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3.2

Airline

The airline industry is the best-performing industry in the 2018 study. It outperformed industries in every dimension except e-CRM, where it was narrowly surpassed by telecom companies.

Airline companies in the UAE are doing an excellent job in digital marketing and social media compared to other industries in the country. They create cross-platform campaigns on social media and interact with their customers on different social platforms. In digital marketing, the airline industry uses affiliate marketing and heavily creates content on its own websites, including microsites, to attract customers. Even so, it is important to note that the airlines are not the biggest buyer of digital display advertising on influential websites, preferring instead to buy advertisements on search engine results pages.

The digital experience offered by airlines both on their websites and through their mobile applications is good. The websites take advantage of the latest design technologies and can be used with the same ease on the desktop and mobile platforms. Android and iPhone applications are developed as travel companions and truly enhance customers' experiences when using them on their trips.

However, airlines' e-commerce and e-CRM abilities are not the best. While websites and mobile applications have helped to simplify the flight-booking process, airlines have yet to find a way to attract more indecisive customers and encourage them to buy tickets—indeed, the whole process of buying a ticket online is more oriented toward people who already know what they want and are on the website just to buy tickets. Also, airlines have strong loyalty programs and are able to personalize their customers' experiences at a high level. On the other hand, customer service options from both airlines are less thoroughly developed, failing to meet some basic standards. Neither airline answered written requests within two business days, and no other options were provided apart from calling customer service directly.

All in all, the airline industry is leading digitalization efforts among UAE companies. Other UAE companies should follow the airline industry's example to improve their digital offerings to an international standard.

Industry reports