Why do airlines use kiosks

Airlines are increasingly relying on direct ticket sales

BRUSSELS - The world's largest airlines will in future increasingly rely on direct sales of both flight tickets and additional services. Mobile offers should also become an important sales channel. This is forecast by the twelfth "Airline IT Trends Survey" by the IT service provider SITA and the magazine "Airline Business", in which 129 airlines took part. According to the study, 40.8 percent of all flight tickets are already sold directly to travelers.

25.8 percent of these are sold on the Internet, 10.7 percent of the tickets are sold through call centers and 4.3 percent through interlining, in which several airlines cooperate with one another. By 2013, the airlines want to increase their direct ticket sales to 55.1 percent, of which sales via the websites alone should account for 37.9 percent. For call centers and interlining, on the other hand, constant sales shares are expected.

Mobile phones as a new sales channel

In addition, according to SITA, the business of airline tickets via mobile phones is becoming increasingly important: around 18 percent of the airlines surveyed are already selling tickets via mobile devices. By 2013, 70 percent of them want to offer such an option. 85 percent of the largest airlines plan to do so.

Mobile phones are also being used in ever more diverse ways during travel: 86 percent of airlines want to send flight notifications on mobile phones by 2013, 80 percent want to offer mobile online check-in and 76 percent want to introduce mobile electronic boarding passes on cell phones. In addition, 68 percent of those surveyed plan to also transmit travel offers to their passengers' mobile phones.

Trend towards self-service

The results of the SITA survey also reflect the general trend towards self-service. This also applies to different check-in options: by 2013, the airlines surveyed want to reduce the proportion of passengers who check in at the airport via an agent from the current 50.7 to 28.9 percent. With regard to kiosk check-in, it is expected that around 20 percent of passengers will continue to use this option.

Around 35.5 percent of airlines want to offer check-in options via the Internet by 2013, compared to the current 21.6 percent. The respondents also forecast that by 2013 around 70 percent of airlines will allow mobile check-in. This is currently possible for 28 percent of the airlines participating in the study.

The number of passengers checking in via kiosk remains stable. Nevertheless, the study confirms the important role that kiosks play in a multichannel environment: 47 percent of airlines want to introduce additional kiosks. An important reason for this are new functionalities in the area of ​​flight transfers and incident management. The study also showed that 80 percent of the largest airlines also want to use kiosks as sales outlets.

Airlines are planning booking portals for travel agencies

Another result of the survey: More and more airlines want to introduce booking portals for travel agencies. 41 percent of airlines already have such portals, and another 43 percent want to implement them by 2013. Booking portals for business customers are already available at 44 percent, another 38 percent of the airlines surveyed are planning to do so.

In contrast, only 21 percent of the survey participants integrated social networking functions on their websites. A total of 45 percent currently have no plans to introduce such functions in the future.

Additional services are increasingly chargeable   

In addition, airlines are becoming more and more experienced in upselling, for example through the introduction of airfare classes and different marketing channels. They also unbundle prices and, for example, introduce separate fees for services such as meals or checking in luggage, or they broker hotels, rental cars and insurance.

The majority of these additional sales are generated directly online: 63 percent in the area of ​​additional sales, 41 percent in unbundling and 51 percent in the sale of non-air services. By 2013, 91 percent of the airlines surveyed want to implement at least one of these additional offers via their own web channels.

The "Airline IT Trends Survey" is an independent survey of IT employees at the management level of the world's leading 200 airlines. Of the 129 airlines that took part this year, 14 percent belong to the low-cost sector, 81 percent are "full service airlines" and 5 percent are charter airlines. In total, they carry over a billion passengers a year.

© aero.de, SITA | Fig .: Deutsche Lufthansa AG | 08/11/2010 16:36