Navigating new airline ticket categories

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When it comes to booking travel, the vast number of options can make even the most seasoned traveler’s head spin. In an effort to compete within the crowded skies of the marketplace, many airlines have started to offer new categories of fares to their customers, allowing consumers more choice within the array of travel bookings. For example, what once was just “Economy” may now have multiple options, like Economy Basic, Economy Standard and Economy Plus, each with different amenities and restrictions.

Within these branded fare categories, airlines are able to pick and choose which amenities (e.g. carry-on luggage, cancellation fees, priority check-in) they’d like to bundle and include at each level. When a customer buys a ticket it may not include a checked bag, or additional fees may be required at the airport.  Or it may include something that the customer otherwise may not expect.

Branded fares and your customers

Adding to the confusion for loyalty program managers and your customers, branded fares can also vary by airline. What one airline calls Basic Economy could be called Standard Economy on another. You may even have two airlines that provide a fare called Basic Economy, where a full-size carry-on is included in one but not the other.

And, oftentimes the cheapest flights are displayed on the results page but lack the transparency of what those rates do and don’t include. Some travel sites then show upgrade options on a separate upsell page. Out of the gate (no pun intended), your customers may be frustrated as they’re shopping.

By incorporating branded fares more overtly into search results for end customers, loyalty program managers can remove barriers to purchase as customers complete their comparison shopping.

cxLoyalty’s branded fares approach

With a focus on minimizing the confusion created by these new fares, in 2017, cxLoyalty constructed a simple mechanism that allows a customer to filter in or out Basic Economy fare options from the results page, with a callout to the customer that certain rates may be cheaper but will have more restrictions.

cxLoyalty is now launching OpenBook, an updated user experience, where customers see more robust branded fares comparison directly in the search results including different categories and their features and amenities, displayed with points, cash or points+cash.

“OpenBook gives customers ultimate flexibility in a single view, giving them all the branded fares information up front,” said Mohammed Merchant, Senior Director, Travel Product Management. “OpenBook makes it easy for them to do the research on one page, empowering them to pick fare options that best meet their needs. Customers don’t have to wait until a later stage to be presented with other branded fare options and pricing.”

“At cxLoyalty, we focus on continuously refining the customer experience,” said Merchant. “We will continue to experiment with OpenBook, enhancing the flights shopping experience by showcasing various brands and upgrade options on the results page. As airlines continue to evolve their branded fare product offering, OpenBook will provide a best-in-class shopping experience.”

For more information on OpenBook, visit our contact page, select the option to learn more about loyalty program management and rewards content, and mention OpenBook in your query. 


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