In late 2009, I began looking for gaps in the travel market where mobile technology could deliver new opportunities, and I zeroed in on emerging markets for airline ancillary “merchandising,” and digital media technology, concluding that streaming in-flight entertainment could be a greater revenue driver than Aircell’s and Row 44’s paid WiFi approach – and deliver a better experience for travelers.
Ancillary revenue in the form of controversial baggage fees was, frankly, low-hanging fruit and warranted in many ways. But given airlines’ lack of core competency in merchandising, we seem to be hearing a “sell, sell, sell” approach and travelers characterized as a “captive market” rather than consumers that pay for and deserve a great in-flight experience. While the opportunity is good, it could be more rewarding to devise strategy from a consumer perspective.
The potential upshot? Gain advantage, deliver a positive traveler experience, and drive more WiFi engagement and merchandising revenue with customer acquisition models to finance WiFi rather than paid WiFi and paid download models.
Here is Part I of the presentation from January, 2010.
In December, 2010, I took an updated look on progress in the industry and observed that there is still much opportunity to deliver a better experience and differentiate competitively:
Here is Part II: