Before the global pandemic hit, Japan Airlines had branded itself as an innovative airline, focused on new technology and processes to drive operational and business efficiency. Even as the travel industry hits reset, Japan Airlines continues to stay steadfast in its commitment to total quality management and serving its customers the best experience possible.
A key project that the airline committed to during this turbulent time included implementing the full functionality of PROS Group Sales Optimizer (GSO). Along with its partnership with PROS, Japan Airlines identified GSO as the key solution to future-proof it’s groups business, a significant portion of the airline’s revenue and passenger volume.
Groups, the Key to Recovery
Airlines around the world are looking for unique ways to accelerate recovery, especially focused on strategies that drive growth, improve the customer experience, and bringing passengers back and board as quickly as possible. With the successful implementation of GSO, Japan Airlines is able to streamline its groups business with more efficient distribution channels, improved policy enforcement, and overall increased productivity.
With the complete overhaul of its group pricing and sales management process, the airline is poised to drive continued success in the Asia Pacific Region. With the help of PROS, Japan Airlines identified core capabilities that were essential to the airline’s adoption and successful implementation of GSO:
- Refund and Cancellation of Bookings
Especially in the post-pandemic world, Japan Airlines wanted to ensure the greatest flexibility and transparency for its travel agents and customers. By being able to offer seamless cancellation processes and transparent refund policies within the group booking process, Japan Airlines is able to give its customers confidence when booking travel.
- Seamless Communication between Travel Agents and Sales Offices
Any successful relationship relies on clear communication – and the relationship between travel agents and the airline’s sales office is critical in driving sales. Many times, the process relies on manual steps, creating slowdowns and confusion. Japan Airlines, which prides itself on customer service, wanted to ensure it’s travel agencies are treated with the best of care, while also driving down response times and creating business efficiency.
- Managing Group Policies and Detecting Duplicate Bookings
Another critical focus for Japan Airlines was to ensure revenue integrity, while still rapidly growing its group business. By having guardrails in place, and managing all group policies in one location, the airline can look to quickly respond to requests while maintaining revenue management control.
- One-Stop Shop with Ticketing
By incorporating ticketing directly into the group sales process, sales team and travel agencies can bypass the GDS (Global Distribution Systems) resulting in a tremendous cost savings for the airline. Japan Airlines tapped into this new capability to create a truly seamless end-to-end group booking process.
The Road to Implementation
The implementation of GSO was a collaborative effort between both Japan Airlines and PROS, working hand-in-hand and adopting a ‘never give up’ attitude as road bumps occurred. The close collaboration resulted in a stronger group sales and management process that Japan Airlines would use to accelerate group bookings. For example, the implementation process required a rigorous testing process, to test thousands of cases and scenarios that may occur in real-life sales situations. The thorough process resulted in a cleaner solution while creating improved processes and best practices for both PROS and Japan Airlines. In the end, PROS was able to successfully deliver a complete end-to-end GSO solution.
Outcomes and Next Steps
On day one, Japan Airlines rolled out GSO to all travel agents and sales office users in their domestic market. Thanks to the rigorous testing and planning, the group sales and booking process with GSO kicked off without any issues. By the end of the day, GSO was used by over 260 travel agents and sales users and processed over 400 quotes for a total of 7,450 seats booked. Long term, Japan Airlines looks to build even stronger relationships with its travel agency community in order to accelerate bookings through group travel. Furthermore, the airline will look to benefit from seamless business operations and more efficient use of resources – critical for the current industry environment.
About the AuthorMore Content by Aditi Mehta