With personalization here to stay, it is increasingly important people know they’re getting exactly what they want from a flight before they book. Routehappy by ATPCO’s Amenities Hub is enabling the air travel industry to give customers the information they need to make an informed decision.
In September 2018, Routehappy by ATPCO (Routehappy) introduced a Beverages segment to its Amenities Hub for the company’s Pro, Expert and Enterprise subscribers that allows airlines and sales channels to display information about which types of beverages are available on certain flights. It details whether there are alcoholic and, or non-alcoholic drinks, and whether they are free or paid-for.
Qantas was the first airline to use Routehappy’s Beverages segment. According to Jason Rabinowitz, Routehappy’s director of Airline Research, the integration process was complex. “Qantas has some very specific rules about which flights you do and do not get free alcoholic beverages on board – it varies by route, time of day, day of week and aircraft type,” he explained. “It took a lot of collaboration with Qantas to get that information and then program it into our database.”
“We are having discussions with airlines about doing something called airline import, where we regularly talk with airlines to get data directly from them in addition to our own researched amenity data.” – Jason Rabinowitz, Routehappy.
According to Rabinowitz, this marks a departure from the way his five-strong team sources data for other amenity categories like Seat, Entertainment and Power. He said, “We confer with airline subscribers of ours for more detailed information if needed, but what’s made Routehappy work over the years is that we independently research and verify the data.”
This is the method Routehappy has used for almost 20 more airlines which are set to introduce the Beverages amenity category through their direct channels. However, Rabinowitz stated, “Moving forward, we are having discussions with airlines about doing something called airline import, where we regularly talk with airlines to get data directly from them in addition to our own researched amenity data.”
Routehappy hopes this will prevent last-minute scrambles to collate information. “Some airlines tell us about changes ahead of time so we can pre-program them into the database. Others will tell us on the day and, in some cases, we don’t know about product enhancements until they’re live,” he said.
On December 12, Rabinowitz is hosting an airline-only webinar on “How to Take Control of Your Amenities” with APEX CEO Joe Leader. The webinar will explain the different features of the Amenities Hub, which was recently separated from its other products as part of Routehappy Rich Content Solutions for Airlines, and will discuss how airlines can use it to provide consumers with the exact information they want.
“We obviously track eight amenities, but it’s up to each distributor and airline how many they want to show on their channel and exactly where in the booking flow they want to highlight them. We’re seeing more and more integrations with distributors where the consumer is able to filter their search results depending on which amenity matters most to them,” Rabinowitz said. For example recent changes to the way Wi-Fi quality is measured mean that passengers can now see whether they will be able to stream Netflix on a certain flight.
The ability for customization means passengers needn’t be overwhelmed by choice. This is a possibility Routehappy is aware of, and it’s one of the reasons they waited three years – until there was “significant demand” – to introduce the Beverages category to its Amenities Hub. “Maybe we’ll start tracking virtual reality headsets on board, if it becomes mainstream enough that we determine passengers are looking for it on their flights. But for now, we’re staying put with what we have,” Rabinowitz concluded.