Sounding Off: Time to push forward but not be afraid of digitalization

Ulrich Steppler, CHS

“With the ongoing drive towards digitization, which is bolstered through the COVID-19 crisis, airlines have a unique chance to change the game, to reduce cost and to use the claim experience as a passenger loyalty anchor.”

Quote from Ulrich Steppler, CEO and founder of CHS, in an article on PhocusWire this week about airline refund technology.


Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered on our site that week.

It’s not just in the realm of refund technology that airlines and other travel brands have an opportunity, in a post-pandemic industry.

Many pundits in the business and advocates of digitalization in the wider technology world believe that the coronavirus outbreak is likely to be the trigger for changes of a massive scale.

Consumers have been fed a gradual overhaul of their analogue lives since the mid-1990s, with the emergence of the web at scale.

But as commerce, society, politics, health and the environment have been hit and now attempt to recover from a situation that has not been witnessed before, change is coming and likely to come fast.

This shouldn’t scare the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, nor the customers that fly in its aircraft, sleep in its beds, ride in its vehicles and enjoy its activities.

We all should be rightly concerned about cybersecurity, privacy, safety and countless other elements that the widely anticipated and accepted use of additional technology will do to the industry.

These will no doubt be overcome, as every other technical challenge has been so far (mobile, payments, even the web itself, lest we forget).

There will be many that will be afraid of what the next influx of technology will do to jobs. And, again, with good reason.

But the smart approach will be to make sure that the introduction of mass automation and other uses of digital processes gives brands and their partners a wonderful opportunity to put people where they are most valued in the industry: doing the things that only humans can do and providing the experiences that customers never forget.

PhocusWire’s regular editorials

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