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Are airlines flying high when it comes to real-time personalization?

Published: Friday, 05 June 2015 14:13 by Katharine Hulls, VP Marketing
Contextual Marketing

A recent news story in Marketing Week highlighted that EasyJet has launched an app that is set to personalize airline travel. Developed in partnership with Gatwick airport, the app will provide helpful and timely guidance to EasyJet passengers by combining live location data using Google’s indoor maps as well as booking details and airport information. The combination provides passengers with both essential flight and airport information direct to the mobile phone using real-time personalization.

We all know how stressful getting to an airport can be, so surely having access to information about your pre-flight experience such as check-in, baggage belts, boarding gates etc should relieve some of the anxiety that is associated with rushing to the airport on time?

An app such as this pioneered by EasyJet shows just how the customer experience can be transformed by sharing data used by the airline with the consumer.  Getting consumers on-board to share this data, however, is the tricky bit.

Recent research from Teradata and Celebrus Technologies into the attitudes towards personalization and privacy in the UK, France and Germany highlighted that people do not like sharing their geographical location data – in fact, 82% of consumers would be very unwilling to share this information with brands.  But with brands such as EasyJet showing how the provision of such data can have a positive impact on the end experience, it will be interesting to see whether the benefits outweigh the current skepticism.

Real-time personalization is tried and tested; and it is clear that it works and is generally well-received. However, brands must be aware that it is a delicate balancing act between requesting enough information to personalize communications and being too intrusive.

When it comes to consumer trust, our research revealed that retail banks rank the highest, trusted by 32% of consumers; followed by telecommunications companies (25%). Travel companies come off pretty poorly at just 28%, and at the bottom of the list are retailers – trusted by just 21% of consumers. Although retailers and online retailers are considered to be the most successful at listening to customers and using data (40% cite online retailers as opposed to just 23% of insurers), which is probably influenced by these brands leading the way in the use of online personalization technologies, as well as being trusted not to pass their data onto unwelcome third parties.

I am sure that once upon a time many of us wouldn’t have even considered online banking – sharing our data on the World Wide Web where anyone could access it, get hold of our personal detail and hack our bank accounts – the fear factor would have been way too high. But as we all know, evolution is a powerful thing, and for the majority online banking is easy, it is quick and efficient and we feel safe that our data is encrypted and trust our banks enough to continue to bank online. In short, as humans we need to see what a positive experience sharing banking or geolocation data can provide. Once the value is proven, we will be more willing to take the leap.

Those brands that achieve a personalized experience and respect the customer’s data preferences are the brands that will win and therefore build a trusting customer base.



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