When you’re busy – and let’s face it, you’re busy most of the time – it’s so easy to just focus on what’s happening right in front of you. You spend all day studying trends in business aviation, trying to work out plans to drive your company forward.
Sometimes, though, looking beyond private aviation is a brilliant tactic. Here are just a few examples of how you can seek inspiration elsewhere…
Learning from logistics
The manufacturing and logistics industries are at the forefront of digitization. Many companies have set up a ‘digital twin’ of their physical supply chain, which operational managers can use to monitor performance, identify issues and find ways to streamline the supply chain without real-world risk. Benefits range from maximized delivery speeds to minimized production costs. Rolls-Royce has set up an entire business, R2 Data Labs, to gather information from a data and analytics supply chain and "unlock the undiscovered value from data”. We can all learn from ‘digital twins’. The more seamlessly you connect all your different partners and customers in a digital space, the more efficiently and profitably your business will run in reality – on the ground and in the air.
Interconnectivity is the way forward for so many industries, not least in the world of voice technologies. Look how easily the Google Home virtual assistant connects with third parties, from BBC radio stations to smart home automation services such as Hive. Just say the word, literally, and you can control everything from your central heating to your lighting. Look too at how Volvo and Amazon are working together to offer secure delivery of your online shopping, straight into your car. Everyone else is moving closer to their partners. Are you?
The connected hotel…
We’re not at all surprised by the growing popularity of new smartphone services to control the hotel room experience. What’s not to like? They put power in the hands of the public. The Hilton ‘Connected Room’ lets guests personalize and manage the in-room experience through their mobile device, from ordering room service to on-screen entertainment, including Netflix. Yet again, we’re reminded everyone wants to do everything through their smartphones these days – and that includes booking charter flights.
…And when it goes wrong
Hotels don’t always get everything right. Did you read about the Henn-na Hotel in Japan, which ended up having to fire many of its robot staff because guests complained of their practical limitations? The point is that technology can still only go so far. People expect a certain level of digitization but then want the human touch to add to the experience. Even some digital natives are starting to complain of online fatigue and wanting to ‘unplug’, turning their backs on social media in favour of face-to-face conversations. Yes, the right technology can be fantastic – but so can the right people.
Dynamic pricing has come under fire in a few areas, from customers complaining of fare hikes through Uber’s ‘surge pricing’, to high-pressure sales tactics from hotel booking sites. But handled sensibly, flexible pricing can be great for customers, operators and brokers. Why not keep your aircraft flying in seasonal troughs by offering clients fantastic deals? Just make sure those clients never feel misled by sudden price hikes at times of high demand. Data, as ever, is critical to getting your pricing right, as you can learn from this excellent Node talk by our senior commercial analyst, Harry Clarke. To take just one of Harry’s tips, if you’re confident you can fill an empty return leg, you could reduce your one-way price to ensure you win the initial business and maximize your overall income.
The targeted recommendations algorithms built by Amazon and Netflix have revolutionized product discoverability. Any item or programme you might want to buy, or watch, is right there on-screen in front of you, bringing to your attention relevant options you might not even have considered. We can follow these pioneering leads in business air charter. Are you making sure your clients instantly see every relevant option you can offer, from your jets to your catering? Are you studying a customer’s past purchases to make sure you promote options likely to convert to sales? Don’t make customers work hard to find your perfect offering – show them everything they need to know at once.