Published in the Working Week section of Flight International, the interview features Harald Eisenaecher who talked about his 20-years’ experience in the aviation industry and the importance of pricing intelligence. Harald Eisenaecher also discusses the challenges and opportunities ahead of the travel industry.
A passion for travel, besides stints at online businesses, brought Harald Eisenaecher to his role of chief commercial officer at Infare, a data analytics company helping airlines market intelligence.
How did you get into aviation?
My career in aviation began more than 20 years ago, when I was hired by Lufthansa Cargo as vice-president of marketing, and then progressed to chief marketing officer of the passenger arm of the airline. During this time, I became fascinated by connecting people from all around the world and enabling them to create memories together.
How has your career progressed?
After Lufthansa, I moved into the online world. I joined eBay as chief marketing officer in Germany and then moved to run the online businesses of Deutsche Telekom, before returning to the travel industry as senior vice-president Europe, Middle East and Africa for Sabre. I became chief commercial officer at Infare last February. I guess I could say that travel is my addiction!
What are the highlights?
The favourite parts of my career all involve bringing people together and building high-performance teams. My absolute highlight is being at Infare right now – the intersection of airline, online and big data technology – at the heart of this fascinating industry. We are entrepreneurial, fast-growing and allow our customers to become more profitable every day. How much better can it get?
“Dynamic pricing will be key in driving profitability”
What is Infare?
At Infare, we are all about utilizing airfare data to create actionable pricing intelligence for the travel industry. We have spent more than 18 years developing our unrivalled airfare database and suite of market intelligence tools to support airlines with anything from benchmarking performance against competitors to identifying opportunities for revenue management and business development.
What does your job entail?
As chief commercial officer, I am responsible for revenue and everything connected to it. I think the best way to describe my job is that it is about getting the right product, at the right time, at the right price, to our valued customers and serving them in the best possible way.
Why is pricing intelligence so important to the travel industry?
Pricing intelligence is simply a key competitive advantage and a big driver of profitability, so more and more airlines and travel industry participants are using it. With so much competition between regional airlines, low-cost carriers and premium operators, the need to have an edge is vital. With an abundance of data available, having the inside knowledge to interpret the information allows airlines to take action. To do this, pricing intelligence tools are essential.
How is this industry evolving?
Dynamic pricing – already a standard in other industries, such as e-commerce – will become even more important as our industry evolves. Airlines will need to be completely up-to-speed in real time, with the latest pricing to personalize offers based on a customer’s information, buying behavior and external factors. As such, airlines will need to adopt pricing strategies already seen in other industries. Also, the growing importance of ancillary revenues for airlines means that it won’t just be airfare information at the centre of the attention, and we may very well see a whole range of revenues analysed in the same way. So the pricing intelligence environment is set to become more complex and more dynamic, with agility and intelligent tools being the key drivers of success.
What are the challenges?
For many airlines, competition will get tougher over the next five years, with more channels being utilized. As a result, an increased level of actionable data is required, along with expertise to analyse and act on the results. Pricing intelligence will become a crucial factor in supporting this. Not only will data remain the “gold” of the 21st century, the way airlines use their data will also continue to advance.
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