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Digital Transformation in The Hospitality Sector

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Human-Written

Words: 2535 |

Pages: 6|

13 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Words: 2535|Pages: 6|13 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Digital Reach of IndiGo Airlines
  2. Website Breakdown
  3. Mobile Application Breakdown
  4. Social Media Leverage
  5. Conclusion
  6. Strengths
    Weaknesses
    Opportunities
    Threats
  7. References

It has been close to fifty years since the commercial use of internet began and during this course of time, the businesses have changed at a remarkable pace all around. In today’s digital world (Verhoef et al., 2017) marketing and communication through internet has become highly important for any business to thrive and hospitality sector is not an exception. The term “Online Booking” became a catchphrase and companies such as MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip, Booking.com, Oyo, Expedia, etc., unheard of twenty-five years ago, have arisen as crucial players in the current modern economy. In 2018, close to 74% of the internet users in India purchased a product or service online (Hootsuite, 2019) and this percentage is still increasing. In accordance with Kannan and Li (2016), it can be said that the organizations nowadays highlight the importance of creating a digital relationship with consumers. Cambra-Fierro et al. (2017) argues that the current technological advancement has drastically changed the means by which consumers and companies interact and transact. The communicating nature of digital media with its capability to initiate conversations between individuals and firms in publics of sellers and consumers (Sashi, 2012) has thrilled practitioners with its ability to provide improved services to consumers and fulfil their needs. Thus, this study tries to understand how the advancement of digital technologies are restructuring the process and the strategy of marketing and communication and the interpretation of this conversion for research in the extensive field we call digital marketing.

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This research focusses on assessing the digital environment of the IndiGo Airlines, a low-cost carrier which is the largest airline in India with a market share of 47% as of August 2019 (Quarterly Report, 2019). The low-cost airline reported its 10th consecutive year of profitable operations in 2018 and it is beyond doubt that technology was indeed the firm’s passport to profitability. The company is continually enhancing the engagement with its customers to improve their travel experience. From multichannel direct sales which includes online ticket booking and airport counters to online flight status checking, IndiGo Airlines has leveraged all digital mediums thereby transforming the air travel in India. The company attempts to achieve one of its objectives, i.e. providing hassle free experience by initiating digital conversations with its customers. Thus, the approaches taken by the company to connect and interact with its customers as well as stakeholders digitally and its widespread online presence which holds the airline’s position aggressively in the market supports to fulfil the requirements of this paper.

Digital Reach of IndiGo Airlines

The potential benefits of the Internet and the World Wide Web has been widely acknowledged (Li et al., 2015; Wang et al., 2015; Salem and Cavlek, 2016). In order to gain competitive edge and accomplish organizational goals, businesses are progressively adopting e-business models. Nevertheless, the utilization of Internet by the firms to achieve business goals has changed drastically during the last few years. For instance, a simple presence of a website in the 90s and early 2000s for marketing strategies could make an organization an innovator in the industry but considering the current market conditions, having just a website is not really a good option. Leveraging the use of both website and other digital media platforms are becoming a coherent part of any organization’s overall marketing strategies.

As mentioned earlier, IndiGo Airlines with its comprehensive digital route map does confirm that technology is indeed their road to profitability. The company’s widespread digital presence is broken down as follows.

Website Breakdown

Even though it is widely mentioned, the website is indeed a necessary interactive marketing tool which establishes direct contact between companies and customers (Li et al., 2015; Chong and Law, 2019). Li and Wang (2010) claim that the efficacy of websites can be enhanced by the addition of more functional and interactive features and to this statement, IndiGo Airlines indeed stand as evidence. Starting with search engine optimization (SEO), the company in its Annual Report (2018) revealed that almost 59.5% of traffic comes from Search. The figure does reveal that the firm is utilizing effective SEO techniques to drive search traffic towards the website thereby increasing its visitors. With the website’s design and interactive as well as functional features, these visitors may be converted into potential customers.

Looking at the company’s website, it has a very simple yet organized construct. Even though, it has been stated by Salem and Cavlek (2016) that the content is more important than how attractive the website is, appearance does have a positive effect on retaining the visitors of the website for a longer period. The construct of the website is reflected upon the company’s logo design which in turn exposes the brand at a higher pace. Looking at the content being posted, it is mostly ad campaigns promoting offers, add-on services, popular travel destinations and guide to explore those destinations. One of the captivating features of the website is the “Get Inspired” section where it displays the popular destinations in accordance with the time of year. This not only offers the visitors a travel guide but also reveals the airline’s widest connectivity. Another most innovative feature in the company’s website is “Dottie”, an AI chatbot which response immediately to the customers' enquiries and questions. Even though the technology is at the maturing stage, it does create a more positive customer experience as well as result. The company also claims that by next quarter, the chatbot will be able to handle bookings according to the customers’ requests and preferences.

Other than the above-mentioned features, the website does have all the mainstream functions such as booking portal, web check-in portal, online flight status check, special assistance, feedback section, contact details, etc. The booking portal’s construct is very convenient and again, the company has taken it a step further by adding the option of editing the bookings being done already. This is a feature which rarely witnessed in any of the airline websites. Even though it doesn’t have geography-specific web-pages, it does have the option of paying through multiple currencies, thus, providing the customers with user-friendly and hassle-free booking experience.

