Big data for airlines: do you jump right in or make a plan?

airline data

One of the key take-away lessons in social media is the need to develop a company-wide social strategy before just jumping in. And to a great extent airlines have stuck to this. But already the next big thing for airline marketing – data – has emerged and driving the need for a whole new strategy. The key is though, do you need to plan in order to get started?

Well actually the beauty about big data is you collect the data first and worry about how you are going to use it later. Before big data you had to lay down the requirement for what you were looking for before you had it, which meant that if you wanted to change your mind or look at a holistic historical analysis you were limiting yourself to the information that you were getting. In effect big data lets you "dump"" all your information first and search for your relevant information after.

Might sound easy for a retailer, but for airlines it's not so simple, mainly down to those three letters which seem to cause so many of the airlines' problems: GDS. With the majority of your bookings coming through a GDS, these companies can argue that in fact they own the customer data and the right to commercialise it. So it's not quite as black and white as ‘well just get started.'

However it's still an important lesson and one which should push airlines to continue the fight to effectively ‘own' their own customer data in order to look to the next steps: analysing it, communicating with it and designing offers to target it.

This except comes from our newest Blue Sky e-book: What airline CIOs should know about Big Data. You can download it for free here. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!