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Next gen PSS - for smarter, more mobile and personal travel

Published on  01 August by Helen Porter , Senior Director, Portfolio Strategy, SITA
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The Air Transport IT Summit 2013 gave SITA the opportunity to unveil Horizon, our next generation passenger services system (PSS).

Horizon is a critical investment in the future of PSS. It addresses changes in the technology landscape as we see increasing use of mobiles and new devices as part of the business, social and travel experience. Such changes mean that airlines need the flexibility to deploy their services through any channel in a simple way.

A next gen approach to passenger services enables this, seamlessly embracing mobiles. As we see in the recently launched Airline IT Trends Survey 2013, this approach is essential as airlines strive to become 'smarter, more mobile and personal'.

Rising BI, mobility and personalization

The survey shows all airlines investing in business intelligence (BI), mobile and personalized passenger services. By 2016, 97% plan investments in mobile passenger services and personalization. Together with BI, these investments will help boost sales via direct channels, from 54% up to 67%, changing forever how airlines deliver services to passengers.

We're seeing sales via mobile applications increase too, since last year's survey. Airlines now expect a massive leap in mobile sales to over $70 billion in 2016, or 10.3% of total sales, up from just below 3% today.

Mainstream ... but not siloed

So clearly mobile is becoming a mainstream channel for passenger sales and servicing, as well as an integral part of the airline brand and travel experience. But it should not operate in a silo - consumers now expect personalized, consistent service everywhere, no matter how they choose to access it, be it by web, mobile or social media.

As we've said before in one of our blogs, genuine consumer-centricity and maximum profitability demand that the PSS itself is driven by holistic data. Only then can it be context-sensitive at all touchpoints, consistently. It must be easy to deploy through any channel - current and future - and scalable to handle huge volumes of tailored requests.

Visitors to SITA's Air Transport IT Summit got an exclusive preview of Horizon. They saw demonstrations of the end-to-end travel process, across inventory, reservations, check-in, weight and balance - all accessed through multiple touch points.

They witnessed data sharing in real time among all stakeholders across all applications - so passengers, agents and all other users can view information that's accurate and relevant. This means airlines can consistently provide passenger services that are context-sensitive at all touchpoints.

iTravel and the iTravel API

As a critical part of the Horizon portfolio, we previewed the latest release of iTravel®, SITA's mobile application for airline passenger services. It includes native Android and iPhone applications and also a web app. iTravel® features highly intuitive enhanced screens, booking and payment capabilities and the innovative use of mapping as part of the booking process along with check-in, flight status and loyalty program integration.

Airlines now have a greater opportunity to brand their applications with the addition of customized images in the native apps. They also have the flexibility to develop their own application based on the iTravel application programming interface (API).

Ongoing development of the iTravel API will ensure that Customer Profile data used by mobile applications is consistent across the entire Horizon platform, including agent desktop and eCommerce interfaces. Within this data are preferences and trip-related information. This not only makes it simpler for customers to book travel, but it also enables the airline to recognize individual customer needs.

So as travel becomes smarter, more mobile and personal, SITA is well prepared. With airlines and consumers demanding more from mobile devices, as a next generation platform, Horizon supports the evolution of passenger services. Designed from the ground up, it is unique in enabling new channels to provide personalized service that's consistent anywhere and everywhere it's used.

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