October 2018, Las Vegas
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Air Canada talks distribution of the future in a free Friday video
Airlines have never found it easy to make a quick buck but Air Canada recognises that the only way up is to connect with the customer at every touch point
Keith Wallis, the director direct of global product distribution at Air Canada spoke earlier this year at EyeforTravel San Francisco. After a brief dip into aviation history including the airline’s own disastrous year of 2010 when it posted billion dollar losses, Wallis outlines how Air Canada embarked on its stated ‘transformation into global champion’.
Thanks to growing frustration and an industry wide push to take back control of inventory that led to the development of NDC, airline distribution is no longer what it used to be.
Wallis, who chairs the IATA passenger distribution management group, explains that, in a nutshell, “NDC is about creating product real-time for customers as they are asking for it”.
NDC is about creating product real-time for customers as they are asking for it
And with NDC’s new XML standard, airlines can now enhance how they communicate with the outside world. Wallis stresses the need for airlines to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and then define a roadmap. At Air Canada an important area has been to focus on how to drive loyalty in a way that it is not simply driven by a typical points-based system.
Another focus, and one of the most debated decisions at Air Canada and one which required more investment to develop, was how to hit every customer touch point. According to Wallis, one the problems is that airlines have tended to focus to heavily on developing their own websites. But that is not going to be enough, he says, “if we are going to be the retailers we want to be”.
Want to hear more? Here is the promised video of Wallis’s presentation.
If you would like access to the slides too, here is the link.
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