Cape Air this past February launched some new technology that brings the same level of infrastructure and efficiencies that the commercial airlines benefit from and combines that with the mobility and entrepreneurial drive of an outfit like Cape Air. Customers are offered a nearly seamless and hassle free flight from the time they book to their arrival at their final destination. To clarify, I don’t mean final destination as in airport but final destination as in hotel, summerhouse, or ski lodge.
According to Trish Lorino, Director of Marketing, Cape Air has always been a very customer focused organization. Wolf built the business with the first focus always being the customer’s experience. This is why they made sure they implemented a technology that would not only help the customer better manage their flight but also a technology that would serve as a platform to build in some innovations down the road. Currently the software the customer interacts with is only a very intuitive booking engine. However I have heard rumors that in the near future Cape Air customers will be able to have their luggage delivered directly to their doorstep with the push of a button on their smart phone. We all know how much of a hassle carting luggage around can be which goes back to Cape Air’s focus on making the experience of flying as easy and enjoyable as possible for the customer.
On the backend the new technology has helped Cape Air run their operation with much greater efficiency. Employee training that used to take seven days now only takes two or three. Without giving away too many details, Trish has informed me that the operational stability Cape Air now experiences has far exceeded their expectations.
Google's Entrance Into Aviation: In order to create this technology, Cape Air teamed up with ITA Software out of Cambridge MA which is owned by Google. Anytime someone mentions Google, people have come to expect innovation and insanely wild technology. Just look at what Google is doing with ordinary glasses!
Cape Air has brought a tech gorilla into the space that could push the envelope in so many ways. Obviously Cape Air will most likely be the first company to try many of the new technologies developed by ITA and Google but we all serve to benefit from anything that brings innovation into aviation. We could easily see an entirely different booking experience for customers where everything is done from a “smart device.” Or perhaps a business analytics tool built on a Google platform that allows simple app integration and customizable operations management tools. Or even more relevant, a software solution allowing you to run a paperless maintenance shop giving students access to the technology they will see in the work place. The options and abilities are endless.
Key Learning: Embrace Technology! For many of us we fear that technology will make our business obsolete. In reality it has the ability to make our businesses more efficient and better serving to our customers needs. Cape Air understands that in order to embrace technology, you have to collaborate with a partner and enable them to learn your needs and vision. To do this they took the time to involve ITA in their business so that they could better understand how to build a product that meets the companies needs. Collaboration, patience and the foresight to push the innovation envelope are lessons we can all learn from Cape Air. Technology is here to stay, it is time we now embrace it.