Technology is changing the world of tourism and it plays a significant role in the airline industry. One of the benefits of technology is that it also gives the chance for the companies to differentiate themselves in the market. With the possibilities that technology offers, the companies can provide customers not only with a product or a service but also with additional value. The use of technology gives an opportunity to the companies to engage with their customers and turn them into ambassadors of their brands. It is driving the engagement, real time collaboration and co-creation (Buhalis, 2014).
The value of the product or a service to the customer is much related to the context based marketing. It engages the physical environment of the user by co-creating his experience based on the optimization of the conditions. When applied together with the SoCoMo marketing, it enables endless opportunities for the technology. SoCoMo marketing is based on social media and personalization, customer’s context and use of mobile devices (Buhalis, 2015).
Mobile devices support the inter-connectivity. People can connect and share information not only among themselves but also with the companies. Mobile services are able to offer real time service and the possibility to engage in conversations in real time (Buhalis, 2014).
A Dutch airline company KLM has a great example on how to use traveler’s context and interact with them by using social media on a mobile device in order to provide personalized experience. KLM has decided to use Facebook Messenger to help its customers to avoid the travel stress. If a customer after booking with KLM will agree to this new feature, then the company will start a chat with him. KLM will send such information as confirmation information, flight status, scheduling changes etc. It will allow the customer to interact with the airline in real-time on a single channel (Looper, 2016).
Another example on how airlines are using technology to provide customers a great experience is airline company Finavia in collaboration with Helsinki airport. It is the first airport to introduce passenger flow management. New sensor systems by Walkbase can track around 60-70% of people who visit the airport and leave their Wi-Fi turned on. It aims to provide smooth airport experience and easy transfers (Airport technology, 2014).
In the case of Fivania and Helsinki airport, the customers may even not notice the company’s effort to provide a great customer experience. The effects of this sensor system are invisible to the customers. In this case it is possible that there is no customer engagement with the company as the smooth experience seems self evident. In order to use technology to engage with the customers, it is important that its role is defined in the business and marketing strategy of the company.
The main concern that relates to the usage of the technology in the marketing, is the customer’s privacy. Companies need to take that into consideration in order not to overstep the boundaries with the customer so it doesn’t drive away the engagement.
Airport technology. (2014). Helsinki airport to track passenger flows with Walkbase technology. Retrieved September 22, 2016 from http://www.airport-technology.com/news/newshelsinki-airport-to-track-passenger-flows-with-walkbase-technology-4331015
Buhalis D. (2014). Professor Dimitrios Buhalis on critical Technology and Marketing developments – eTourism futures. [Video post]. Retrieved September 22, 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mrha2nS76Hc
Buhalis, D., & Foerste, M. (2015). SoCoMo marketing for travel and tourism: Empowering co-creation of value. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 4(3), 151-161.
Looper C. (2016). KLM using Facebook Messenger as social portal for boarding passes, customer service. Retrieved September 22, 2016 from http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/facebook-messenger-klm/