Sabre study data displayed at 2016 IATA World Passenger Symposium

Sabre study data displayed at 2016 IATA World Passenger Symposium | Courtesy of Shutterstock
Analysts and others recently learned more about the future of air travel at the 2016 IATA World Passenger Symposium. 

The sixth annual event was held Oct. 18-20 in Dubai at the JW Marriott Marquis, and involved three days of discussions on everything to do with commercial airline service and air travel. Sponsored by Amadeus and Emirates Airline, as well as a number of other companies, the 2016 IATA World Passenger Symposium was a chance for industry insiders to look critically at what's happening in a very important field.

A video on last month’s conference shows company representatives like Jonathan Keane of Accenture and others talking about what Keane estimated is a $60 billion part of the airline industry.

“We are here to discuss critical topics about innovating better together, looking at industry disruptors, digital transformation and how we collaboratively improve disruption management for passengers and their baggage around the world,” Rob Sinclair Barnes, strategic managing director at Amadeus, said in a video statement.

Another company sharing at the IATA World Passenger Symposium was Sabre, a firm with a lot of experience analyzing airline technology and more.

A Nov. 1 press release shows Sabre promoting a study unveiled at this year's convention about the personalization of airline travel.

Essentially, what this study found is that many flyers are willing to pay a little bit more for a customized experience.

Researchers asked travelers about ancillaries such as flight upgrades, food and beverage, extra seating room and in-flight wi-fi, along with additional baggage services.

What they found was a gap between the current spend of airline passengers, and what they report they are willing to spend in order to improve their experience in the air.

“Our results for the Middle East show that travellers are prepared to spend 50 percent more on extra travel products -- such as priority check-in, fast-track security and cabin class upgrades -- than they currently do, if that spend improves their travel experience,” Shelly Terry, vice president of product marketing, Sabre told Gulf News Journal. “It’s clear that, to travelers in the Middle East, being able to buy a more ‘personalized’ travel journey is important; people want to have access to new products and services from their airlines that will make their trips more enjoyable.”

Terry said Sabre did the research to show how passengers are motivated in different regions of the world, to promote better capability on the part of airlines to innovate in the right directions.

“As personalization and choice become increasingly important in travel, it is important for airlines to understand the wants and needs of their individual travelers,” Terry said. “We wanted to see how this differs between regions, in order to help airlines understand how they can tailor their services to suit the demands and expectations of their consumers.”

Terry sees more of this kind of “consumerization” of flight service in the future.

“As airlines evolve into retailers, travelers are likely to see more choice in terms of the products and services they can purchase from their airlines,” Terry said.
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