Your personal travel boutique in your pocket | Dorota Ziajka

Welcome to the Future Picks podcast. Our guest is Dorota Ziajka. Dorota is the Product Manager of our Triplake Mobile App solution, and today we’re talking about how airlines can improve customer experience using mobile apps.

In Dorota's own words: "Hello everyone, I’m thrilled to be here today. I’ve had the joy of being the Product Manager for Triplake Mobile Apps for almost two years now. I’m all about mobile apps and aviation—it’s where my passion flies high! In my role, I get the exciting opportunity to blend these interests daily."

What should airlines be looking for in a mobile app?

At the World Aviation Festival in Lisbon last year, one phrase really resonated with me: ‘The first impression of an airline is its mobile app.’ And we all understand the power of first impressions, right? I think airlines should aim for a mobile app that offers a seamless, smooth, ‘on-the-go’ experience.

It’s crucial for passengers to have a user-friendly interface, personalised features, and real-time updates at their fingertips, that’s what they are looking for in the apps. From booking to managing travel, everything should be effortless. Passengers are using apps not just for check-in anymore but for a comprehensive travel experience.

The current trend is showing a significant increase in general mobile app functionalities. Incorporating technologies like React Native has been a game-changer, allowing us to bring sophisticated apps to the market quicker and more efficiently.

Should airlines even have a mobile-first approach?

Absolutely! In today’s world, a mobile-first strategy isn’t just advisable anymore; it’s essential. Many travellers rely on their smartphones for everything related to their journey, from booking to boarding. Recent data shows a significant increase in mobile app usage among also airline customers, with over 80% of passengers preferring to use mobile apps for check-in and boarding passes.

A mobile-first approach allows airlines to meet their customers where they are, ensuring that services like fast check-ins, real-time flight status updates, and airport information are always at the passengers’ fingertips. This strategy improves customer satisfaction and keeps airlines competitive in a digital landscape that’s constantly evolving, offering a kaleidoscope of functionalities like Biometric Boarding, Real-Time Luggage Tracking, Flexible Rebooking Options, and others.

Can you give us an example of a success story?

A standout success story is definitely our partnership with Oman Air. Working in an agile fashion meant that very early in the development process, we handed the app over to Oman Air’s testers, and their feedback was instrumental along the journey.

This collaboration was crucial for customising the app to meet specific needs, marking a significant milestone for Branchspace as it was the first mobile app powered by our Triplake platform to go live. Designed with reusability in mind, it sets a precedent for future airline clients, showcasing our ability to deliver.

Can airlines use mobile apps for retail?

They definitely can. The topic has evolved dramatically over the last few years. Mobile apps have become an important platform for airline retail, offering personalised shopping experiences, exclusive deals, and onboard service ordering. The days when passengers only used apps for checking flights or booking tickets are gone.

Now, it’s like having a personal travel boutique right in your pocket. Imagine receiving a notification for a deal on your favourite seat or a special offer on lounge access you’ve been eyeing, all tailored just for you. This approach is not just about making extra sales; it’s about creating those ‘wow’ moments for passengers, making each trip a bit more special and a lot more personalised.

What were the main challenges you faced during a project and how were you able to overcome them?

Integrating our platform, Triplake, with various systems was a significant challenge certainly, especially when dealing with some legacy technologies. It was overall a very fast-paced process; the interim app was designed & developed in only 3 months and was the first major delivery of Triplake products for Oman Air using multiple interconnected product teams.

The project had an ambitious timeline so rapid adaptation to feedback and evolving design inputs were necessary. But yes, we tackled this by fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration between our team and our airline partner. I think this approach, combined with our agile methodology, led us to success.

What advice would you give to other people in your position?

My advice is to keep your mind open. It’s easy to fall into very granular work, especially when the scope is defined and you’re on a tight deadline. But in this position, you cannot lose the creativity, and the freshness in your overall approach.

It’s important to really love your product and to have a genuine interest in both technology and the industry, then benchmarking becomes natural, not only a habit. I also encourage other mobile app product managers to embrace change and stay adaptable.

The world of mobile apps is changing incredibly fast, and the digital landscape, especially in the travel industry, is constantly evolving. Staying informed about the latest trends and being willing to pivot when necessary is crucial. Also, never underestimate the power of analytics and listening to the users; they should always be at the heart of your approach.

What was your last great trip and why?

My last memorable journey was to Madeira. It was an incredible experience, filled with a lot of hiking and even more exploring the stunning natural beauty of the island, I highly recommend that destination.