ATPCO creates structure for airline COVID-19 travel advisory measures
Airline COVID-19 health and safety information is getting more organized and streamlined thanks to ATPCO’s new product, Structured UPAs. This addition to Standardized UPAs provides travel advisories for over 300 airlines in an easy-to-integrate format that consumers can understand at-a-glance—and that fits seamlessly into shopping displays, in any part of the booking flow from search results to pre-travel reminders.
Structured UPAs complement our Reassurance UPAs, which use airline-specific media and messaging around health and safety measures to build flight shopper confidence. We introduced Reassurance UPAs in the beginning of the pandemic as a quick, reliable way to support the industry during a most difficult time, and they were quickly adopted by sales channels worldwide on a variety of platforms including corporate online booking tools, GDSs, online travel agencies, and metasearch sites.
While helping our sales channels adopt this content, we observed an additional need for more standardized and simplified information that channels could easily integrate and flight shoppers quickly understand. Our sales channel partners were struggling to independently gather this information while under stress of the pandemic. ATPCO created Structured UPAs to serve the community interest and eliminate duplicative efforts.
Five key reassurance topics
In consultation with several partner channels, including Expedia, ATPCO decided to provide this data in a central, structured, standardized format. Together, we worked out five initial topics:
- Cleaning procedures (including products used and frequency)
- Facial covering requirements
- Pre-flight temperature checks
- Seat-blocking policies
- Capacity limits
“We ultimately settled on five key topics after conducting our own user testing and combining that with what our channel customers were asking for, as indicated by their own testing. These topics offer meaningful differentiation between airlines, are easily understood by consumers, and rely on obtainable, objective data.”
Jason Rabinowitz, ATPCO’s Airline Research Manager
The data is sourced from airline websites and constantly updated by Jason's team. Not every topic was deemed suitable for inclusion. “Aircraft HEPA filters, for example, were not added to Structured UPAs because almost every jet-powered aircraft in service already has HEPA filters so it did not add much value,” said Jason. ATPCO worked closely with Expedia, who even provided an initial data document with their own research.
“Right now, it is so important that travelers have the cleanliness and safety information they need when considering travel, particularly air travel. Each situation is different, and this structured content gives us the flexibility to tailor, localize, and test messaging to help travelers make more informed decisions,” said Michael Gulmann, Senior Vice President of Transportation at Expedia Group. “We are really excited by the partnership and customer-centric focus of ATPCO in working together to develop this highly relevant content."
Speedy production, integration ease, targeting benefits
Structured UPAs offer channels a format that fits seamlessly into shopping displays without the major user interface adjustments that might otherwise be required to integrate full-size visual content.
“Structured UPA data is created in our Routehappy Hub which provides targeting capabilities such as setting date ranges for blocked seats or linking content to specific aircraft types,” said Jason. "The current platform used for the Amenities product would not have allowed us to bring this data to production as quickly.” he added.
Airlines can be assured that Structured UPA content is provided in a centralized, neutral industry source with the information that channels and customers care about most. For personalized content, “airline subscribers of Routehappy Content may customize travel advisories though our Premium UPAs product, which offers boundless opportunities to present airline-specific retailing information for any part of the travel journey, including Reassurance UPAs,” Jason added.
As for the future of Reassurance UPAs, ATPCO will continue to curate them to support the airline community, as long as the market need exists. If ATPCO does decide to stop broadly publishing free Reassurance UPAs, sales channel customers will have plenty of notice.
Communicating complex information
The biggest challenge for ATPCO was how to distill complex information, such as mask requirements or blocked adjacent seats on a carrier’s variously configured aircraft, into a headline with no more than 100 characters. “The beauty of the Structured UPA content is that we provide the category and an API response such as ‘yes’ or ‘no’—and our channel customers can decide how to communicate the message on their own,” said Jason. Channels can choose to communicate the information using a full paragraph or a simple icon display. Structured data is suited to integration at any part of the booking flow, from search results to pre-travel reminders.
As a trusted airline industry partner, ATPCO is committed to driving innovation and reducing complexity with cost-effective industry solutions. We will continue to listen to and work with all community partners to best support next generation airline retailing. In a post-pandemic world, new topics could include travel alerts and visa requirements, loyalty program details, and sustainability.