The wonder of technology

“An Article about ValueLabs’ expertise in the airline sector has appeared in the “Express Travel World” an online monthly magazine of the Indian Express Newspapers, based in Mumbai, India.”

“Express Travel World” July 2007
Information technology plays a critical role in enhancing the operations of airlines and simultaneously helping them in cutting costs.

The airline industry is bustling with operators competing for a larger market share by catering to the different requirements of customers. As competition becomes intense, it is absolutely necessary, especially for low-cost operators, to decrease their operating and other costs. Information technology thus plays a critical role in enhancing the operations of airlines and simultaneously helping them in cutting costs.

Information technology can be leveraged by the airline operators for better customer relationship management (CRM), helping them market their products and services online, satisfy existing customers and prospect for new ones. IT can be leveraged for effective logistics and supply chain management, enabling companies to decrease their costs and improving performance across the value chain. Identifying the sources of revenue and analysing the revenue management data can also be done efficiently using information technology.

Market players

There are several companies that provide critical services to airline operators. Arjun Rao, CEO of ValueLabs, says “Cutting costs is a major issue, especially for low-cost carriers in the airline industry and only those (airline) companies that can leverage information technology in the best possible manner to cut their operational costs and enhance their services to provide a pleasant customer experience can survive and be successful in this industry. We have gained significant expertise in providing efficient information technology solutions to airline operators.” SpiceJet is among its customers.

ValueLabs has got experience in developing web portals for clients ranging from regional/government/ corporate portals using Microsoft and Java platforms. It has created and launched websites, populated portals with information and supported users with live chat and email responses. A recent study on most popular websites in India by online research firm JuxtConsult has revealed that only 26 out of a total of 121 web portals qualify to be called user-friendly. SpiceJet is reportedly amongst the 12 sites that are in the ‘best practice group’, scoring more than 95 per cent points.

Leveraging the web-enabled market environment in order to provide the entire gamut of business transactions online is now more essential for airlines. This is especially true in the current market scenario where customer convenience is foremost and the one who provides it better would be the one destined to lead the market.

There are companies like ValueLabs that design and develop websites for airlines with an online booking system with user-friendly navigation that is integrated to the back-end reservation system. This particular system is designed and developed to streamline the booking process, reduce transaction costs, and most importantly to provide ultimate customer convenience. The online booking system provides extensive data about its regular passengers helping the company to design loyalty programmes and fine-tune services to match requirements of loyal customers. Besides, this information is also useful for the company to target prospective customers and launch e-marketing initiatives.

Moving ahead

Companies now plan to ‘mobile-enable’ airlines that will allow its fliers to avail of information/transaction-related services through their mobile phones. The informative services include sending SMS alerts to customers informing them about the flight schedules, keeping them updated with new marketing and sales promotions activities of the company, etc while the transaction services include enabling customers to book flight tickets and other similar services provided by SpiceJet. On the mobile technology front, ValueLabs has developed a suite of applications for clients to manage their customer relations like automated alert system, which sends a PNR via SMS apart from the itinerary being sent via email after the reservation is made. These information technology initiatives generate significant revenues to the company and substantially reduce the costs involved in the traditional reservation system.

Technology companies also implement the API integration for the back-end system that can be used by third-party travel portals to directly book the tickets. ValueLabs has developed partner interface for major online travel agency portals facilitating its clients to have a wider market access and promote their services to the increasing number of airline travellers. This strategic tie-up with major online travel agency portals helps companies in offering collaborative services ranging from hotel reservations, to local travel and sightseeing arrangements.

These IT-enabled services thus leave customers with hassle-free travel experience. This will result in efficient customer relationship management directed towards delighting the customers. Over a period of time these individual websites graduate to become web portals providing all the related services to the user.

A specific website or online service extending its offerings to a broad array of services to attract and keep a larger audience is a web portal. It is also a single point of access to information which is linked from various logically related internet-based applications and of interest to various types of users. There are different types of portals categorised into entertainment, environment, investment, B2B/B2C, mini portals and voice portals. These portals generally gather the information from different sources and integrate and present it to its users.