ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Etihad, Cathay See Technology As Key to Owning the Customer.
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Tuesday, 11th December 2012
Many things were said by airline executives speaking at the two-day CAPA World Aviation Summit 2012 in Hong Kong this week but one clear message resonated with me full service carriers are investing in technology to own the customer in every sense of the word.

This is an area where low cost carriers have led the game in direct website sales, social media engagement, ancillaries but it would appear that the more progressive traditional airlines are fighting back and realizing it's a changed world.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryFor James Hogan (right), CEO of Etihad, who said that his priority, other than safety and performance, is "guest focus at every point of contact", it's about asking how with technology, "we can own the customer".

In February next year, the airline will switch from Amadeus to Sabre. Hogan called it "our single biggest business transformation for the next 10 years" and in a later question posed by WIT said one factor in its decision for the switch was the promise of SabreSonic, the Customer Sales & Service (CSS) solution from Sabre.

SabreSonic bills itself as the industry's only seamless solution enabling points of sale and service - Web, mobile, kiosk and agent an end-to-end customer sales and service solution aimed at delivering revenue-generating and customer-focused capabilities at a lower cost. At its core is reservations, departure control system, and a Internet booking engine, supported by pricing and shopping, inventory, ticketing, and reaccommodation.

Other than improving its engagement with customers at every touchpoint, Etihad, which recorded its first profit (US$14 million) last year, clearly wants to up its e-commerce capabilities and drive direct sales.

Hogan, who was awarded Aviation Executive of the Year at the 10th CAPA Awards of Excellence, said, with the next generation of bundling holidays, "forget the travel agent and tour operator".

It's about you can bundle and keep the consumer in your own backyard with technology and how a whole range of partnerships outside airlines will drive that, he said.

Ful story:

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