Smart booking, smart bid, smart upgrade: Last week, we have already introduced you to the new Austrian Smart Upgrade. What were the reasons for launching this new product? And what is so special about Smart Upgrade? We have asked Project Manager Stefanie Kunath, Director Revenue Management Business Development.



Stefanie Kunath, Projektleiterin Smart Upgrade

Stefanie Kunath, Projektleiterin Smart Upgrade

Ms Kunath, what were the reasons for introducing the new Austrian Smart Upgrade?
It all started with the search for new and innovative ways to offer the comfort of our Business Class to even more customers. That’s how we came up with the idea of an auction: Instead of asking for a predetermined price, we let our customers submit their individual bid – and thus have them decide for themselves how much they are willing to pay for an upgrade to Business Class.


What were the challenges during the launch of this product?
The biggest challenge was to coordinate our fellow employees from various departments who participated in the project. We wanted to put Smart Upgrade on the market as quickly as possible, so we had set ourselves a very tight timeline. It was therefore very challenging to accomplish all the necessary tasks for the roll-out within such a short period of time.


Who was part of the project team?
The project team included colleagues from Revenue Management, eCommerce, IT Development, Global Sales & Distribution, Reservation & Ticketing, Product Management and Marketing. And we were supported by colleagues from Purchasing, Legal and Accounting.


How long does it take from the beginning of such a project to its official launch?
From the official start of the project to the launch phase approximately 5 months have passed.


What’s the difference between Smart Upgrade and other upgrade possibilities?
There is no predetermined price for the upgrade. Every customer who has purchased an Economy ticket gets the opportunity to bid for an upgrade. Within 72 hours before departure the offers are assessed based on various criteria (such as the offered amount, the number and the amounts of other offers on this flight, the number of seats available, etc.) and the customer receives information whether or not the offer has been accepted. That way, our customers can decide for themselves what they are willing to pay. If the offer is not accepted, there will be no charges.


Why did you go for the auction model? What are the advantages for the customer?
Thanks to the auction principle customers get the chance to profit from our Business Class services at a very favourable price and based on what they are willing to pay. There is no risk involved when they submit their bid – if the offer is rejected, nothing will be charged. That way we strive to enlarge the number of our Business Class customers and attract even more passengers.


On what route would you like to use a Smart Upgrade yourself?
Well, looking out of the window just now, I’d say on a trip to warmer regions, to Bangkok. A night flight in Business Class will make sure that you arrive at your destination well-rested and that you can start your holiday right away.


Thank you, Stefanie Kunath, for this look behind the scenes! Now it’s your turn with Smart Upgrade: What are you willing to pay for an upgrade to Business Class? Thanks to the exceptional auction model, you are free to decide for yourself how much it’s going to be. Have fun bidding and enjoying! 😉