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Retailing Transformation. Where Are You? Jim Davidson

In the darker days of September 2020, I wrote an article called “Ping me, we’re listening” as Accelya’s new Chief Product Officer. I invited folks to reach out to me with their hopes and ideas for getting to a much-needed steady state. I really wanted to connect with airline leaders and make sure their voices were heard as we delivered on their needs during the worst months of the pandemic.

In 2021, we published the “Path Back to Profitability” report in the Air Transformation Lab. We looked at how airlines were planning to meet the needs of the changed customer and, quite frankly, a very rocky operating environment. Plus, I talked to some inspiring airline and industry leaders in my podcast series Airline Voice Radio. We quickly saw a renewed focus on initiatives like NDC, dynamic offers and personalization, digital experiences, and making better use of data. In a nutshell, we found that airlines were focusing on being more flexible and customer-centric by investing in retailing.

With airline business recovery underway, the sense of urgency hasn’t gone away. That’s really not surprising as retailing delivers customer satisfaction, more revenue, and efficiency. It paves the way to a brighter future.

Retailing requires airlines to break free from legacy technology and old ways of working that have been holding them back. That’s where new generation retailing technology comes to play. Just as the customer experience extends from inspiration, booking, traveling, to servicing, and payment, this technology needs to support the end-to-end customer experience and transaction lifecycle, from offer to settlement.

At Accelya, we enable high-performance retailing for airlines. We work with folks in sales and distribution, revenue management and pricing, ancillaries, and eCommerce on the commercial side of the business. We also work with those in financial operations who make sure money is accurately reconciled, accounted for, and settled. All these customers share one thing. They aren’t looking to rip out legacy overnight. Each is starting its transformation journey from different points, such as distribution freedom and retailing independence, to customer-centric orders and streamlined settlement. Where they begin depends on their strategy and existing systems.

Now I am Accelya’s new Chief Executive Officer. I am incredibly humbled and excited to take the helm of this company looking to change up the retailing opportunity for airlines and the wider industry. So, it feels right to open the next chapter of the Air Transformation Lab. I am calling this chapter “Where Are You?”. Because an airline’s journey can have many starting points. The route can take various turns along the way, but the destination is the same. It’s end-to-end retailing transformation. Let’s begin our exploration with a deep dive into ONE Order and order management and the role this initiative plays.

I hope you’ll be inspired to think about your own airline strategy. Where you are and where you want to be. If you have been inspired, hit up me or a member of the team. We’ve never stopped listening.

Thank you for your interest in the Air Transformation Lab. This new chapter on retailing transformation includes podcasts, thought-leadership blogs, and customer testimonials that will inspire your journey ahead.

Retailing Transformation

Check out other Air Transformation Lab insights


In this first episode in a new season called “Reaching New Heights”, Accelya CEO Jim Davidson talks to Neil Geurin, Managing Director of Digital Customer Experience and Distribution at American Airlines. The US carrier is seeing encouraging numbers on its flights and has started thinking holistically about customers rather than if the trip is for business or leisure.



Do you need to get up to speed with ONE Order or do you want a refresher? Curious about how it will affect the future of the airline business? Then, check out our long-form blog for an introduction to ONE Order and order management.



Earlier this year, we announced that Accelya is powering Hawaiian Airlines’ market-first distribution strategy. We sat down with George Bryan, Hawaiian Airline’s Senior Director of Distribution, to learn more about the US carrier’s ongoing transformation journey.



In this new podcast, Jim Davidson talks to Amit Khandelwal, who heads up Inventory Management, Distribution, and Revenue Steering at Emirates. Together they explore continuous pricing, controlling the offer, industry-wide collaborations, and putting the customer at the heart of strategy.