Routehappy Airbus

At ITB Berlin today, Airbus and Routehappy announced a new collaboration that will encourage travelers to make bookings based on the quality of cabin product. Image: Marisa Garcia

APEX Insight: Airbus and Routehappy have teamed up to encourage travelers to make bookings based on the quality of cabin product, rather than fares. The airline launch partners, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa Group and Singapore Airlines, will highlight Airbus A380 and A350 XWB features, among other product differentiators, in Routehappy’s content management platform.

At ITB Berlin today, Airbus and Routehappy shared details of their new collaboration that will encourage travelers to make bookings based on the quality of cabin product, rather than fares. The partners will work with airline customers to create compelling, targeted merchandising content that showcases cabin features like seat width, personal space, in-flight entertainment, connectivity and jet lag mitigating ambient lighting. Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa Group and Singapore Airlines are the launch partners for the new platform.

“Flyers need better information to navigate ever changing options, and the industry needs a platform that helps them showcase the products they offer,” said Robert Albert, CEO at Routehappy. “Our alliance with Airbus provides airlines an added incentive to create and distribute rich content that is becoming a key feature in how we shop for flights.”

“53% of leisure passengers and 61% of business passengers pay attention to the type of aircraft they will fly on.” – Bob Lange, Airbus

While travelers have traditionally made booking decisions based on fares and schedules, the ease of gathering and communicating information in today’s connected world invites a radical re-think of merchandising and retail. “In a 2016 survey, Atmosphere Research Group found that 53 percent of leisure passengers and 61 percent of business passengers pay attention to the type of aircraft they will fly on,” said Bob Lange, Airbus’ head of Market and Product Strategy. “And yet passengers have little information to go on when booking their flights. Finally this is changing.” Routehappy’s content management platform, called Routehappy Hub, can accommodate a broad range of promotional content, including videos and images, and present it in various ways. For example, content can be tailored to the passengers’ geographical region and feature limited-time promotions. This allows airlines to get creative and keep their product content fresh.

Routehappy Hub

Routehappy Hub can accommodate a broad range of promotional content and present it in various ways. Image via Routehappy

Airlines in the new Airbus-Routehappy program have agreed to using “Airbus branded UPAs” that highlight Airbus A380 and A350 XWB product features, among the airlines’ many selling points. UPAs (universal product attributes) are standardized data types in Routehappy Hub that differentiate airline product offerings with rich descriptive and visual content. “We continually strive to enhance our passengers’ experience at every stage of their journey with us – and that starts from the moment they plan their travel arrangements,” said Toby Smith, Cathay Pacific’s general manager, Sales and Distribution. “This initiative will help enable us to deliver our brand promise of a Life Well Travelled by showcasing our superior in-flight product offerings, including those featured in the cabins of our new Airbus A350 aircraft.”

This new partnership gives Airbus an opportunity to both tout the benefits of its assets and help customers promote their brands. “Aircraft such as the A350 XWB stand out because of their quiet, climate controlled interiors and offer each passenger more space due to their extra-wide cabins and unobstructed [leg room],” Bob Lange says. “Leading airlines have invested heavily in their in-flight services, cabin comfort and the overall passenger experience. From now on, passengers will be able to visualize, choose and reap the benefits of this new generation of aircraft and cabins whenever they fly.”

A data-based merchandising strategy appeals to the hyper-mobile traveler, who is accustom to online shopping based on research, metrics and peer product reviews. These evolving consumer habits encourage brands to rethink their retail strategies. The level of differentiation possible as data and content systems evolve is immeasurable, but Airbus and Routehappy hope this growing intelligence will help to reprogram the mindset of the average consumer, encouraging them to value experience.

Marisa Garcia was once locked in a hangar in Oberpfaffenhofen while fine-tuning Gandalf’s new seats. Seriously. The firemen got her out. Writing is less confining, but she has lovely memories of those hands-on days.