The Consumer Revolution takes to the Skies

Simon de Montfort Walker, CTO, gategroup and President & Managing Director, eGate Solutions

As a team member of one of the world’s leading technology and software firms for the airline industry, I am frequently asked for my opinion on the most significant developments in the travel industry. And there have been many over the last five years. However, none can claim to offer as many benefits to airlines and passengers as the latest trend towards personalisation.

Defined as ‘the act of making changes to meet individual needs,’ personalisation is fast becoming a fashionable buzzword in the travel sector. Driven by changing consumer expectations – the ‘want it all, want it now’ culture – as well as the promise of waste reduction – airlines are looking to personalisation as a means of providing a stress-free and tailored travel experience, particularly when it comes to catering.

It might not sound like a particularly revolutionary concept and a number of airline operators have previously trialled pre-order and pre-select options on-board. However, the technology was not available to offer true automation. For an airline to effectively react to real-time passenger needs, a solution is needed that connects the customer conversation with the catering system managing the order and flight loadings, the onboard sales device that manages the orders, on-board inventory and service delivery. All of these points of communication must be tightly integrated and synchronised to deliver the experience the passenger expects.

However, in the past, companies have been restricted by pre-existing reservation systems that did not offer built-in ancillary functionality. This meant that to implement a fully automated pre-order and pre-select solution, huge investment would be required to integrate it with the existing system.  Fortunately, with airlines constantly under pressure to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and deliver a top-notch service, web-based products that can easily overlay onto an airline’s existing infrastructure are now available.

As a result air operators will be able to provide passengers with that all-important personal touch. Today’s travellers don’t just want what they want. They want what they want – plus a host of other options and they want airlines to know without asking. As the lines between in-flight services and passenger experience blur, improved food and beverage sourcing, marketing, selection, loading, stowage and supply will increasingly influence the choices travellers make.

At gategroup, ‘personalisation’ is a huge part of our business. We offer airlines the ability to provide passengers with modern applications to customise their journey while also providing the technology needed to deliver those services effectively. This translates into the passenger receiving the meal they want, the drink they chose and the amenities necessary to enhance their overall travel experience.

Simon de Montfort Walker will present a session entitled ‘Setting the scene - opportunities and challenges to fulfilling pre-orders and special service concepts onboard’ on 4 April 2016 from 15.35 at the Passenger Experience Conference in Hamburg.

Register now

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