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Innovation is the key ingredient for airlines seeking a successful retailing transformation

At Accelya, we’re excited about the future of airline retailing and we’re making sure we get our customers there faster. Our ‘Incubation Zone’ serves up the perfect recipe for a profitable and successful retailing journey for airlines, writes Adrian Nash, Chief Product Officer, Accelya.

Airlines have all the ingredients for success: good products that need to stand out, and an ambition to create a great passenger experience across the entire journey. And Accelya has found the formula to unlock this: pushing the boundaries of technology. We’re speeding up product innovations, enabling airlines to bring their services to customers quickly and fast-track their retailing journey. 

At the heart of our commitment to that is our new Incubation Zone, where our teams are focused on addressing airline needs! This is where we generate ideas with our customers, send them to our incubation teams, who bring solutions quickly to life with our agile, cloud-native delivery framework. Our Incubation Zone is currently focused on three key areas we believe are critical to delivering important new avenues of value for the industry: Omnichannel Direct; Order Management System; and an Intelligence Layer. 

Unlocking innovation with Zone Management

To do this, we’ve put into practice some of the critical elements of innovation articulated in Geoffrey Moore’s book, “Zone to Win.” Moore’s innovation zone is where companies work on big, game-changing ideas. By using Innovation Charters that set clear goals and outcomes, this helps us test ideas fast, learn from them, and make improvements based on the results. 

Pushing the boundaries

Taking from Moore’s principles, we have prioritized the following in our Incubation Zone:

1. Omnichannel Direct: The best channel to sell to a customer is whichever one that customer prefers to use. For too long, technological restraints have been limiting choices for airline customers who have grown used to a variety of channels from other retailers. They have high expectations and there’s no longer any excuse not to meet the traveller at their preferred location. That’s why Omnichannel retailing is at the core of Accelya’s vision and innovation. 

NDC has been the game-changing development, finally offering airlines the means to market their full range of products and services through the indirect channel, opening new opportunities to capture increased value. Accelya has been a pioneer in NDC, embracing the potential it offered the industry and working with early adopters to establish the standard. (According to T2RL, Accelya is the market leader for NDC transactions based on passenger numbers in 2022)1. And the adoption rates from over 30% up to over 70% we see in some of our customers have exceeded expectations, as the best innovations should! 

While we’re proud of our progress in NDC, we are not complacent. Our chefs are in the kitchen everyday seeking brilliant new recipes to present a growing menu of services to our customers. Our determination to help airlines unlock the shopping experience in their direct channels is unwavering, and we have exciting solutions on the horizon 

Omnichannel Direct will also help us empower our airline customers to use our modular solutions on their websites and mobile apps with our shopping/booking/servicing engines. 

2. Order Management System: NDC unlocked a new era for airline retailing, but is just the start.  ONE Order is pivotal to ensuring airlines can deliver superb end-to-end customer experiences. The Order Management system is at the heart of the retailing transformation, providing a unified view of the entire customer journey, moving from a world of PNRs to a flexible and powerful order process. ONE Order not only helps to assure passenger satisfaction throughout the lifetime of their trip but also brings efficiency and order to the airline’s back-office process. 

We’re all in with ONE Order. The transformation it brings will ultimately give airlines a degree of control over offers and orders that they can only dream of in the legacy environment. On top of that it provides them a full view of the travel experience across the customer lifecycle. We’re working hand in hand with airlines to help them take decisive and logical steps that build the foundations of business transformation. 

3. Intelligence Layer: Finally, after a decade of evolution, technology for empowering personalized experiences is delivering at scale. An AI strategy is essential to making sense of the vast datasets with airlines and travel companies and harnessing it for tailored passenger services. Accelya is creating an Intelligence layer to support our platform’s modular solutions, ensuring airlines can automate and govern models to provide the right offer, on the right channel, every time.

The future has already arrived

The proof of the pudding, it is said, is in the eating. And Accelya already demonstrates every day that it is cooking up success for its airline customers.  

  • Our industry-leading merchandising engine elevates the direct and indirect channels, providing an exceptional customized omnichannel experience. Technology today makes this possible, as reflected in our insights on seat retailing and seat pricing. 
  • We’re also enhancing airline finance processes. The shift towards offers and orders transformation should seamlessly integrate financial management transformation and our ground-breaking order accounting solution is all set to launch with a pioneering customer.  

Leading the charge with innovative and modular solutions

The incubation unit will help us accelerate our innovations in airline retailing, expanding our cloud based, modular solutions at pace. We know “modular” solutions well, as today we connect into the airline’s ecosystem with our NDCenabled solutions. These new solutions will help airlines transform and power omnichannel, personalized and cross journey engagements like never before, from operationally focused processes of today to continuous customer engagement of tomorrow. With the backing of Vista Equity Partners, an investor that understands the power of software innovation we’re stepping up investments in omnichannel retailing and AI and leading the ONE Order transformation. 

Get ready for exciting products as we work closely with our valued customers; stay tuned for the big reveals coming soon from our Incubation Zone! 

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