- Hamburg Aviation Conference 2012: Aviation and Passenger Satisfaction
Hamburg Aviation Conference 2012: Aviation and Passenger Satisfaction
150 aviation experts to attend renowned congress in Hamburg
International aviation is in a state of flux, with a clearly discernible transition from a pure transport industry to a service sector. The focus of individual companies – airlines, airports, aircraft manufacturers – on customer requirements, and the significance of this new approach, will be considered by around 150 experts from the academic & research sector and the industry at the Hamburg Aviation Conference 2012. The highly regarded convention will be held at Sofitel Hamburg Alter Wall from 22 to 24 February this year, with the theme “Customer orientation within the aviation industry: Do we always create value at all levels?”. This year’s conference is aimed at crossing the boundaries between industries, placing the customer and the customer’s expectations in the centre. One of this year’s main subjects is how social networks and the internet guide customer behaviour in aviation. The organiser of the conference is Hamburg Airport. This year’s speakers include representatives of the aviation industry along with trend researchers who will be looking at the development of customer requirements.
Michael Eggenschwiler, Chief Executive Officer at Hamburg Airport, will point to a broad strategic approach as a fundamental pillar of success for the industry as a whole when he speaks at the opening of the Hamburg Aviation Conference. All players, from travel agencies and tour operators to reservation systems, from aircraft manufacturers to airlines and airports, have to participate in responding to customer needs. “It is only when we succeed at involving all participating companies in aviation as a service industry that we can succeed at achieving high levels of passenger satisfaction,” according to Michael Eggenschwiler. In order to facilitate a systematic response to passenger requirements, the industry must move on from the old way of thinking and abandon the distinction between “my passenger” and “your passenger”. For passengers, a journey is a single experience rather than a set of distinct interactions with individual service providers such as airports, handling agents and airlines.
This year’s Hamburg Aviation Conference is reflecting an important trend: Aviation enterprises are discovering more and more how relevant customer requirements are for their success. Real-time communication via smartphones and tablet PCs plays a major role, as management consultant Ursula Silling (XXL Solutions) explains. “Today’s passengers expect the same sort of information flow that they know from other areas of life. The ability to plan and predict the process of a journey is the key. Passengers want to be informed about delays at check-in or the security checkpoint in good time, and they want to know how long it will take to get to their gate. Ultimately, in order to make optimal use of their time, they want to be able to plan the time at which they will need to leave the office and they want to know in advance which car park has spaces available. This is also important if they want to go to the hairdresser at the airport before they fly, or do some shopping.” The flow of information via the internet and social networks influences passenger expectations. Airports and airlines must therefore develop a joint, bundled approach to communication with passengers.
As a recognised expert in the fields of futurology, innovation management and organisational development, Professor Dr Eckard Minx, CEO of the Daimler and Benz Foundation, will speak about how and why companies must engage with changes in their operating environment. He will also explain just how the findings gleamed from this engagement can become effective and how the future viability of companies can be organised.
The speakers at the Hamburg Aviation Conference 2012, coming from a range of industries, are thus dealing with trends in consumer behaviour. The possibilities presented by Web 2.0 create ever more dynamic decision-making processes for customers. This results in more intense competition and demands that companies reconsider the classic segmentation within their industry. Alison Bryant, CEO of PlayScience, a research and consulting company, will show what the passenger of the future will look like and what expectations he or she will have of the flight experience.
One of the most significant international speakers at the Hamburg Aviation Conference 2012 is Prof. Michael R. Solomon, who specialises in the subject of customer behaviour and lifestyle trends. As Director of the Center for Consumer Research at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in the USA and a professor at the University of Manchester in the UK, his focus is on consumer behaviour. At the Hamburg Aviation Conference, he will speak about the growing influence of the customer on corporate decision-making. According to Solomon, it is essential that companies react to the wishes of their customers as quickly as possible so as not to be left behind by the competition.
This view is shared by Rohit Talwar, CEO of the consulting firm Fast Future, whose work is focussed on the sustainability of airports. His active clients include the Paris, Schiphol and Mumbai airports. His hypothesis is that the survival and growth of companies can only be assured with effective foresight, flexibility and untiring devotion to good customer service.
The significance of the internet and social networks for airlines is, of course, also a major theme of the conference. The challenges that an airline such as Air France/KLM faces in this field, and how it overcomes them, will be presented by KLM’s Director of eCommerce, Robert Zwerink. The airline already links the actual journeys of its passengers to their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, and presents these as a getting-to-know-each-other service to fellow passengers at check-in.
Other speakers due to address the conference include: Dr Holger Hätty, CCO Swiss; Oliver Wagner, Senior Vice President Direct Services Deutsche Lufthansa and Managing Director Germanwings; Gunnar Heinemann, owner of Heinemann Duty Free.
You can find further information about the conference on the internet at www.hamburg-aviation-conference.de.