Can airlines move up the value chain and provide a fully packaged Hajj pilgrimage?

How airlines can shift to a travel marketplace

Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages are both rapidly growing markets. Since these are trips undertaken by millions of devout pilgrims every year in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, catering to them has become a highly competitive industry.  

Consequently, every year, airlines servicing these areas are in a mad rush to book the most passengers in collaboration with large travel agencies. 

Unfortunately, this has turned into an arrangement with two significant losers—the religious pilgrim and the airline. 

Why? 

The travel agents, realizing that these trips are extremely important to the faithful, leave no stone unturned in extracting the maximum amount of money possible from the pilgrims.  

Given that the price of tickets only accounts for around 20 or so percent of the pilgrimages’ cost, airlines do not make much money off the trips. 

Is it possible for airlines to rectify this issue and end up making more money while also delighting their passengers? 

The answer is yes, and the way to achieve this is simpler than you would imagine. 

Read on to find out how you too can jump on the bandwagon of offering fully packaged Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages and bring in tons of ancillary revenue that you are currently leaving on the table. 

Taking your customer experience to the skies 

One of the main customer pain points when planning a Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage is that they do not know much about travel and accommodation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As a result, they must search extensively for travel agents who will plan the whole trip for them. A major issue here is that the prices are exorbitant, and the customer is put in a position where they must suffer a large financial burden.  

Here, there is a massive opportunity in creating a pilgrim-centric service for travelers to Hajj and Umrah. As an airline, you can go beyond picking up and dropping passengers and provide them with an all-inclusive religious pilgrimage that they will cherish for the rest of their life.

Now, how do you go about doing this, and is stellar customer experience the only benefit?  

Airlines can go about doing this by becoming a travel marketplace, an “Amazon of travel” so to speak, which is a platform for various travel agents and other vendors to provide services for which you also get a commission.  

Apart from this, you can strike deals with travel agents to ensure that only your flights are offered as part of their tour packages.  

You can also offer the following and even more to customers while making substantial amounts of ancillary revenue along with the flights they book.  

  • Cars for hire 
  • Hotel bookings  
  • Travel health insurance 
  • Covid testing and support.
  • Flight, bus, and even train tickets. 

For passengers, this will be a godsend because competition among the travel agents listing on the airline’s portal will bring down prices for the travel package. Meanwhile, you can ensure that your flights never fly with empty seats, and rest assured that you are making the maximum amount of money possible from each passenger’s trip. 

Conclusion 

Airlines will benefit massively by moving up the value chain and providing a fully packaged Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage. The opportunity to scale operations is massive; nations, such as Malaysia and Egypt have largely underserved markets that will welcome the ability to complete their religious duties cost-effectively.  

Transitioning to such a travel marketplace model does not have to be complicated at all. Reach us at marketing@infinitisoftware.net to know how we can equip you with travel marketplace capabilities just as the pandemic subsides and demand begins to soar for pilgrimages.

Speak to a revenue management expert today

GroupRM allows you to offer optimal pricing and a seamless booking experience to group customers. Book a demo to know more.

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