Plusgrade, an ancillary revenue and merchandising platform used by travel organisations to generate revenue from otherwise unsold inventory, has launched the Dynamic Seat Blocker. The platform is designed to provide revenue recovery tools to help the airline industry rebound by adding a blocked seat option for additional comfort and space.
According to a July 2020 IATA Study, travellers are looking for ways to feel more comfortable about flying again post-Covid. 65% of respondents indicated they are most concerned about sitting next to someone that is infected. Airlines are seeking to ensure passenger confidence, while ancillary revenue managers are tasked to increase revenue amid reduced demand.
The Dynamic Seat Blocker seeks to help this situation by provides airlines with a system that meets both traveller and revenue needs, while building on existing sanitisation measures. It offers passengers the ability to purchase an empty seat or row next to them at a fixed price set by the airline, guaranteeing that no one sits next to them – a choice over 31% of travellers said they would purchase on a two-hour flight, according to a study conducted in June 2020 by Plusgrade. By doing so, revenue managers can maximise revenue opportunities across the entire flight and build more complete and robust long-term ancillary revenue programmes that get passengers back on board.
Eligible travellers select their desired blocked seat(s) directly from the seat map, and the automated seat-blocking and business rule configuration adapts seat allocation based on load factor and available inventory.
The platform is integrated directly with the airline’s PSS, so that transactions are seamlessly fulfilled in the reservation system. If the airline is an existing Plusgrade customer, payment and fulfillment are already set up.
“The industry is facing unforeseen challenges that we feel are ripe for solving,” said Ken Harris, CEO and founder of Plusgrade. “Dynamic Seat Blocker puts travellers in control of their experience, gives revenue management teams the tools they need to help their airline recover quickly, and allows airlines to have sustainable solutions well into the future. This is all possible due to recent advancements in predictive data that helped make Dynamic Seat Blocker a reality.”
Dynamic Seat Blocker is the newest version of Plusgrade’s existing solution, Neighbor-Free Seat, which has been on the market since 2017. Seven carriers are expected to go live with the new product in the next 30 days, including Royal Jordanian Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Philippine Airlines, and Etihad Airways.
Etihad Airways’ ancillary revenue strategy manager, Abigael Wanjiru stated, “We expect this to be one of our greatest ancillary revenue generators moving forward.”