CTO Discusses How Airlines Can Protect Their Customer Relationships

Image: Stephanie Taylor

In this episode of APEX Insider, Bobby Healy, CarTrawler’s founding chief technology officer and, more recently, non-executive director, talks about how airlines need to face up to the growing threat of intermediaries in the travel booking process.

Bobby Healy believes airlines are well-positioned to offer passengers the most relevant ground transportation solutions for journeys to and from the airport – including, in the future, trips in autonomous drones – that are otherwise booked “chaotically” less than 24 hours before a flight.

However, many carriers’ website and mobile offerings are still not doing so intuitively. “If the customer has a bunch of children with them, they’re going to need a bigger car for car hire, but you’d be amazed that when you look at a lot of airlines, no matter what you say when you’re booking your flight, you’re still offered a small car that’s just completely irrelevant,” he explains.

If airlines don’t take advantage of their ability to provide a personalized offer to passengers using existing data, Healy argues, they will be usurped by technology aggregators that are “completely taking over the top of the experience funnel.” Healy’s solution? Fostering innovation. “It’s as much about cultural innovation as it is financial innovation.”

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