Q: What should travel managers know about reducing air travel costs and keeping their travelers in policy?
A: At Delta, we understand that every customer has different travel policies and needs, so we offer a wide array of products so our customers can choose what they value. Delta’s award-winning Sales Account Teams take a consultative approach to contracting, ensuring a partnership with Delta and our airline partners fits the needs of our customers’ business.
Additionally, we know that keeping corporate travelers within a corporation’s preferred booking channel can be challenging as they are often more comfortable booking in online shopping experiences that provide more detail at their fingertips. Because of this, we’re working with our TMC and travel manager partners to develop an exceptional shopping experience that provides more information about Delta’s products. We also work with these partners to optimize the online booking tool experience so that it is trusted and reliable based on the travel managers’ preferred suppliers and travel policy.
Q: What is Delta doing to help travel managers?
A: Delta aims to provide corporate travel managers cost and time saving value through customized corporate agreements, a full suite of meetings products, and benefits that go beyond the contract, such as Corporate Priority benefits for their travelers. And our online self-service tools put program details at the travel manager’s fingertips, including accessing the real-time value of their relationship with Delta through transparent, on-demand reporting.
Additionally, we know that responsive and reliable service are the most important things to ensuring travel managers’ success. Delta has dedicated best-in-class sales account executives and a 24/7 sales support team that responds to customers’ needs at a moment’s notice. We also lead the industry in operational performance and our Operational Performance Commitment underscores our promise to get business travelers where they need to go, when they need to be there.
Q: How does your expansive route network make business travel more efficient?
A: With the help of our airline partners, we get our shared business travelers to the destinations they want the most. We have a long-standing partnership with Air France/KLM and Virgin Atlantic to serve the top European markets, Korean Air to expand our trans-Pacific reach, and we have two strong trans-border US partners in Aeromexico and WestJet. With the addition of our recent investment in LATAM, Delta with our partners will serve 435 destinations worldwide. Once complete, we’ll be able to offer our corporate customers a greater array of worldwide destinations while providing a convenient, seamless travel experience no matter where they choose to fly in the world.
Recently, we’ve also expanded the Delta network in response to customer demand, including building new hubs in key business markets like Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York City. In Europe, we’re expanding our network from the U.S. to London by 15%, and in Asia we’re going to become the No. 1 U.S. airline to Haneda in 2020, Tokyo’s closest and most convenient airport.
Efficiency is also about reliability and the travel experience. Delta focuses on offering the best domestic and international experience for business travelers by creating a more seamless travel journey. We’re consistently ranked first in operational reliability because everyone at Delta – including our Operations teams, the Global Sales Support team and the entire Global Sales organization – is focused on our customers success, the success of their business, and the success of their travelers. Delta and our partners are committed to not only getting customers where they need to go but getting them there on-time and with their bags.
Q: Please describe the Corporate Priority experience and offerings for business travelers.
A: Our business partners’ travelers are our priority. As such, we offer a bundled set of benefits, based on customer feedback, that corporate travelers can experience across Delta and – unique in our industry - across four of our joint venture airline partners: Aeromexico, Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic. Corporate Priority benefits include Priority Boarding so business travelers can get settled in early, access to a better seat choice so travelers can be more productive onboard, and prioritization when there is a service disruption to ensure business travelers are protected when they need it most.
Q: How does Delta respond to consumer feedback?
A: Delta thrives on customer feedback to drive innovation and development across the industry. Along the way, we solicit feedback through customer research and our formal customer Advisory Boards. As a member of the Board, these customers provide input into how we can support them and their travelers more effectively and get a sneak peek into Delta’s areas of focus. We also track corporate traveler satisfaction through post-flight surveys and engage our sales account executives in the feedback process —they continuously work to understand our customers, their travelers, and their industries to ensure we are providing the most relevant products, services and solutions to support their business.
We use insights from these various forms of feedback as we invest in improvements along the journey, in an iterative way. We listen, we act, and then we listen again to ensure our customers’ expectations are exceeded at every step in the process.
Q: Tell me about the latest updates to your mobile app. What's next on the product road map?
