Digital Up: Airlines, Consumer and Workforce in the Industry

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31-Jan-2018 The digital era has taken the world by storm and the aviation industry is not far behind. For AirAsia, the journey began some 17 years ago, when we started the online shopping trend by allowing flyers to book their tickets on the internet! While there are many initiatives in the pipeline, AirAsia is working towards digitising the company and changing the way we communicate to our guests and engagement with our employees.

26% of our flyers are first time flyers ever; and 50% of our guests are aged between 16 and 35 years. With the increase in consumption of digital content by consumers in Tier II & tier III regions where our presence is dominant, the it is the time right for us to reinvent our communication channels to move from offering just an experience to making our guests happy!

A simple example of how we leverage technology in in our day to day operations is the smart usage of self-service check-in kiosks and roving agents. We have the highest percentage of smart check-ins among peers at our hub in Bengaluru! That’s also one of the reasons AirAsia India has been rated no.17 globally amongst low cost carriers for on time performance by OAG Punctuality League 2018!

Innovation is a core part of our business. As part of our initiatives to become a digital company, the AirAsia Group had organised the first ever open innovation hackathon titled ‘Airvolution 2017’. The idea behind this was to create new applications and tools to address a travel-related challenge of profiling AirAsia fans based on their digital social footprint to improve customer experience.

For us, consumer is king! 50% of the travel segment has already moved to mobile. In this age, with customers having more access to information thanks to the internet, brands have to be future ready - the rise in the usage of Artificial Intelligence, chatbot and Virtual Reality, increasing use of Big Data and moment marketing will help brands understand the customer better, and craft personalised communication.

Smart and self-service airports, among others are the need of the hour. In India, we will see this play a huge role in the overall development of the airports. Introduction of self-bag drop facility, increased usage of self-service check-in kiosks, roving agents, apps to minimise human intervention in airports, etc. will all lead to improving customer experience by personalising technology.

Our Allstars* are not far behind in the digitisation process. 81% of our Allstars are aged between 18 and 35 and only 26% of them use laptops/desktops. What’s the best way to engage and involve each of them based across our network spanning 16 destinations in India? Thanks to Workplace, an app by Facebook for work, we’re all able to exchange ideas and interact not only with Allstars based in India, but with over 20,000 AirAsia Allstars based all over the world with this simple app installed on our mobile phones! Soon there will be a day when emails will be a thing of the past; Right from daily OTP updates to important management meetings and Town-hall's are conducted on Workplace or Workchat to make it simple to connect!

In all this, we’re aware that there are other LCCs vying for the same set of customers and the only differentiation that will exist is the “experience one offers”. We’re doing our bit to move beyond simply focusing on the ticket sales and building extensive capabilities to stand out in an already cluttered industry. Simply put, we are becoming a digital world and to exist, we will use digitisation for two way communication with our guests and Allstars to ensure the growth is flying well in the aviation sector.

This article was written on 01-Feb-2018.