SunExpress is the world's first airline enabling voice activated bookings via Alexa
The Sun Express step is revolutionary. Expedia, Kayak, Ixigo, British Airways and other travel players have started to play with voice services, yet so far they mainly focus on servicing and do not allow for the full booking of a flight. Amazon, Apple and Google aim to become part of everyday’s life with their digital assistants.
Phocuswright research with US travellers confirms the interest in using voice for a multitude of travel-related tasks, from search for flights and hotels to information about destinations and more.. More than half of travelers are comfortable requesting general information using a voice-powered digital assistant. Smart speaker adoption does also show rapid growth. Canalys predicts the market will more than double from predictions of 100 million for 2018 to hit 225 million units by 2020.
Sun Express has been driving innovation and digital transformation. Only in the last two years they migrated to a modern PSS system allowing easy integration of other services, introduced a new loyalty approach, a chat bot service, whatsapp chat services and more. They are one of the few airlines actively participating in IATA hackathons and building on NDC..
“We’re proud that SunExpress is the first airline worldwide to offer a voice-driven booking option. We’re actively taking a pioneer role in driving the travel sector’s digital transformation,” says Peter Glade, Commercial Director of SunExpress.
This is possible via the innovative and state of the art airline retail engine powered by InteRES.
Truly native to NDC and ONE Order, the Airline Retail Engine is an integrated offer and order management system with its very own NDC API that enables airlines to take control of their own digital marketing. Easily adding new channels – ones like the Alexa skill – is a major advantage of this retail tool. With the Airline Retail Engine, airlines fully own and access their customer search data, offers and bookings. They can also tailor content to a specific distribution channel.
Thanks to the Airline Retail Engine, SunExpress customers in Germany can now use Alexa to search for and book flights by voice – and they can even pay for them using Amazon Pay. At launch, the Alexa integration is supported in German, with English to follow. In future, customers will also be able to book ancillaries via Alexa. The Airline Retail Engine can be fully integrated with any airline host (PSS).
“The new Alexa skill is the latest example of how our Airline Retail Engine opens up totally new horizons for airlines. Airlines can dip their toes into digital marketing in real-time, without taking a lot of risk,” notes Alexander von Bernstorff, Director Airline Solutions at InteRES. “You can pilot the Airline Retail Engine in parallel to any existing distribution system. Yet it was built from scratch to take full advantage of NDC and ONE Order.”
Voice will continue to take over, and voice enabled travel services will keep improving. Early adopters such as SunExpress will have a cutting edge advantage in terms of competitive differentiation.