A: In 2019, we made several enhancements to elevate the award-winning Fly Delta app. In February, we launched the ability for customers to use personal loyalty miles to upgrade their onboard experience in the app. This gives corporate travelers the ability to use the miles they’ve earned while traveling on the products that mean the most to them. An industry first announced in September, Delta customers can now check-in for Delta codeshare flights that are operated by our partners Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic through the Fly Delta app or on delta.com. This works even if the first flight in the itinerary is operated by Air France, KLM or Virgin Atlantic and customers will receive a boarding pass and seat assignment for every leg of their journey. Additionally, Delta customers traveling on itineraries that include Air France and KLM flights now can select seats during the booking process on the Fly Delta app.
Earlier this summer, Delta became the first airline to announce the integration of Apple’s Messages app for on-the-go customer assistance, which is now integrated into the Fly Delta app. Coming later this year, customers with the app will see integrated security wait times, the ability to pre-select meals and auto-check-in for International flights. In terms of what’s next, we’re constantly reviewing feedback from our customers so we can continue to evolve the app to deliver the best experience possible.
Q: How does Delta personalize and improve the online customer experience?
A: At Delta, we are working to give travelers the premium shopping experience they expect and deserve through forward looking, innovative technologies. We believe airline retailing needs to evolve to allow customers to clearly see all their product options across carriers. To do this, Delta has partnered closely with ATPCO in building the foundation for Next Generation Storefront – the new industry standard for a modern retail shopping experience. Delta is also investing in New Distribution Capability (NDC) compliant tools to provide a common language regardless of channel and together with Virgin Atlantic, were the first airline partnership to achieve NDC Certification.
We’ve also developed customized traveler sites to help travel managers communicate the benefits their travelers receive when flying with Delta. These sites are company-specific and offer detailed information about what a corporate traveler can expect when flying with Delta on business. Having this level of information helps reduce travelers’ stress, making them more productive on the road.
Q: What are the wins & highlights, and the headwinds & challenges you’ve faced in the last year?
A: Our customers’ success is what has driven Delta’s success. For starters, Delta is drawing the blueprint for the industry by opening the first biometric terminal in the U.S. with a focus on making the airport experience faster and easier for travelers. Over the next few years, we’ll be making investments of over $12 billion in facilities projects, including everything from centralized check-in lobbies and security screening areas to larger Delta Sky Clubs.
Delta also invested in important enhancements to our on-board experience this year. The A220 will replace 20% of older, less efficient aircraft by the end of the year and brings an elevated customer experience to the top business routes with its spacious interior. We also upgraded the Boeing 777 aircraft that offer four cabin experiences, including the award-winning Delta One Suite.
We also announced enhancements to our on-board offering this year. Delta One and domestic First Class customers now experience regionally inspired and seasonally refreshed meals that they’ve pre-selected. We introduced a redesigned International Main Cabin experience, available November 5th, which will include a welcome cocktail, bistro-style dining and exceptional customer service. This focus on hospitality and service across cabins helps ensure corporate travelers are refreshed and ready to tackle the business day upon arrival.
Additionally, Delta is focused on ensuring customers have a stress-free flight experience with on-board entertainment. We have the most aircraft with Wi-Fi, keeping travelers productive on the road when needed. If travelers are looking to relax on their way home, we have an industry-leading content lineup on one of Delta’s 700 seat-back screens, more than any other airline in the world. Delta has more than 3,000 movies, TV Shows and Music selections and just announced the addition of award-winning Hulu Originals.
Our biggest headwind, like all other airlines, is uncontrollable weather. To combat this, we’re working to integrate the most innovative technology and equipment that helps maintain our operational performance in the safest way possible. Additionally, Delta continues to invest in new tools and technology, like predictive maintenance, that minimize cancellations by using historical data. Last year, Delta invested millions of dollars to enhance our winter weather processes, including new de-icing trucks that remove and prevent ice from reforming on the aircraft before takeoff. We’re looking forward to continuing to get our customers where they need to go and on-time, despite the unpredictable weather.
Q: Please describe your meteorological center and how it improves Delta’s operations during inclement weather.
A: Delta Meteorology is a team of experts that works directly with employees across the system to monitor the weather for Delta’s global operation and make sure travelers get to their destination, on-time. Our Operations Control Center oversees more than 5,600 daily flights. They are continually looking at the data available to minimize flight disruption and estimate times of impact, so our customers remain well informed.
Delta’s Weather Information tool is an interactive forecasting system is used to track advancing weather data in one centralized location and helps Delta teams determine the impacts to the crew, catering, airport operations, customer contact centers and any other team that supports our customers during inclement weather.
Travel managers can rest easy knowing that we’ve got a team of experts whose primary purpose is to get their travelers to their destination safely.