for different seat-class promotions.

Although IFE is normally associated with in-flight entertainment, airlines can adopt "out of the box" thinking in getting passengers out of their seats for new experiences. In 2012, in celebration of Air New Zealand's sponsorship of the NZ Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) Championship, the airline staged a putting challenge on selected flights to provide its passengers with a fun and social game of golf down the aisles. There were a variety of golfing prizes and the final champion secured an exclusive VIP trip for the final day of the PGA Championship.

Central to making the onboard experience more memorable is collaboration, a theme which was discussed in the morning's plenary session entitled "Breakthrough: the impact of transformative collaboration between brands." Devin Liddell, Principal Brand Strategist at Teague, suggested that airlines should collaborate to provide a unique and different service offering. "Partnerships are our most powerful currency; our capacity to partner has a big role in how we are perceived by customers," said Devin Liddell. "By attracting leading industry professionals as speakers, there is no doubt that this breakout session on hospitality and service delivered a range of insightful presentations to delegates," said Exhibition Manager, Archana Sharma. "The Passenger Experience Conference is now clearly acknowledged as the key forum for industry to stay right up to date with the latest trends and to hear presentations that challenge the status quo and help foster innovative approaches to key areas such as onboard service."

For further information on the Passenger Experience Conference or to purchase conference papers once the exhibition closes, please visit www.pexconference.com

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