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Customer-centric flight shopping in practice: How ATPCO and United partnered to get sports fans to the big game

12 September 2019
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American college football season has begun, with universities across the country ready to vie for on-field supremacy in this long-held US tradition. But through a peculiarity of geography, many of the games involve teams traveling between cities with limited flight connections. United Airlines saw an opportunity to add nonstop service between these cities to cater to the far-flung students, university alumni, and fans who want to attend the most anticipated matches. 

By partnering with ATPCO, United expanded its retailing reach and successfully bridged the gap between marketing initiatives and the flight shopping experience.

“We’re always looking for new ways to represent branding initiatives within flight shopping,” explained ATPCO Senior Merchandising Strategist Darí Brooks Ahye. “I saw the football flights promotion on social media and realized rich content would be the perfect outlet to align the United marketing pushes with what flight shoppers are looking for.”

The ATPCO team reached for its playbook and proposed creating unique Universal Product Attributes (UPAs) with custom graphics to illustrate a sample promotion during a meeting at United’s headquarters in Chicago. Seeing the potential value of a campaign like this, United agreed to the approach and in just a few weeks, ATPCO had created and deployed custom graphics that are currently live in sales channels.



united atpco blog

Just in time for the big game.
Hop on a direct flight between Los Angeles, CA, and South Bend, IN, with United to catch the big college football game this fall.  


“Channel strategy was critical to this project,” Darí said. “Targeting UPAs to online travel agencies and metasearch engines helps broaden the distribution reach of United’s initiative and gets the content in front of flight shoppers as they search.” And United has responded positively to this approach. 

This partnership with United demonstrates how ATPCO is building and enhancing the foundation of a modern, customer-centric flight shopping experience. 

“It’s innovative of United to do this,” said Darí. “So many airlines say they are trying to connect with their customers. United takes the next step to not only understand what their customers really want, but then puts it in front of them throughout the customer journey.”

At ATPCO, we’re not just talking about the future of retailing, we are implementing it with our airline and channel partners ever single day. In a few weeks, we’ll be gathering the leading innovators in the airline business together at our Elevate 2019 conference in Washington, DC. There, we’ll show great examples of what United and others have done to further the cause of a more modern retail experience for the flight shopper, and what’s coming next. Register now to see what else ATPCO can do for you.

Learn more about how to use rich content to differentiate your offer. 

By Zachary Wynne

Manager of Airline Solutions within the Airline Retailing team

Zach has 10 years of experience leading airline commercial transformation projects with over 40 airlines on all six continents. A passionate traveler who has already visited over 100 countries, Zach enjoys helping airlines and airline tech providers to prepare their systems for the future of pricing, revenue management, and commercial excellence. His special areas of interest include the future of shopping, dynamic pricing, modernization of pricing data, and total product revenue management.