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A quick guide to modern airline retailing from Elevate + TravelConnect

From data and AI’s critical role in the future, to progress on the transformation to dynamically created offers, Elevate + TravelConnect 2024 was jam-packed full of future-shaping insights. More than 90 speakers across the air travel industry took the stage to share their expertise on challenges, opportunities, and strategies as the shift to true modern airline retailing gains more and more momentum.  

But how do you take all the innovative insights and takeaways from ATPCO and ARC’s first-ever jointly hosted conference and turn them into tangible to-dos for your organization?  

Here’s your step-by-step guide for turning the thoughts and ideas you heard at Elevate +TravelConnect into meaningful actions.

Takeaway #1: Dynamic offers are in full swing across the industry

During the conference, ATPCO shared that it now estimates 25% of offers sold in the marketplace today are being dynamically created. This is a 50% increase from 2022, the year ATPCO made a commitment to build the framework needed for the industry to get to 80% of all airline offers being dynamically created by 2026.  

Why is the top method for creating offers shifting from traditional filed fares to dynamic? ATPCO’s President and CEO Alex Zoghlin said it best:

This is really one of those rare win-wins where consumers can really get exactly what they're looking for long-term and suppliers can price [offers] at a price point where they're not just selling a seat anymore." -- Alex Zoghlin

To-do #1: How to get started with dynamic offers

Take the first step in your dynamic offers journey by exploring optimized solutions available for immediate implementation. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer or prescribed path; the beauty lies in the flexibility!  

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Want to see what the industry is building to support adjusted and continuous offers? Watch the Elevate + TravelConnect breakout session and dive into the essential components that must align and how you can get involved in developing the future and start testing in-progress products.

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Takeaway #2: Putting the customer first MUST be top priority

Prioritizing customer value and ensuring that a better customer outcome is the way of the future was by far one of the most prominent takeaways throughout the conference. Throughout multiple sessions, speakers and panelists emphasized the fundamental nature of putting the customers first. As Traverse Technologies’ Michael Harbin said:

"happy wife, happy life. Happy traveler, happy ecosystem. At the end of the day, if a traveler can have a frictionless, joyful experience, everybody wins.: - Michael Harbin

How, exactly, can you give customers this frictionless experience they want? And why the big focus on customer-centric strategies? It all leads back to dynamic offers—getting the right offer, to the right customer, at the right time. Research has shown time and time again that today's flight shoppers expect more than just a price and schedule when booking a flight. They want the modern booking experiences that they’re used to on other online retailers’ platforms, filled with rich content, visuals and images, and offers for products/services that are tailored to their personal habits. Dynamic offers are the way of the future and are how you can ensure you’re putting the customer at the forefront.  

To-do #2: Understand flight shoppers’ expectations

Putting the customer first starts with understanding their wants, needs, and expectations while shopping for a flight. Each year, ATPCO surveys hundreds of flight shoppers across the globe to better understand what’s driving purchase behavior. Sign up for the latest report (coming soon) to stay in the know.

Get 2024’s survey results

Takeaway #3: Industry collaboration is a necessity for modern airline retailing

Many of the conference’s main stage and breakout sessions brought up one key topic, repeatedly: the critical need for industry collaboration to enable advancement of offers and orders in the world of modern airline retailing.  

The call for collaboration to result in industry acceleration comes as no shock, because a key component of ATPCO’s nearly 60-year long history has been in this space. However, to truly move to a world of offers and orders, people from across organizations must come together to work toward this common goal of dynamically created offers. According to ATPCO’s Product Director, Airline Offer Distribution, David Smith:

"In order to successfully innovate, especially at the scale we're looking at in this business, this global scale, you need some form of standards to be able to work together. And by definition, you need industry collaboration to form those standards." - David Smith

To-do #3: Become part of the industry collaboration effort

Taking the first step in industry collaboration efforts starts with ATPCO’s Design Teams. Join a design team in the area you’re most passionate about—whether it’s NDC Solutions, Dynamic Offers, Modern Airline Retailing Attributes, or Tax Standards. ATPCO’s 12 design teams are where airlines, systems, and tech providers innovate together to build real, applicable industry-wide solutions, solve problems, and achieve results that make a lasting impact.  

Explore and join a design team

Bonus takeaway: Data, data, data (oh, and AI, of course)  

Here’s the bonus, a special takeaway from the conference: the emphasis on how having the right data (and AI, of course) in place will help propel the industry’s progress. In the “Data meets AI: Key characters in the airline industry” session, panelists explained how data—high quality data, specifically—is a key ingredient that will help us fully realize the potential of AI to harness powerful strides towards dynamic offers. ATPCO’s Daphne Nothwehr put it like this,

"It's really just clear that robust data foundations are paramount in driving the advancement of artificial intelligence." - Daphne Nothwehr

It’s not about the quantity of your data or even having tons and tons of models. It’s about getting quality data foundations in place so you can start leaning on AI tools to help manage more work, free up resources within your organization, and ensure you’ve got the right tools at your fingertips. This can help move micro-decision-making away from people, leaving them more time to focus on strategic thinking and decision making.

Bonus to-do: Explore new datasets

Travel data analytics company 3Victors was recently acquired by ATPCO. They harness the power of machine learning and AI to help airlines better understand true shopping data and drive revenue growth. 3Victors’ VP of Innovation Rick Seaney and ATPCO’s Manager, Product Strategy Daphne explain the power behind having high quality data in place for the future.

Watch now

Access even more Elevate + TravelConnect insights

Elevate + TravelConnect 2024 was the place where the whole story of the airline industry unfolded, but it was only just the beginning. As the industry continues on its path to a world of dynamic offer creation, it’s clear the future is powered by collaboration, data, and innovation.

Curious about more of the conversations that occurred on the main stage and in breakouts? Exclusive conference sessions are now available on demand so you can watch them anytime, anywhere.  

Watch now 

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About Angela Sultana

Before joining ATPCO as Vice President, Global Marketing, Angela was Vice President, Marketing and Brand Strategy for a fintech company. Previously, Angela spent 9 years at Adara, a travel data company, where she led the Global Partner Development and Customer Success teams overseeing the relationships of some of the largest airline and hospitality companies globally. In addition, Angela helped establish Adara's international operations for EMEA, in Dublin, Ireland.

Prior to that, Angela worked at United Airlines for many years in both Product and Loyalty Marketing.