The airline ticket industry uses IATA and ICAO codes for connecting search queries and results between the GDS and all other chain links. Reference guides and databases containing airline identifiers and names, their logos as well as city and airport codes are required for the interface to correctly send queries and visualize matches. Here are examples of travel product content that use these data:
- content pages
- search forms
- airline ticket search results
- airline ticket reservation interface
- email confirmation of an airline ticket purchase
Most often, travel companies resolve the issue of initial reference collection by simultaneously working with a number of data sources, aggregating, validating and correcting the collected data. This is manual labor that requires several weeks of highly qualified team members’ time.
The quality of these data directly determines conversion at every stage of airline ticket search and reservation as well as the company’s total revenue. An inhouse data management system must be developed and maintained in order to process the collected data and make changes as the airline industry evolves, e.g. as new airlines enter the market.
Here are some examples of how the relevance of search and reservation interface data affects results:
- The relevance of airline and geographic data is crucial for a high rate of conversion from searches to reservations. Complete coverage of all airlines and airports removes gaps, blanks and ambiguities in search and reservation results and leads to a higher conversion rate. For example, in case of new airlines and airports that are not in the database yet, a blank space may be displayed instead of a flight or an airline logo or even worse, this option may be altogether omitted from the search results.
- Prompt updates of the information in reference guides lead to a decreased customer service workload, e.g. it helps avoid situations in which a passenger makes a reservation with an airline that has been taken over by another and is outraged when the reservation is not found on its website.
- It is important to display the most accurate information at the time of reservation in order to avoid involuntary refunds as a result of data display errors, e.g. when a passenger makes a reservation with a specific airline to collect frequent flyer miles from an alliance in which the participating airlines change over time.
It takes time to track updates of airline and airport data. The airline industry sees new companies continually emerge to replace old ones. There are frequent mergers and acquisitions as well as regularly occuring rebrandings with changes in corporate names and identities. Airports are also renamed, closed and reopened. The last 12 months have seen around 420 updates of airlines and airline logos along with 140 changes in airport names and status. Timely tracking of these changes is tedious work that takes up to several months of net operating time a year.
In order to promptly track all these changes, Airhex has special software, processes and a team of content professionals operating on a 24/7/365 basis. We do this for our customers so that they do not have to spend their highly trained team’s time on these routine tasks and can engage in more value-adding operations. It is also 5-15 times more profitable for medium and large-sized businesses to outsource this work to Airhex than to do it in-house.