The website also provides information regarding the company, its investor relations, career direction for the job seekers, press releases serving the media, IndiGoReach – its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives and of course, any information pertaining to the customer queries. It also has a special feature, “Weather Advisory”, which at the best level tries to predict weather conditions, so that the passengers can manage their bookings accordingly in case if there is any delay or cancellation of the flight due to bad weather. The company also has its stamp on conventional digital marketing techniques and one such is email marketing. Scrolling down to the bottom of the webpage, an option of subscribing to the company’s “travel companion” campaign with email addresses is available wherein subscribers will be notified with exclusive offers and the latest news on their products and services directly to the inbox.

Mobile Application Breakdown

The rapid development of mobile technologies resulted in the multiplication of various smartphone applications. In response to the customers’ needs, different segments hospitality industry, including travel, tourism and the hotel industry altered the ways of service operations and delivery (Lee, 2017; Fang, 2017). With the increased usage of mobile applications for info and activities related to travel and tourism, consumer engagement with mobile travel applications becomes extremely crucial for travel-related companies as it leads to a marketing approach known as the “brand in the hand”.

IndiGo Airlines with its mobile application confirm that it is in par with market trends. The application is very much like the company’s website but however provide some more insights regarding the product or service being offered. The company emphasizes on leveraging the mobile-first approach as over 50% of the bookings come from mobile application. Thus, the company added some extra features apart from the regular ones such as the booking portal, mobile check-in, flight status check, details on offers and add-on services, feedback section, contact details, etc. The additional features include the record of completed and current bookings, weather advisory, IndiGo Alerts, Documents, and IndiGo Cash.

The “Weather Advisory” option in the mobile application is much more detailed than the one on the company’s website. This feature guides passengers with its weather predictions so that they can manage their time accordingly in order to avoid a rushed drive to the airport. Another feature which is appealing is the IndiGo Alerts. This option displays the day to day updates of the Airlines such as traffic conditions in the city, boarding guidelines, details regarding arrivals and departures, etc. thereby truly creating a hassle-free experience to its customers.

The most captivating feature in the mobile application is the ability to scan and store photo identification documents under the “Your Documents” section. This feature comes in very handy as nowadays most of the passengers don’t wait in the long queue of the check-in counters, instead proceed with a mobile or web check-in. It also offers a sort of ease factor at the time of check-in at the airports. Another most important feature is the tab of IndiGo Cash where the refund amount due to rescheduling or cancellation will get credited which can later be transferred to the bank account if needed. Even though, this feature is of not much help to all the passengers, it comes in very convenient for the company’s frequent customers. Other than these, the mobile application also provides a simple, yet organized and rich construct which again reflects the company’s logo design.

Social Media Leverage

The utilization of social media to encourage brand loyalty by engaging customers is becoming a universal concept (Pongpaew et al., 2017). Sashi et al. (2019) argue that entrance of social media with its potential for engaging with consumers and building relations has thrilled both marketing academics as well as practitioners globally and generated much interest in the fields of consumer engagement and interactivity. Hospitality industry invested ample resources on leveraging social media due to its widely acknowledged potential for establishing brand-consumer relations and IndiGo Airlines is not an exception.

IndiGo Airlines has its range widely spread over social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. The business page on Facebook focuses on providing weather and traffic advisory and day to day updates regarding the offers, add-on services, the flight schedule, etc. It also has contents such as feedback videos of passengers live from the airports and trivial games and quizzes which the firm conducts to actively engage with its customers and to better expose their brand. In Twitter as well as Instagram, the organization posts contents which are in accordance with festivities, seasons and runs long term marketing campaigns, highlighting the budget travel experience. These seasonal campaigns conducted by IndiGo Airlines focus on its product and service offerings during those seasons. Apart from these, Facebook messenger and Instagram Message are also used as a tool to manage the company’s online reputation. For instance, a terrible review of the airline’s service in the commentary section of its Instagram post will be acknowledged within a span of thirty minutes thereby ensuring customer satisfaction as well as retention which act as a thrust to lift its online reputation.

The LinkedIn platform is utilized solely for the purpose of career direction for the job seekers at the IndiGo Airlines. The company posts content regarding the vacancies in the organization, its departments and work culture, details pertaining to employee benefits and recognition, its testimonials and their workplace reviews which in turn helps the job seekers to get insights as to how IndiGo Airlines as a company to work with and guide applicants to fulfil the requirements of the company.

Conclusion

The IndiGo Airlines, though, realized the potential of the Internet and World Wide Web, it is still allocating resources to continuously innovate its marketing approaches through digital space in order to outfly its competitors. IndiGo Airlines is coming up with multilingual approach to attract more consumers. The low-cost airline is working on the multilingual tactic in its digital marketing strategy for engaging with and retaining consumers from tier II and III cities. The airline is currently aiming at eight Indian languages, which includes Bengali as part of its outreach plan. The company officials claim that the digital presence for the business is very crucial and thus its prime focus is on regional languages to reach out to more customers. The low-cost carrier claims that the Hindi version of the website will be launched by the next quarter and mobile application in the regional language soon.

