November 2016 | Recently, a growing number of online travel agents and airlines have partnered with third-party data providers TripAdvisor and Routehappy to help customers learn more about the quality of their flight.
By sharing candid details of the passenger experience airlines could move beyond commodity pricing and beyond competition solely on fares, instead giving customer fact-based metrics about their products which would justify a higher fare.
There is an important precedent for this change in consumer mindset in the hospitality sector. Today’s informed and savvy travellers are making their hotel choices based on ‘reputation pricing’ —the correlation between a brand’s online reputation and the premium it can charge. This shift from ‘sticker price’ bookings to bookings based on the quality of the experience has been one of the big positive effects of TripAdvisor on the hotel industry.
Rate My Flight
Social and digital frontrunner, KLM is taking transparency to the next level by sharing the feedback it gathers directly from passengers with customers who are looking to book a ticket with the airline.
After extensive experimentation, KLM started showing star ratings and reviews in the search flow of the KLM website in June of this year.
Customers searching for a flight can see the actual reviews from previous passengers who have flown that flight in the past, based on reviews collected from KLM passengers using the airline’s ‘Rate My Flight’ feature.
“By adding reviews from real people we aim to be transparent and gain more trust,” explains KLM’s product owner Maaike van der Horn. “Of course each flight is different, but KLM continuously aims to offer the best in service and care, and we want to enable our visitors to see other passengers reviews. The ratings and reviews are not filtered—except for when crew or passengers are mentioned by name or unsuitable language is used.”
Jan Willem Kluivers from KLM’s digital strategy team describes the initiative as one element in a broader programme of improvements which will give customers more and better details about a flight.
“This includes informing customers on their upcoming flight information, asking customers how they experienced their flight—enabling repair of any issues—and last, being transparent to future customers but also to our crew on their performance,” he says.
At present, KLM customers rate their flights after receiving an email request for feedback from the airline, but KLM is testing other methods to request feedback too.
The airline had previously experimented with a thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating of airport services through an app in 2013, similar in principle to the emoji-based ‘Rate My Flight’ feedback system Ryanair has recently deployed as part of its ‘Always Getting Better’ program.