12/12/2018 2:15:03 PM Goran Rončević, Business Intelligence Specialist
Offboarding Process Digitalization
This is a story of technologically non-demanding, efficient and process focused way to solve a business problem of airlines overbooking. 
According to Gartner: “Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.” 
From my point of view, these strict and slightly cold two sentences do not touch the essence or greatness of digital transformation.

Let's talk about airlines digitalization!
All airlines practice flight overbooking, and this practice does not come from wrong seat counting, but from trends that have significantly touched this industry. 

The business model of a “Low-cost" airline contains:  
- Fewer hours on the ground/more hours in the air
- No frills
- Cheaper airports
- Charging for extras such as food, priority boarding, seat allocating and baggage.
These trends are causing a disruption that has run margins on the airline tickets to on mare 1%. 

Having said that and knowing that each action has a reaction, airlines idea of a reaction is to maximize seat usage, and there we have the overbooking. This, of course, is not a case of taking money from every person that wants to get on that plain, but careful analysis of statistical trends and different location/route dependencies. Even the best analysis is still only educated assumptions and we all know what happens with assumptions, in this case, the process of offloading the passengers.

While searching for the perfect offloading candidate, an airline will look at two factors: 
1. Time of arrival (the last in the check-in line) 
2. Least in value (no airline official application, frequent flying miles or records of flying before with the company). 

To start from the beginning, the next image shows us:  
- Main business process (journey by plain)
- Sub-processes (digitalized mobile or web-based and non-digitalized aerodrome steps) 
- Additional steps needed (new features) 

Airlines Business Process

As the main business process, we took all the steps in customer journey from inspiration to travel to landing on a destination. 
As subprocesses, we documented all the offline steps that are being done at the airport.
Mobile app features are covered by most of the applications from airlines, there is some variation between the airlines like upgrading the seat or ordering different food and beverages, but there are no significant differences between mobile application offered by major airline companies. 

Adding new features to the applications starts the business process of tracing a passenger that will come on board sooner, and offers more checkpoints to track and count customers whereabouts and therefore move the offloading process to the “left”. 

Social media integration 

The uninformed customer is harder to approach since all travels cause some sort of distress, offering somebody to change plans at the airport can add stress to the situation and make customer harder to bargain with and distrustful. So, customers should be notified of this possibility at the comfort of their own home in articles unrelated to the airline brand. 

Uber integration

Upon the received boarding pass in his inbox on a web interface or mobile application, a customer is offered the option to order Uber or Uber Black ride. By entering the time and the location of the Uber pick-up, the customer will be notified on the morning of the departure day to confirm his ride. This allows us to carefully track the location of the customers arriving in the airport way before in the business process 

Satisfaction surveys

Post-trip questioners with an agenda to determine the customer’s needs. Analysis of the answers taken from those questionnaires is used in the customer classification process to determine the best incentive to be offered to the customer.  

Airport maps

Providing the user with the map of the airport and location of the airline, while for the airline get’s a notification of the exact location of the customer on the airport.  

Document checklist

Creating the mobile app feature of keeping 6 family members boarding passes under one user, to keep all travel document’s in one place, we get another step where the user will be using the mobile application. 

Creating the additional steps in the process prolongs the business process and therefore; 
- Provides us with more time to react
- Causes less stress for the customer


None of these integrations are sophisticated or demanding processes to implement and their implementation carries a load of weight in sense of data and bringing more informative decisions. 

Tags: Airports, digitalization, overbooking, Software development, solution