Ai Editorial: Travel tech specialists sharpen delivery to cope up with Covid19 crisis

8th April, 2020

 Airlines are struggling on several counts as they try to come to grips with the crisis. One indispensable need is to deal with every passenger’s request and travel technology specialists are helping them to cope up with the same in this shaky phase, writes Ai’s Ritesh Gupta


Travel technology specialists have had to accelerate the dispensing of their offerings/ services as the industry collectively attempts to minimize the impact of disruption as well as cancellation of flights owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airlines have been looking at ways to soothe and pacify various concerns of travelers, be it for a healthy flying experience, their safety, loyalty accounts, cancellations/ change fee etc. over the past month and a half. Network and operations teams are still struggling to repatriate passengers, answer their queries etc.

During this global crisis, which changes day by day, it is imperative for airlines to stay in touch with passengers/ travelers in real-time.

Acknowledging the same, Travelport has worked on a guide for airlines with the objective of helping airlines to capitalize on the prowess of mobile as communication channel. At a time when there is hardly time for development or budget for investment, Travelport focused on how airlines can identify opportunities that would require little or no development. Instead they focus on owned media, free/low cost third-party tools, and functionality built into mobile operating systems.

For instance, referring to the functionality built into the iOS and Android operating systems, it mentioned the same offers travel brands a distinctive avenue to pass on information about COVID-19 to their travelers using Wallet passes. Once added, these passes can be updated in real-time with new information and pushed to the traveler's device instantly. Also, how the use of push notifications can help travelers and at the same time cut down the dependency on agents, call centers etc. by enabling a passenger to use a self-service option on their chosen device. Plus, how to make use of videos or in-app messages at this juncture.

Travelport also has worked on a airline policy tracker, offering an ongoing update of each new policy (related to cancellations, change fees and refunds). Plus, via an online link, the company is posting reports on global travel trends, with analysis of industry data etc.

Amadeus has shared that the team has been serving a huge flow of re-accommodation requests. It processed around 2.5 million re-accommodation transactions per day, up from a typical volume of just 150,000 per day, over the past few weeks. This essentially means revising prior fare rules and enabling travel agents or passengers to change tickets themselves in line with the airline’s new conditions, removing the need for manual airline involvement and lessening the call centre workload.

“Despite the uncertainty for the future, we are seeing re-accommodation trends go down again, as most passengers have been re-allocated, been given the option to cancel their flight or offered vouchers for future travel,” shared Julia Sattel, President, Airlines, Amadeus, via a blog post.

Amadeus is also contributing in following ways:

  • Facilitating constant contact for airlines with travelers and travel agencies, including chatbot-driven FAQs and communication channels.
  • Working on ad-hoc revenue management intelligence about cancelations and no-shows, automating the same so that carriers can access them, and sharing suggestions on how to best set-up a reporting system in crisis mode.
  • Evaluate search traffic, including which origin and destinations are being searched for through specific channels.
  • Comprehend probable demand fluctuations for a given city/ destination.

At a time when cash reserves are running down quickly and the entire industry is struggling,  travel technology specialists would indeed play a critical role in serving all the stakeholders in the best possible manner.