Client: Singapore Airlines
Product: Singapore Airlines Multi-Device Roll Out
Category: Travel, Transportation, Tourism & Hospitality
Award Entry Year: 2016
Singapore Airlines, and the global aviation industry in general, has witnessed a fundamental shift in how its customers search for, book and manage flights over the past few years. The appetite for digital and mobile services by travelers is growing exponentially and with constantly evolving mobile technologies and regular OS enhancements from Apple and Google, the opportunity for digital and mobile travel continues to grow. The stats quoted by industry analysts say it all: By 2017, 92 percent of airlines will enable passengers to purchase their services via apps; in 2016 alone, mobile bookings for airlines were expected to increase by 39 percent.
Singapore Airlines faced the challenge of meeting the needs of today’s ultra-connected traveler and underwent an initiative to roll out multi-device apps across smart watches and Android smartphones, tablet and the Apple Watch throughout 2015 and early 2016. With one of the highest multi-device usage rates in its home country from across the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore Airlines understood the need to launch a sophisticated app not only for smartphones, but tablets and smart watches too. The objectives were to increase customer engagement, loyalty and satisfaction by improving the overall travel experience as well as drive revenues through the mobile channel.
Today’s traveler wants to be able to manage all aspects of their trip via multiple devices while on the move. Its earlier efforts in this area were limited in terms of design and functionality, which prevented the airline from fully leveraging the mobile channel as a means for increasing customer engagement, loyalty and revenue. Singapore Airlines’ initiative enabled this sought-after traveller autonomy, with the apps allowing travelers to search for and book flights, view their loyalty account, receive real-time alerts and updates, sync with Singapore Airlines’ in-flight entertainment system, view destination guides and much more, all while on the go.
Singapore Airlines undertook the initiative to launch multi-channel apps in response to the changing nature of its increasingly ultra-connected customers’ flight booking and trip management preferences. The app launch was an opportunity to reward the airline’s increasingly tech savvy target audience by enabling them to have more control over their travel and a better flying experience. The airline’s target audience was global air travellers who own smartphones, tablets or Apple watches.
To truly understand the mobile needs of its target audience, Singapore Airlines partnered with MTT, a specialist provider of digital solutions for the travel industry, for the app rollout. MTT carried out extensive end-traveler research to gather greater insight into the airline customer and to discover how Singapore Airlines could leverage digital solutions to enhance the travel experience. The research, which included an online survey with over 650 global travelers, airport observations and one-on-one interviews, uncovered the main “Day of travel” frustrations and revealed the key features that travelers look for in an airline app.
The results played an important role in informing the app’s development. For example, when asked “what is the most important mobile service your airline could offer to improve the ‘day of travel experience,’” the number one response from travelers was information and notifications on flight disruptions. A key feature of the app is therefore the ability to receive real-time alerts and updates on flight delays, cancellations, gate changes, and so forth. Similarly, the results revealed that travelers value a personalised experience. Taking this feedback on board, Singapore Airlines’ app was developed with a personalised and contextual homescreen that displays the most relevant information about upcoming trips. The app’s background images are also personalised, based on upcoming trip destinations and recent flight searches.
Singapore Airlines leveraged multiple existing marketing channels to promote the app, drive downloads and build awareness. Among them:
The smartphone apps were developed in less than four months, a remarkable timeframe given the breadth of functionality and sophistication of design. It is this broad range of innovative features along with the creative UX and design that have contributed to the app’s success and helped achieve results by encouraging usage.
Featured highlights include a contextual homepage that displays the most relevant trip information; a “My Trips” section with flight dates and booking references at the customer’s fingertips, 3D Touch Booking via fingerprint technology enabling easy retrieval of booking data, while and real-time alerts which allow the airline to inform travelers of any disruptions and flight information. The tech enhancements extended to tablets with fare deals and travel guides and a “Glance View” on wearables like the Apple Watch, all with user-friendly and intuitive designs.
Unlike other marketing channels, mobile enabled Singapore Airlines to engage with its customers throughout the entire end-to-end trip. Where other channels interact with travelers at a single stage in the travel lifecycle, leveraging the app allows Singapore Airlines to be with its customer at each touchpoint, from when they book their flight to watching movies on-board and at destination.
The smartphone and Apple Watch apps were launched in April 2015, quickly followed by a tablet app that October and the IFE companion app in March 2016.
Since launch, Singapore Airlines’ app has been met with overwhelmingly positive ratings and customer reviews in the Apple Store, Google Play and on social media, and witnessed remarkable growth in consumer engagement. Downloads increased over 40 percent year on year during its first month of availability -- April 2015 -- while overall digital interaction with the brand has literally soared.
Some key results are highlighted below:
There were plans for extensive advancement of the app throughout 2016 and beyond -- including passport and credit card scanning, additional “Day of Travel” services, Apple Pay, baggage handling and information, loyalty profile management and unaccompanied minor tracking. Such improvements are likely to drive even more downloads, engagement and positive customer feedback.