It may be a while before passenger demand reaches pre-COVID levels or settles at the new normal, but airlines have already started planning for the recovery stage. A key objective for airlines today is to maintain optimum cash flow and devise plans to boost their sales as soon as routes and flights re-open. Airlines all around the world are starting to gear-up for recovery in the coming months and re-focus on their commercial strategy.
Many of our customers have asked us to help them identify their key markets and agents, and to find ways to motivate their travel partners, through incentives.
In order to meet your objectives, you must start with asking yourself the following questions:
- On which routes have ticket sales already commenced and which travel partners are at the forefront, driving sales?
- For which flight periods have passengers started issuing tickets?
- Am I working with travel partners that are driving sales once domestic/international travel re-opens? If yes, how do I leverage my relationship with these partners?
- How can I provide incentives to my travel partners, with minimal effort and cost?
A lot of this information is already available in your sales channels and data.
Do you know the true potential of your commercial tools?
In this article, we will share 3 ways to leverage the power of your sales tools to secure cash and prepare for recovery. The good news is, these tools might already exist at your airline. You may or may not be aware of their true potential. Let’s look at what this means for you:
1. Identify markets for rebound opportunities
Sales intelligence on present and upcoming flight periods can help you identify rebound opportunities. When tracked on a regular basis, industry statistics can ensure that you understand market demand and trends, and adapt quickly. Which routes are showing signs of recovery and are at the forefront? Which segment of travel (Leisure or Business) is picking up? At what average fares is the demand highest?
All of this information is available within your sales tools and is key to your strategy for re-opening routes and network. Accelya’s eSmash is one such tool for driving your recovery plans. It is widely and successfully used by over 120 airlines, for sales intelligence and to drive information-based sales and marketing actions.
2. Know your agents and their potential
The next step is to identify the travel partners that will be the key participants in your journey to recovery.
Who are the most active travel agencies during this time of crisis? On which routes have they already commenced with sales? Am I engaging enough with the key travel partners in my markets and how effective are they for my airline?
All this is valuable information for you to design an optimum sales engagement plan for your indirect channel. With a proven tool such as eSmash, you can discover at your fingertip the travel partners that can help you with your recovery plans by stimulating your sales. This further provides guidance for optimizing your travel agency incentive plans.
That brings us to the final point in our article. How can you use incentives to stimulate demand in the most effective and efficient manner?
3. Incentivize right to stimulate demand
So, you have Identified which travel partners can support you in your recovery strategy. You also know that travel agencies are equally impacted by this crisis and are in need of quick cash. So, the big question is how do you encourage and motivate your travel partners to adapt to the present situation, as well as help with your recovery plan? Again, the answer lies in your commercial tools.
There is a good chance that your airline uses IATA’s Global Net Remit 5 (GNR5) front-end incentive management service. It is a very popular solution to stimulate your travel partners’ sales actions, using specific ticketing criteria aligned to your sales objectives. The entire lifecycle of providing incentives to agencies - from filing deal conditions and calculating incentives to payment and reporting – is managed by Accelya, with no effort from your staff or travel partners, therefore making it very easy to adopt and use. With this approach, over 70 airlines have been able to keep their travel partners motivated and engaged, to grow sales.
To conserve cash due to excessive refunds owing to flight cancellations, you can additionally use GNR5 to stimulate travel partners to exchange already issued tickets with vouchers or new tickets. This helps stem cash outflow which is hitting airlines hard during this time of crisis.
Use your tools innovatively
The present situation requires us to step up and dig deeper into our resources. We may have the solution within easy reach, however they need to be adopted in the right manner at the right time. It’s time we leverage them better and to their fullest potential. Together, we can achieve this by learning, managing, tweaking and leveraging our commercial tools innovatively, as our needs evolve.