A series of articles on designing a great flight booking process: must-haves, could-haves and what ifs from end to end.
You dream of a destination. You pick a date. You select a flight. You add personal details, luggage, maybe a seat. You pay… and off you fly. The process is all very familiar – and recently a bit absent – to any of us. It might even look like all booking flows are the same, regardless of the airline you choose. But are they really? Rather, is it not the right question to ask: should they all be so similar? Or shall the industry be more brave?
With a decade of domain knowledge, we are well-acquainted with the nature of aviation. At least when it comes to designing the booking experience – which has also been raising some important issues on the fly, and well, sometimes, eyebrows. Eventually, we have spent a great many time wondering what the best digital solutions are both for airlines and for passengers. A flow that increases revenue and provides a frictionless customer experience (CX) at the very same time.
Aiming for the clouds
At Mito Digital, our clients are located throughout Europe, Australia and America, be it a US-headquartered airline or the best performing ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) in Central and Eastern Europe. Being responsible for a variety of tasks from mapping end-to-end user journeys through redesigning entire websites and mobile apps to post-booking management, we constantly develop our expertise to ensure we are flying ahead of industry trends. Currently, we are working with an exciting startup airline from the Nordic region, helping them get off to a flying start.
We are honored to have one of the most prosperous European ultra-low-cost carriers, Wizz Air as a major client since 2011. (Note to self: time really is flying.) As their “follow-me vehicle”, we have been backing them up along their growth journey in expanding their fleet from 35 to 140 aircrafts – and down the road in targeting 500. Today, wizzair.com is the continent’s fourth most visited airline website with 194 million sessions in 2020, while millions of users complete their post-booking journey along the mobile timeline we created.
Okay, so we have got a core booking flow, often consisting of the same steps, often the same way. Considering it being a dearly business-critical process, the long-lasting way sure seems like a safe one. It ought to be familiar, transparent, fast and simple with as few clicks, pages and popups as possible – which also helps customers ease stress associated with the procedure. It has worked so far, so why change?
Then of course, airlines want to boost their ticket and / or ancillary revenues with flying colors. Goods and services such as seat allocation, food pre-order or upgrades are key, especially for ultra-low-cost and low-cost carriers (ULCCs and LCCs). But how to get the most out of ancillary moneymakers? Can, for instance, the use of rich media, a nice design or other fun features result in a higher conversion rate? What if we focus on the pre-booking phases of the journey, providing inspiring (and informative) content and improved search opportunities?
Brave ideas, however, often end up remaining ideas as they pose a threat: a risk of losing conversion is literally a risk of losing money. Is it still worth experimenting? And if so, how to start off to avoid instant failure?
Now that the industry is adapting to the “new normal” due to COVID-19, empathy, customer engagement, personalization, self-servicing, and omnichannel end-to-end journey are some of the latest buzzwords. Understanding the user is more important than ever while buyer behavior surely has changed: but does investing more in digitalization and your customers pay off? Does, in the end, great CX and the whole journey matter at all? Or will customers find their way through even the most complex interfaces and trickiest UX patterns because, well, they want to get to the destination they have been dreaming of? (That is, if pricing is appropriate for them.)
Leaning on our knowledge, take-aways and real-life examples, in the following months we will be delving into the art of designing booking flows in aviation. From end to end. From the basic and crucial must-haves to additional and beneficial “could-haves”. In the upcoming articles we will be aiming to answer the questions above and more – and might as well end up discovering some new ones to ask ourselves.
So, ladies and gentlemen, take your seats and take off with us!
Mito Digital is a business unit of Mito, a unique powerhouse of creative & digital experts with a passion for clever things. We have been working with our clients around the globe for more than ten years, in numerous industries from aviation through lottery and retail to telecommunications. Our goal is to design and deliver smart, human-centered and best-in-class digital solutions that meet and exceed the business goals of our clients as well as the demands of their clients.