Zipabout launches multi-modal operator-LED alliance

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Rather than speaking with different transport operators about different legs of their journey, Zipabout believes customers should be supported door-to-door through a single channel, in a move towards Personalisation-as-a-Service (PaaS).

UK-based company Zipabout is creating a commercial operator-led consortium that it says will span the entire transport network and improve the passenger experience through multi-modal collaboration.

Due to launch publicly next spring, the company claims the operator alliance will work to “develop a self-regulated, GDPR-compliant framework of data, revenue generation and ethics” aimed at increasing customer engagement and providing a personalised door-to-door journey for passengers across any mode of transport.

“Customers demand an effortlessly seamless journey across air to bus to road, from first to last mile, all tailored to their individual needs, and they want updates on it in real time,” said Alex Froom, co-founder of Zipabout. “Individually, operators cannot deliver this with the current siloed approach to sharing information. Every journey has multiple stakeholders and it’s only by working together that they can better understand the passenger and accommodate their needs.”

Froom highlighted how airlines and airports could benefit from sharing data with other transport operators through the consortium. Knowing passengers were delayed getting to the airport due to an incident on the motorway or severe weather, for example, means “they could scramble buses to the car park, deploy valet parking, open up another desk, or if the airline knows they will miss the flight, could call up standbys and re-allocate the tickets,” he said.

By communicating these measures to the affected passengers, Froom said, the air travel industry would be able to deliver a stress-free journey to the airport for each passenger, resulting in greater retail dwell time and increased customer loyalty and retention.

The consortium will be supported by the use of Zipabout’s data platform as well as its Connect technology, which enables operators to deliver personalised transport information to individual passengers through the operator’s own digital channels or through Facebook Messenger.

Using Zipabout Connect, passengers across any transport mode can opt in to receive relevant messages from the operator, including real-time disruption information or alternative route options. Throughout their journey, the conversation between passenger and operator remains open to allow for follow-up research or other journey-relevant communications.

The service is already available on National Rail Enquiries and offered by individual transport operators such as East Midlands Trains in the UK, but Zipabout believes for true seamless journeys, operators must create a “network effect.”

In a report titled “Personalisation in the Transport Industry,” Zipabout explained, “Transport and travel are considered to be the most logistically complex and data-centric industries in the world. Journeys rarely use only one mode, so to provide truly meaningful personalisation, journey legs need to be collated, combined and analysed across all modes.”