Chinese airlines are suffering some pain points when they are intended to build their own eCommerce IT solution.
1. Poor integration between EC and PSS
PSS vendors’ strategy is always to provide an EC total solution to their PSS users instead of providing internet booking service (e.g. APIs) to them. Yet, the PSS provider of Chinese airlines at present has no such a good solution, their solution is still under development, and hopefully they need at least two or more years to deliver a good solution to Chinese airlines.Most airlines want to build their own EC platform by developed by themself or even purchase/rent a mature software product, but since they can not access to PSS core ( like reservation/departure/ET etc.) for full functions, it gets hard for them to go forward.
2. Lack of good pricing tool
Assume Chinese Airlines web applications can access to PSS for booking and ticketing, they are lack of a pricing tool to support online sale. Some airlines developed their own pricing tool, yet they encountered some issues like the ATPCo data processing and complex routing pricing.Chinese airlines are becoming key players in SkyTeam and Star Alliance, the cooperation between alliance members are more and more important. But when they come to online web applications, Chinese airlines found that the pricing of interline products (like SPA) is a big challenge if they develope their own pricing tool.
3. Weak shopping functionality
Normally, PSS vendors should be able to provide better shopping functionality since they own the availability and fare data. But unfortunatly, because airlines have their own pricing tool and PSS vendor controls the flight availability data, the shopping functionality of airlines websites is very poor.So far most airlines websites can not support calendar shopping, fare family shopping, budget shopping, one-origin/multi-destination shopping, award shopping, etc.Some airlines are talking to some shopping engine solution providers like DataLex/Google ITA, but again it is a problem to integrate these systems with PSS. Currently some airlines are using EC suit provided by Amadeus for the overseas websites, but they found it is very hard for them to personalize their websites since Amadeus gives them a community model suit.
4. No support to ancillary service product
When every airlines are talking about the ancillary service revenue, Chinese airlines is eager to sell ancillary product online. One of the top 3 airlines says it is intended to transform from a simple carrier to a travel&aviation service integrator, ancillary service product sell is very important.The business people in airlines is willing to sell seat, vip lounge, baggage through EC channel, but the system can’t support. Even so far, most airlines don’t know how to support ancillary sale and have no any plan to build such systems.
5. Weak support to non-air product, and no support to dynamic packaging
Passengers will find most airlines have the functionality of non-air product selling, like insurance, hotel booking, car rental, holiday package booking, but they also find they can purchase these products with cheaper price on OTA's websites. So so far airlines earn very little sales revenue.The business people is willing to provide package products like ticket+hotel to the passengers, but the system is lacking of dynamic packaging functionality.6. Need a better CMSAt present most airlines are using poor functionality CMS (Web Content Management System). Or even some airlines have no CMS especially for their mobile app, mobile site. They need an overall CMS to cover all websites and mobile app.
7. Lack of architecture management
For historical reasons, most airlines are lack of enterprise architecture design for eCommerce. Airlines are still in the process of building the capability of enterprise architecture design and management.