Lufthansa and United first two carriers using platform to enhance customer experience
FRANKFURT and NEW YORK CITY; Feb. 8, 2018 – Star Alliance has launched a digital services platform (DSP) as a first step to an overall enhancement of digital and mobile services offered to travelers in the 28-airline member Star Alliance network. The platform was developed and implemented in conjunction with global professional services company Accenture (NYSE: ACN) as part of the Alliance’s strategy to further improve the customer journey.
The DSP can gather data provided by an individual member airline or third-party source and make it available to all members, enabling them to build it into their own customer-facing digital applications. The longer-term aim is to allow customers to use any member airline’s website or mobile application to obtain all the information they need for travel on several Star Alliance member airlines.
“Most frequent travelers have a ‘home airline’ in our network and would prefer to control their entire travel experience through a single app or website,” said Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh. “We are therefore working to create central capabilities that can be shared for use by our individual members.”
Once a service offer is available from the DSP, member airlines can decide individually if and when they make it available to customers. For instance, a seat selection feature launched on Feb. 2 now allows a United Airlines customer to select a seat on Singapore Airlines flights booked via united.com or the United App. As a result, the customer traveling on fare types that include complimentary advance seat selection can choose a specific seat at the time of reservation for the entire journey on United Airlines and Singapore Airlines, rather than only at time of check-in. This feature will be made available across the Alliance progressively.
Lufthansa is also using the DSP technology to provide baggage tracking information for its customers on journeys that include flights on other Star Alliance airlines. The data is provided by the Star Alliance Baggage Message Hub, which went into operation at the end of 2016. It collects all relevant baggage information from a wide-range of sources and makes it available to all member carriers included in a passenger’s itinerary.
In addition to helping develop and implement DSP, Accenture is helping Star Alliance with ongoing work to identify customer pain points and expectations. As part of DSP development, Accenture incorporated design thinking methodology that draws upon logic, imagination, intuition and systemic reasoning to explore possibilities of what could be and create desired outcomes benefitting the end user. Accenture leveraged its Liquid Studio - which is part of a global network of studios that focus on rapid application development approaches and applying disruptive technologies – at its Future Camp in Kronberg, Germany.
Critical to the development of DSP services is to ideate, prototype and develop DSP features from a customer perspective. The aim is to identify these more frequent issues or areas for improvement that may arise when customers are traveling on one or more airline, as well as in the event of service disruptions.
“A seamless travel experience for airline customers depends on an airline’s ability to participate in a broader travel ecosystem spanning the whole spectrum of the aviation, travel and tourism industry,” said Robert Zippel, who leads technology consulting within Accenture’s Travel industry practice. “Airlines need to embrace collaboration with their alliance member carriers and associated ecosystems to orchestrate a greater understanding of a traveler’s fast-changing requirements. By offering real-time data exchange and standardized applications to improve a customer’s travel experience for multiple carrier journeys and beyond, the Star Alliance DSP is a great example of a system that enables this kind of collaboration.”
The DSP is an integral part of a wider Star Alliance strategy to place the customer at the center of its activities, especially since today’s travelers are ‘always connected,’ thanks to their mobile devices. Hence, they expect services and information updates at their fingertips and to be able to take control of their own journey.
In the airport environment, this means the Star Alliance is increasingly offering self-service technologies wherever possible, for example at passenger and baggage check-in as well as for boarding at the gate.
In loyalty, improvements have already been implemented using IT hub technologies. This includes, for example, a speedier crediting of mileage after a fight, as well as enabling customers to claim all missing mileage from Star Alliance airline flights online, via the customer’s respective frequent flyer program (FFP). By the end of 2018, these member carrier FFP websites will allow customers to check flight availability and book redemption seats online for flights operated by all 28 Star Alliance member airlines.
Star Alliance will continue to work with the member airlines to roll out further services and enhancements, focused on enabling customers to receive an improved digital experience on their interline journeys.
About Star Alliance
The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Avianca Brasil, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,400 daily flights to 1,300 airports in 191 countries. Further connecting flights are offered by Star Alliance Connecting Partner Juneyao Airlines.
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 435,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
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