E-FILES: Airline grows 24X7 with Web

Air New Zealand, the leading player in the country's tourism industry, has just revamped its Web page and is working with the Telecom-EDS-Microsoft esolutions alliance for its online work.

www.airnz.co.nz

Air New Zealand, the leading player in the country's tourism industry, has just revamped its Web page and is working with the Telecom-EDS-Microsoft esolutions alliance for its online work.

Spokesman Cameron Hill says the airline wants to build relationships with customers over all available distribution channels, which obviously requires a Web presence.

"It gives us the ability to grow relationships with customers, provide 24x7 service to customers, build customer communications and drive product distribution."

The site includes information about fares for destinations in New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific Rim cities. Customers can select what seats they would like and pay via credit card.

"The focus is on delivering quality information to customers in a way that they can quickly and simply get the answer they require - examples being on-board 'info', inflight entertainment 'info', online schedules, online departure and arrival information and online booking," says Hill.

The new development with esolutions will give the company the ability to sell to large corporates.

Details are still sketchy, but one technology analyst from an international brokerage firm describes the effort as better "a genuine world-beater".

"The Internet is breaking rules and challenging traditional business models across all industries, travel included," says Hill.

"In the US travel is now one of the highest selling online categories, as this trend rolls out across other countries and markets the impact on the industry will be huge," he says.

The Internet means customers now have easy access to the raw information, plus the means to do something with it, at their fingertips.

"This means that, more than ever, companies operating in the travel industry must add value to the customer, in the product we sell, the price it is sold, the information we wrap around it, and the simplicity of our sites."

That means using the Internet to build closer customer relationships than ever before, he says. "[This] has significant impact on our organisation and the way we communicate, transact with and deliver service to our customers."

In particular, he says, it means the way customers are managed using both on and off-line channels, and how those channels are integrated becomes an issue, although Air New Zealand is not giving away details on this. "It requires a large degree of integration across existing systems, and also requires the development of a number of new skills and expertise in our people and organisation."

The site predominantly uses a combination of Sun, Oracle and Cisco technologies - again, the company is not saying exactly what - and is hosted internally.

The main Web site partner is Clearview / Zivo.

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