The company focuses on having a vast digital outreach and has designated a separate digital team for assessing closely the trends in digital mediums thereby leveraging it to deliver a high quality of service to its stakeholders. As mentioned earlier, the company is also working on improvising the self-service chatbot “Dottie” to handle all the booking requests and respond immediately to the consumers’ queries. The social media optimization, creation and exploitation of systems to collect, analyse and process big data to add the component of personalization to the existing hassle-free experience element is at a higher degree of scrutiny by the organization.

Based on the study conducted, the SWOT analysis of IndiGo airlines is as follows.

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Strengths

  • Airlines is one of the largest low-cost operators in India.
  • It's fleet size owing to its market share of 47% and its widened connectivity.
  • Its usage of digital media such as website, mobile application, and social media to establish brand-customer relationships.
  • Clever and aggressive marketing and communication strategies.

Weaknesses

  • Not well established in the international market.
  • Past incidents with service delivery which deprecate the brand value.

Opportunities

  • Establishing itself in the international market to boost its business.
  • The rise of budget air travellers which acts as a push to its profitability.
  • The advancement of artificial intelligence and leveraging the same to provide better service quality.

Threats

  • Fierce competition in the segment of low-cost airlines.
  • Rising fuel costs which may affect the business margins.

Thus, for any business to sustain the fierce competition in today’s digital world, it is crucial for practitioners to study and leverage the usage of artificial intelligence and technology to better connect and engage with their customers, broadly, stakeholders.

References

  1. Cambra-Fierro, J., Melero, I., & Javier Sese, F. (2017). Online customer-initiated contacts and the development of profitable relationships. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 26, 13-22. doi: 10.1016/j.elerap.2017.09.004
  2. Chong, S., & Law, R. (2019). Review of studies on airline website evaluation. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 36(1), 60-75. doi:10.1080/10548408.2018.1494084
  3. Fang, J., Zhao, Z., Wen, C., & Wang, R. (2017). Design and performance attributes driving mobile travel application engagement. International Journal of Information Management, 37(4), 269-283. doi: 10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2017.03.003
  4. Hootsuite, (2019). Digital 2019 Q2 Global Digital Statshot. Retrieved from https://hootsuite.com/resources/digital-in-2019
  5. InterGlobe Aviation Limited. (2018). Annual Report 2018-19. Retrieved from https://www.goindigo.in/information/investor-relations.html?linkNav=investor-relations_footer
  6. InterGlobe Aviation Limited. (2019). Q2 July to Aug 2019. Retrieved from https://www.goindigo.in/information/investor-relations.html
  7. Lee, S. (2018). Enhancing customers’ continued mobile app use in the service industry. Journal of Services Marketing, 32(6), 680-691. doi:10.1108/JSM-01-2017-0015
  8. Li, X., & Wang, Y. (2010). Evaluating the effectiveness of destination marketing organisations' websites: Evidence from china. International Journal of Tourism Research, n/a. doi:10.1002/jtr.772
  9. Li, X., Wang, Y., & Yu, Y. (2015). Present and future hotel website marketing activities: Change propensity analysis. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 47, 131-139. doi: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2015.02.007
  10. Salem, I. E. B., & Čavlek, N. (2016). Evaluation of hotel website contents: Existence-importance analysis. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, 7(4), 366-389. doi:10.1108/JHTT-04-2016-0020
  11. Sashi, C. M. (2012). Customer engagement, buyer-seller relationships, and social media. Management Decision, 50(2), 253-272. doi:10.1108/00251741211203551
  12. Verhoef, P. C., Stephen, A. T., Kannan, P. K., Luo, X., Abhishek, V., Andrews, M., . . .Zhang, Y. (2017). Consumer connectivity in a complex, technology-enabled, and mobile-oriented world with smart products. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 40, 1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.intmar.2017.06.001
  13. Wang, L., Law, R., Guillet, B. D., Hung, K., & Fong, D. K. C. (2015). Impact of hotel website quality on online booking intentions: ETrust as a mediator. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 47, 108-115. doi: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2015.03.012
  14. Pongpaew, W., Speece, M., & Tiangsoongnern, L. (2017). Social presence and customer brand engagement on facebook brand pages. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 26(3), 262-281. doi:10.1108/JPBM-08-2015-0956
  15. Sashi, C. M., Brynildsen, G., & Bilgihan, A. (2019). Social media, customer engagement and advocacy. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 31(3), 1247-1272. doi:10.1108/IJCHM-02-2018-0108
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Digital Transformation in the Hospitality Sector. (2024, February 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/digital-transformation-in-the-hospitality-sector/
“Digital Transformation in the Hospitality Sector.” GradesFixer, 13 Feb. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/digital-transformation-in-the-hospitality-sector/
Digital Transformation in the Hospitality Sector. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/digital-transformation-in-the-hospitality-sector/> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
Digital Transformation in the Hospitality Sector [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 13 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/digital-transformation-in-the-hospitality-sector/
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