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Podcast: Lufthansa Group VP Johannes Walter on investing in innovation

May 09, 2024
By Andrew Sheivachman
Categories Innovation

We’ve launched the Travel is a Human Emotion podcast to explore how travel’s most dynamic leaders are driving innovation and change.

For our first episode Spotnana Founder and CEO Sarosh Waghmar spoke with Johannes Walter, Vice President Area Management Home Markets and Global B2B Servicing at Lufthansa Group, at the end of 2023 to discuss key innovations shaping the company’s vision for air travel distribution and retail. Lufthansa Group is an investor in Spotnana’s Travel-as-a-Service platform and an industry leader on many distribution and sustainability efforts.

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Johannes talked about three initiatives Lufthansa Group is exploring to improve experiences for customers.

What is continuous pricing?

For years, airlines have searched for new ways to offer more compelling offers to customers.

Continuous pricing allows Lufthansa to offer competitive fares with finer price increments across booking classes, eliminating large price jumps and resulting in more affordable prices for passengers and corporate travel programs.

“It very simply means more attractive offerings, less jumps [in price], but also always a cheaper, lower price point than compared to previous distribution technology,” said Walter. “It is simply a benefit that is very clearly visible and also measurable because it’s just a differential between what the legacy price point is and what the continuous price point is. It’s a tangible benefit which doesn’t sound obvious at first.”

Continuous pricing is offered to travelers through modern retailing platforms like Spotnana and benefits travel programs looking to cut costs without sacrificing traveler experience.

Understanding Lufthansa Green Fares

As companies and travelers aim to reduce the impact of their flights on the environment, innovative airlines are offering more sustainable options during the booking process.

Lufthansa Group’s Green Fares include sustainable aviation fuel and high-quality carbon offsets, supporting its mission to ensure aviation is environmentally responsible for future generations.

“Sustainability is really at our core and we really want to make sure that we ensure that aviation is loved by generations to come,” said Walter. “That means we simply have to change technology in the long run. But until it’s there, we have to use technology that’s available. That means modern aircraft, but it also means sustainable aviation fuel and these green fares basically have two components.

Some fares are available for flights with 20% Sustainable Air Fuel (SAF) in the flight’s fuel mix, reducing carbon output compared to traditional kerosene-based fuel. For fares that offset 100% of the carbon produced by a seat, Lufthansa also offers an additional 20% bonus miles to passengers.

“There’s also benefit for the traveler himself or herself,” said Walter, “but from a corporate perspective, it’s definitely a [more] sustainable choice to make compared to our standard fare offerings, and the first step on a long journey that we want to embark on together with our customers.”

Driving towards more personalized retailing

Johannes predicts a future focused on personalized inspiration over comparison shopping, with AI providing tailored recommendations to simplify and enhance the traveler booking experience.

By using customer data and predictive analytics, airlines can provide relevant recommendations to simplify decisions for travelers and provide better value to travel programs.

The future of airline distribution will likely focus more on personalized service instead of comparison shopping alone.

“What I would personally love to see is less of a need to compare multiple options, but an inspiration path that is even more tailored to my needs,” said Walter. “Maybe I can, as a corporate traveler, for example, already ensure that I give a lot of information that’s relevant to me, whether [it’s] the kind of travel patterns [I have or] the kind of suppliers that I want to use, but of course, in line with corporate policies… so that I get a… very relevant offering in the end with the confidence that all the comparisons have been already done in the background and have been fact checked.”

To hear the full podcast, you can view the video here or subscribe to the Travel is a Human Emotion podcast on your favorite podcast service.