Generation Z: raised with technology, fully mobile-native, and the owners of multiple devices - these individuals have an ‘I want it now’ attitude.

Their expectations of cashless payments, using apps for booking travel and instant information at their fingertips makes this generation more demanding than any other. But, their need for convenience and quality, all at an affordable price, is not unique. Everyone expects information to be freely available, but brands must ensure that data is accurate or risk becoming out of touch, and ultimately out of pocket.

The likes of Uber and Airbnb have already focused their efforts on targeting and engaging with the on-demand traveller, setting the bar high for the rest of the industry. These modern and contemporary businesses offer quick and convenient travel options making researching and booking an entire holiday achievable in a matter of minutes through an app. Whether it be ordering a cab to share with other travellers as soon as you step off the plane or booking a room in a local flat for a weekend city break, the experience is tailored to individual needs, desires and requests. It’s a brilliant example of using dynamic data to tap into new markets.

Air travel is also seeing a movement towards creating an on-demand customer experience, and the backbone of this is reliable data. For air travel providers, improving day-of-travel information transparency is a necessity to impress the on-demand traveller. Most airlines now offer pre-departure options such as seat selection, boarding priority and more. Airlines can also provide up-to-minute schedules, flight status data and information on potential connections, information that keeps their travellers, partners and sales channels informed.

Skyscanner is a good example of a brand that is using data to provide choice, convenience and timely information to passengers. Using accurate data provided by OAG, this ensures passengers can access up-to-date flight status information, for up to 80 of the world’s busiest airports, right up until the point of departure. This is achieved by using comprehensive schedules data which is then overlaid with real-time flight status information.

Hugh Aitken, commercial director for Skyscanner, noted that from research conducted in March 2014 it showed that more than 20% of UK travellers checked their flight status information via mobile device or tablet and this will have only increased in the last two and a half years.

Ultimately, any on-demand service is determined by location and timing. For an air travel provider to deliver on this it must understand its customers to give them what they want. Investing in accurate and reliable data and analytics will proactively optimise any on-demand services. This will increase confidence and trust which encourages repeat usage and builds a valuable picture of the various target audiences. In turn, this ensures that each traveller is satisfied with their experience.

On-demand services reflect the current stage in the use of data within the aviation industry but only reflect a point in time as we move towards the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in building valuable personal relationships with airlines, online travel agencies and social media platforms.

A future in which the traveller demands an immediate ‘I want it now’ response with the power of AI represents a breakthrough moment in who actually decides on travel and the travellers’ relationship; is it a machine, an airline, a travel agent or perhaps the traveller themselves?

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