By understanding the relationship between advance purchase and acceptance rates, airlines may be able to better target offers, reducing passengers contacted

June 29, 2018 | Author: Volantio Inc.

Volantio has been leveraging machine learning techniques to better understand the primary drivers of passengers’ willingness to change their travel plans. In our April update, we discussed how monetary compensation is NOT always the primary driver. You can read more on that story here.

This month, we highlight how the advance purchase window (defined in days prior to departure) impacts a passenger’s willingness to change their travel plans.


The graph above normalizes acceptance rates to the 0-4 day advance purchase window.

Key insights learned from our analysis:

  • A clear relationship exists between advance purchase and flexibility. This is fairly intuitive and expected - passengers who book at the last minute likely need to travel and therefore are less flexible with their travel plans.
  • However, perhaps more interesting, is the “plateau” that exists for tickets purchased 10 or more days prior to departure.
  • These passengers are ~4x more likely to accept an offer than those purchasing at the last minute, and their acceptance rates vary only slightly the further out they purchase.
  • For airlines, understanding these plateaus is critical to an improved customer experience. Rather than “blasting” all passengers with the same offers, by understanding how factors such as advance purchase drive acceptance rates (and where salient “spikes” and “plateaus” in acceptance rates exist), airlines can better target the right passengers with the highest probability of acceptance.
  • Ultimately this should lead to a greater number of acceptances with fewer passengers contacted, with the airline contacting the “right” passengers, not the “most” passengers.

Finally, it’s important to note that the above results will differ from airline to airline, and will change over time. However, they provide another useful starting point to think about improved passenger interactions.