Article

Winning business: why speed and data are critical

31 May 2019

There are so many private charter flights booked at the last minute these days. A sudden schedule change could see New York executives rushing across the country to close a deal on West Coast expansion in Silicon Valley. A medical emergency or family crisis might leave no time to lose. Or sports fans could find they need to keep making rapid new travel arrangements as their teams’ progress in an international tournament.

Whatever the reason for traveling, 40% of all Avinode searches are now for departures within 96 hours. As operators and brokers, how can you ensure you respond quickly, with accurate data, to all these requests?

1. Enjoy rising to the challenge. 

You can’t resist progress and why would you want to anyway? Digital natives won’t tolerate online delays. Leading travel companies such as Expedia and lastminute.com don’t make customers wait for price and availability information on airlines and hotels. So why should we in private aviation be happy with service speeds far behind our friends in the wider travel industry?

We’re moving closer to ‘one-click booking’ every day. And as we’ve seen in so many industries, what once seemed impossible can soon become standard practice. With ambition and technology, fantastic changes happen all the time.

Take music distribution. We once thought CDs were incredible and would last forever. Who needs them now in the world of Spotify and SoundCloud? In communications, faxes were great…for about 10 minutes, until e-mails arrived.

We’re the same at Avinode. When we launched in 2002, our online marketplace was undoubtedly a disruptive revolution in the buying and selling of air charter. But we’ve never been satisfied. We’re still always looking for more breakthroughs to improve private aviation.

2. Work together. Be helpful. 

From unavoidable aircraft maintenance to a lack of pilot availability, don’t waste the time of brokers and clients by failing to share your latest critical information online. After all, leading e-tailers such as Amazon instantly indicate stock availability when you start looking at a product.

As an operator or owner, as soon as you know your aircraft is not available for charter on a certain day, make sure the rest of the world knows too. You’ll only damage your reputation, and then your business, if you keep letting people prepare and submit urgent requests you can’t fulfill, reviewing aircraft that simply aren’t available.

At Avinode we launched our ‘Takeoff Ready’ feature to help operators and brokers tackle this problem. The search-filter only displays confirmed crew-ready aircraft available to depart within 96 hours, providing a new level of data that previously sat in the heads of charter sales and dispatchers. It’s our way of driving digital revolution in business aviation.

3. Use the right tech and find the right data partner. 

If you need a fast, competitive price for a specific aircraft on a specific route (perhaps a route that’s new to your business) you need to know the latest industry average price point for that service. If you want to maximize your conversion rate of enquiries to bookings – and you definitely do – knowing the high and low price points is hugely helpful too. You won’t win much business quoting prices twice as high as your competitors. And, let’s be honest, you won’t make a profit charging half as much as your rivals. But with the right tech in place, and all those clever algorithms, you’ll be able to calculate and offer strong last-minute prices at lightning speed.

4. Market empty legs. 

Just like last-minute flight requests, empty legs are lucrative opportunities that disappear fast if you don’t act quickly. Make sure people know if the aircraft doesn’t need to return to base at once. You might well win business if you can be flexible.

5. Talk.

Even in our digital world, so much progress starts with a simple conversation. Talk to your partners, including our teams at Avinode, about how you can integrate technologies and collaborate on plans. How can we all work together to make sure no last-minute opportunities are ever missed again?

Flexibility at speed is one of the great attractions of private aviation. With the right data and technology combining seamlessly and powerfully, you can start to enjoy much more business from those valuable, last-minute travelers.