New system helps airlines improve personalization

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June 17, 2015 – Airline and airport IT specialist, SITA, has release Horizon, billed as its next-generation passenger system. According to the company, Horizon enables airlines to track passengers’ preferences and determine each customer’s overall value so that they can personalize their service and make relevant offerings. Its new passenger ancillary sales portal allows relevant ancillary services to be offered consistently across any sales channel, whether mobile, online, agency or call center.

Allison O’Neill, VP of passenger services at SITA, said: “Passengers expect a tailored and personalized buying experience similar to their online experience with major retailers. To give passengers what they really want, airlines need to know their preferences and to measure each customer’s value. SITA Horizon’s Customer Profile allows airlines to do this across all touch points used by today’s connected traveler. Passengers can now get tailored and personalized service whether they use an agent, online website or a mobile device.”

Recent research by SITA has found that 82% of airlines are investing in solutions to improve personalization. The first step in personalization is to get to know the customer. The company has developed a ‘customer value algorithm’, which is part of the customer profile and calculates a single figure that indicates a customer’s value and is used to drive airline system processes. It is based on the customer’s loyalty tier, booking history and other attributes such as VIP status. Secondly, passengers’ personal preferences regarding meals, seat selection – even what name they prefer to be called – are stored in the profile and used at service touch points throughout the journey.

Using this information, SITA’s new passenger ancillary sales portal then ensures that passengers are offered appropriate services based on their individual preferences and loyalty program entitlements. For example, passengers can view a priced seat map and purchase their preferred seat, additional bags and other ancillary services such as lounge access and meals using their mobile, tablet or PC. It lets passengers tailor their journey with the services they require, however and whenever they want.

O’Neill added: “For those airlines that have adapted existing passenger systems to modern day requirements, the end result is disparate data sources and middleware solutions. So, we have designed Horizon to address this issue. Our data models support the golden principle of single source and holistic data shared across all systems and users that need it. By applying this principle to how Horizon uses customer data, the 90 airlines that use SITA Horizon Reservations can have a holistic view of their customer and provide appropriate services across the whole journey.”

Passengers can use the ancillary sales portal across the whole journey, and recommendations and offers can be made at various points including before and during booking, and after purchase (either directly or via a third party). It supports mobile and tablet bookings, allowing airlines to serve the increasing numbers of passengers booking this way, which according to the company is rising from 27% now to 37% by 2016.

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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