Low-cost carriers have taken the world by storm with not only leisure travellers, but also corporate travellers seeking the best value offer available. Today, globally, more than a quarter of all airline bookings are LCC bookings.
This scenario would have been unlikely 20 years ago when corporate travellers would fly in business class on full service carriers – no questions asked. They would be pampered during the flight with exceptional service, a glass of champagne, a delicious meal and ample legroom. It would have been inconceivable for corporate travellers at that time to consider paying extra for drinks, for luggage or to pre-select their seats. The distinction between economy and business, between LCC and full service carriers was clear-cut, and very visible.
But, today the world has shifted, the lines have blurred and it is perfectly ‘normal’ for a corporate traveller to fly on a low-cost carrier while choosing to stay in a 5-star hotel during his travels.
LCCs have taken advantage of this changed mind-set of the corporate traveller and have started adapting their offering by, for example, bundling separate service elements into a packaged price. In Africa, fastjet is one of the latest airlines to adopt a multi-channel distribution strategy and it recognises the importance of travel agencies to its future success by partnering with Amadeus.
Also, the traditional carriers have started adapting their offering and are evolving towards a hybrid model. Most of these carriers today are, for example, allowing travellers to choose for which services they would like to pay or not, in essence mirroring the LCC model.
Without a doubt, the rules of the game are changing, and nothing is what it seems to be.
Amadeus has made sure to be one step ahead at all times, and offers the technology for each model to achieve its full potential. Across all the phases of the travel value chain, Amadeus has the expertise and technology to answer the transitioning needs of airlines of all business models and to open a world of opportunities.
Paul De Villiers