New research on the airline industry linking digital strength to revenue/shareholder value was released today. The research analyzes digital strength, looking at magnitude, share, momentum, growth and trajectory. Some key findings from the report include:
Southwest dominates, starting with digital share, boasting 22% of the digital share among all carriers.
What this means? Southwest is about to close in on the larger airlines.
Alaska Air is on the rise and their momentum is at the expense of JetBlue.
What this means? If they can improve their cumbersome site experience and booking process, they are slated to make a big impact in the coming year.
United is losing future revenue due to weak digital presence and United + American have the worst momentum of the major airlines in the past three years.
While we projected an increase in revenue for United (which was confirmed by this week’s news), United and American face headwinds given how much they lag in digital share.
25% of airline books go through OTAs.
What this means? Airlines are not developing digital relationships with customers which has long-term implications.
Airlines should consider Southwest’s strategy of withholding flight and price data from metasearch and OTAs, pushing customers to their own sites.
Social Media is a mixed bag, suggesting a lack of strategy for some.
What this means? A lot of opportunity here for airlines to connect with consumers. JetBlue is the clear winner on Twitter and while YouTube and Instagram are used by all airlines, there is no clear strategy. The real opportunity, however, is with Facebook, due to the soaring number of travel related posts from consumers.