First Published on 19th October, 2018
Ai Editorial: Be it for capturing the essence of travel or having an early say in the booking funnel or strengthening 1st party data, easyJet’s new feature is a welcome move to simplify travel shopping, writes Ai’s Ritesh Gupta
A picturesque beach location, a delicious dish, an enamoring festival…these are examples of what can inspire one to travel. But what is the possibility of booking an entire trip around the very reason for travel – air ticket (or train, bus etc.), accommodation, transfers etc. – in few clicks?
As has been the case till date, the gap between what and where to book to finally completing a transaction for a trip is rather a prolonged one, fragmented over sessions, devices etc.
In this context, easyJet making it possible to book an Instagram inspired trip is a welcome change.
This new feature on the airline’s app allows anyone to instantly book flights after they share photographs they come across on Instagram. The tool merges the digital and real world, capturing the spontaneity of easyJet’s customers through an instantaneous image booking system. The feature, Look&Book, uses advanced image recognition technology to identify the location and leverages Microsoft Azure APIs to match the photo to the easyJet destination. Look&Book helps users find out where an Instagram photo was taken and which flights users need to book to get there. According to easyJet, once a user shares photos or download them on the easyJet app, then users are suggested the nearest airport. The carrier pre-populates the booking form with details.
Doing away with traditional ways of selling
By embracing technology, airlines can benefit in several ways:
1. Capturing the essence of travel: What this move signifies is the willingness of airlines to do away with the “search” functionality – one that typically features filling in information in tabs – from point A to B plus dates. Rather the introduction of easyJet’s feature is a fine example of thinking like a traveller, extending the moment of inspiration and making trip booking seamless from there on.
2. Early in the booking funnel: Destination discovery and associated experiences is one area where airlines haven’t excelled in a big way. But this way, by counting on mobile technology and social media, airlines can play their part in shortening the research phase of leisure travellers. By focusing on pre-booking engagement, airlines also end up targeting travellers early in the booking funnel.
3. Capitalizing on data trail: In case of easyJet, one is using the app of the carrier to share the photo they have liked. This is a vital data point as it does indicate what fascinates the user when it comes to travel. Plus, behavioral data collected from app can be blended further to strengthen the profile of the user. And it can also be used for retargeting or cart abandonment email campaigns.
4. Recommending it right: Since this is 1st party data, airlines can strengthen their own ecosystem to truly understand where and why people are planning to travel. Once you have a user-specific data, you can understand the purchase journey and also what to recommend. Since airlines have been working on a profile of a user, they can better understand travel habits and accordingly recommend something relevant, contextual. When it comes to recommending, a way to build affiliation is by focusing on personalizing destination discovery. Destination and even what a user intends to do there is what easyJet’s new feature is possibly indicating. When it comes to recommending, a way to build affiliation is by focusing on personalizing destination discovery. Here machine learning contributes by letting airlines to match locations with the lifestyle preferences of their customers. The key here is to deliver a nuanced recommendation, to “humanise” the available data.
Are travel e-commerce thinking like travellers? How are they making the most of technology, data and content to simplify travel shopping? Hear from experts at the upcoming Mega Event Worldwide (Ancillary, Loyalty & Co-Brand Conferences) to be held in Long Beach, California (31st October – 2nd November, 2018).
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