GET ONBOARD – Deliver great traveller experiences

Air merchandising refers to the bundling and unbundling of airline products and services. On the one hand it includes individual ancillary products on top of flight bookings, on the other, it’s the bundling of options to create fare packages suited to a particular type of traveller.

The trend in airline merchandising is increasing. In fact, it’s not a trend anymore, it’s standard. Latest numbers in the IdeaWorks annual air ancillary report estimated $59.2 billion revenue worldwide in 2015. This represents a giant increase of 163% from the $22.6 billion in 2010.

The fact that the industry has adopted value based models is hardly surprising, it represents the different preferences and needs people have when traveling.

Airlines are adapting merchandising strategies to accommodate this varied and personal approach to travel, including indirect distribution of their services via travel agencies.

New airline merchandising approaches have made it possible for travellers to tailor their individual experiences, allowing them to pay for what they value — and not for things they don’t. According to IATA’s Global Passenger Survey 2015, 48% of travellers surveyed had booked additional airline products and services in a twelve-month period.

With this comes a growing need for travel agents to deliver air merchandising options to their customers in an efficient and simple way. If agencies remain slow at adopting air merchandising there will be a knock-on effect on their customers’ travel experiences. Instead of referring travellers directly to airlines to book additional services, travel agents agencies should be differentiating and delivering greater value to their customers. And keeping their focus on being the experts.

At Sabre, we support travellers by supporting the role of the travel expert. We are committed to transparency so that travellers understand all the additional options and associated costs up front.

Technology has also evolved over the past ten years. There is now a need for our industry to work together, on gaining a better understanding of traveler needs and meet these with better tools that improve the overall travel experience.

How will you demonstrate more value and gain greater advantage in the current competitive marketplace?

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