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“It might seem like a paradox, but if you want to revolutionise group travel, you have to focus on individuals. That’s the ultimate goal of all our product innovations,” explains Quentin Rouxel, who launched Find & Fly – Pro Sky’s online platform for simple group flight management. The Marketing & Product Development Director tells us in this interview how he got the idea for Find & Fly and why customer-focused product development is so important.
Quentin, you’re the creative mind behind new Pro Sky products. Find & Fly is your biggest success so far. How did you get the idea of embarking on such a massive project?
“It actually started with a single question: how can we offer customers added value on their shopping trip, at the same time as making Pro Sky more efficient? When we looked into it, we made a startling discovery: we found that almost 30% of our operational work was solely spent calculating price estimates for our customers so that they could decide whether the destination fitted into their event budget. This process was less than ideal for both the customers, who had to wait for information, and for the team, who were investing so much time in research. And so we looked for a solution on the market. But there was none to be found. It became clear that we had to do it ourselves. And we knew that we had to change the status quo to do so.”
That sounds like a challenge. Where did you start?
“With the facts and data we had. I am lucky enough to work for a company that has been gathering masses of industry data on flight information, airline company prices and also the needs and expectations of event planners for over 24 years. We knew that we could transform the information in this data into a unique product for our customers.”
So that means that you first had to evaluate masses of data sets?
“Right. We analysed around 200,000 price calculations from various airlines. We wanted to use this gold mine to construct a prototype that automates the price calculation for charter flights.”
But even a prototype needs a concept and an IT structure.
“Absolutely. That’s why we asked various experts to join our team. For example, one of our colleagues had engineering experience, one had airline expertise, and another had experience of the charter business. French, German or Croatian, it was an interesting mix!”
It was not a simple project, though, was it? How long did the first prototype take?
“Actually, it took just a few weeks. Users could then simply enter their departure and arrival airports, required dates and number of passengers, and the platform delivered the estimated budget for the right aircraft charter category in no time. The platform, now called Find & Fly, has been online in beta since 28 March 2018 but we are constantly working on it.”
Does that mean you’ll be adding more new functions in the future?
“Yes. Find & Fly is the result of a learning process based on customer feedback and data analysis. We want to make organising group flights easier. We also want users to be able to find the right solution and fly, just like the name says. That means we have to listen carefully to what MICE planners need and provide solutions to their problems. This is the only way that we can add value. So we asked them. Their biggest challenges are finding destinations within budget, getting quick estimates and being able to easily compare the options – regardless of whether there are ten or several hundred passengers.”
So that means that customer needs are central to product development?
“Completely. And that’s how we're shaking up the group flight industry’s codes with Find & Fly. Whether accessibility or travel costs – coordinating group flights is a challenge. Find & Fly helps users to get all the important information in a straightforward way, saving them both valuable time and money.”
Is personal contact still necessary?
“Yes. We use technology to do what it does best so that we can focus our time and energy on what we do best. And that’s personal advice, one-to-one discussions, that no tool can provide. Technology is brilliant at managing transactions, but it provides fewer ways of maintaining relationships.”
So the tool does the preparation and the team takes care of the details?
“Exactly. By creating digital solutions, we offer our customers the option of accessing independent information, wherever and whenever they want it. This means that they can do their preliminary research and come to us with a much more specific inquiry. And this means that our flight consultants can then spend more time with them focusing on their specific needs and finding the best possible solution.”