Just 52% of Airlines Have Digital Optimization Plans in Place Right Now

airline digital optimization report

Just over half (52%) of airlines have digital optimization plans in place. And 45% of airlines say they don’t have a budget for digital optimization and experimentation.

These were the findings of a new report by Glassbox, a leading analytics platform which analyses digital customer interaction. The ‘2020 Airline Digital Optimization Yearbook’ report examined insights from 49 airlines around the world. The research was carried out in collaboration with the consultancy firm Diggintravel.

Low Cost Airlines More Digitally Savvy

It unveiled that when it comes to digital savviness and maturity, the budget airlines are ruling the roost. 71% of airlines classified as considered leaders in digital maturity are low-cost carriers. This compares to 80% of airlines being least prepared to have digital strategies in place being traditional, full-service carriers.

Being fully entrenched in the digital era, companies of all industries and sizes need to be adopted to the digital age to keep up with consumer demand.

Airlines are integrating digital processes, such as online check-in and real-time flight information. However, as Glassbox’s report shows, certain airlines, particularly the more traditional, full-service carriers, are failing to have sufficient digital optimization plans in place.

Like with most businesses, failing to invest in digitalization and innovation and the opportunities it provides, could see airlines be left behind.

Embracing Experimentation Helps Companies Grow Faster

The 2020 Airline Digital Optimization Yearbook report looked at how businesses that embrace experimentation grow faster. The report cites Dan Siroker, Founder of Optimizely, who commented:

“If you look at the Fortune 1000 companies five years ago, the CEOs of companies that embody a culture of experimentation, these CEOs focus on the number of experiments they run every single year, every single month, every single day. And these are the companies that have grown, actually over the last five years, over 700%. So, I think these are the CEOS where they see experimentation as core to the way their organization runs and their culture.”

Digital Optimization as a Process

Relating this sentiment to airlines, the research found that the best airline airlines know that digital optimization is a process. The process is centered on building a data-driven culture and supporting experimentation.

The report looks specifically at Diggintravel Airline Digital Optimization Maturity Model. The model is designed to help airlines evaluate the level of their digital optimization process in different key areas. The key areas include people, CRO skills, user and UX research, digital analytics, testing quantity, CRO tools, internet booking engine and organization support and process.

Digital Maturity is Vital

The survey found that some airlines understand the value of experimentation and digital optimization and others don’t. Those who are adopting the new experimentation and data-driven movement are more likely to be low-cost airlines. Those who still have a traditional approach to ecommerce and marketing seem to be full-service carriers.

The findings of the research indicate which airlines are likely to prevail in the post-COVID-19 world, where digitized processes are more important than ever. It gives a clear message to all businesses, not just airlines – digital maturity is vital for business growth and success.


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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".