In an era where customer experience (CX) reigns supreme, travel companies are diversifying revenue streams to enhance the customer journey. Ancillary services have emerged as a powerful tool, helping travel companies go beyond the traditional and deliver personalised, value-added experiences.
As Head of Growth, Sam Dunscombe has been responsible for the long term strategic direction and the day-to-day deliverables of Mobilise since 2022, having previously held positions at EE. He shares his expert insight around successfully harnessing value from ancillary revenue streams with Mobile Magazine.
In his current role, Dunscombe leverages domain expertise in eSIM, digital transformation, embedded connectivity, telco, and SaaS to create innovative and customer-centric propositions, pricing, and go to market plans. As part of his mission to empower telco operators and enterprises with agile and scalable solutions that enable them to thrive in the digital age, he uses data science, machine learning, NBA, and CRM/CLM tools to optimise the sales funnel and enhance customer loyalty and retention.
As a leading provider of SaaS solutions to the telecommunications industry, Mobilise is focused on delivering highly engaging digital-first service propositions with excellent customer experience. The eSIM SDK provider’s deep industry knowledge and team of experienced specialists support building and executing transformational strategies for a wide range of clients including Virgin, Dixon's Carphone, Red Bull Mobile, Manx Telecom and Freenet.
What are ancillary services?
“Ancillary services for travel and tourism include things like extra luggage, currency, travel insurance, car hire and now, travel eSIMs,” Dunscombe shares.
“Such add-ons have gained immense popularity due to their potential to diversity revenue streams — both directly and indirectly. A PwC survey highlights that consumers are willing to pay a premium of up to 14% for hotel stays and 10% for airline tickets when exceptional customer experience is guaranteed. This consumer inclination has prompted travel companies to explore services that go beyond their core offerings both directly, as a complimentary purchase choice, as well as inclusive in more premium offerings to help create higher perceived value.”
Launching ancillary services as a travel company
“The ancillary services market is brimming with choice, and travel companies often find themselves struggling with a shortage of resources to handle the quantity of opportunities available. Therefore, travel service providers need to think carefully when considering the best ancillary service for them.”
Danscombe believes that there are three key qualities to a successful ancillary service:
- Direct application to the customer base. “Services that directly meet the needs of your customers — and that are aligned with the customer journey — are more likely to be successful.”
- Easy digital integration. “Travel companies should prioritise services that can be easily integrated in a fully digital way. Standalone services may struggle to compete, so ensuring seamless integration into the sales journey enables more cohesive CX. Services like travel insurance often include a lengthy sign-up process and verification which can detract from the core sales journey, and reduce overall conversion.”
- Data-driven personalisation. “Travel companies should consider how well a service allows for data-driven personalisation. According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers expect personalisation, and 76% get frustrated when they don't find it. Ancillary services that tap into customer data can enhance trust and engagement, while offering premium CX to ensure customer satisfaction.”
Travel companies entering the telecoms market
“Travel eSIMs are a relatively simple ancillary service to launch. According to Mobilise's recent survey, a significant portion of travellers are interested in purchasing travel eSIMs through their travel service provider — almost two-thirds of Gen Z, over half of Millennials, and more than a third of Gen X would do so,” Danscombe says.
“But many service providers are recognising this opportunity, and the market is becoming filled with an increasing number of standalone applications, which travellers can use to purchase an eSIM for more cost-effective roaming while abroad. These standalone applications, although functional, lack integration into the sales journey and the crucial aspect of personalisation.
“To enter the travel eSIM market successfully, opting for an eSIM software development kit is key. Mobilise offers eSIM SDK, which includes all of the required application programming interfaces (APIs) to launch travel eSIMs and directly from a preexisting mobile application. Instead of taking over 6 months to launch travel eSIMs, the whole process could be completed in as little as two weeks. What’s more, the onboarding journey is fully housed within the application itself, no need to use a QR code or leave the app to check an email.
“Opting for an integrated eSIM service gives the travel business an edge over its standalone competitors, as it creates a unique opportunity to provide a relevant service at a point in the sales journey without competition. For example, while a customer is booking their primary service — be it a flight or accommodation — an eSIM could be offered as an add-on that customers can purchase as part of their package.
“Working with a connectivity expert also creates opportunities to use data more effectively. Companies can use customer data to personalise their services — whether that's offers on eSIMs for a specific destination that a customer regularly travels to, or using network usage data to see what the data is being used for and offering specific packages tailored to these needs, all of course while being GDPR compliant.”
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