Airline Market Research: Options to Consider in 2023

people inside commercial airplane

Investing in airline market research is the move to make in 2023. 

It’s no secret the last two years have been challenging for the airline industry. However, the good news is that “blue skies” are forecasted to return this year. 

According to Airlines.iata, the industry will be profitable again for the first time since 2019. Losses will begin to ease, and passenger counts will continue to increase. 

As the demand for travel increases in 2023, the need for airlines to be efficient will be the key to success. 

One of the best ways for airlines to measure efficiency is by conducting different travel and tourism market research options.

When executed correctly, these studies will allow airlines to analyze collected data to make informed business decisions. 

Below are four commercial airline research options to consider in 2023. 

#1. Passenger Satisfaction Studies

Total airline revenues in 2023 are predicted to reach $498B, which was more than double ($239B) generated in 2021.

Even more so, the total global passenger volume is expected to hit 3.8B, matching a total last seen in 2018.

2023 Airline Revenue Forecast

While travel and tourism are expected to return to pre-pandemic rates, values and behaviors surrounding booking and travel have shifted significantly. 

Because of this, airline passenger satisfaction surveys are the best way for airlines to get first-hand feedback on current preferences and travel habits.

Gaining feedback from customers in any form is essential for a thriving business. It’s also fantastic for improving customer service

Areas covered in airline customer experience research include: 

  • Ticket prices
  • Brand loyalty
  • Reputation
  • Overall experience 

Typically, such surveys are emailed to passengers shortly after they complete their trip. 

Benefits of passenger satisfaction surveys

One of the obvious benefits of passenger satisfaction surveys is the ability to set benchmarks. 

There are different types of market research benchmarks to use, from competing airlines to internal tracking. 

This allows the airline to compare results to future studies and make adjustments as necessary.

The ability to understand different perspectives across an airline’s customer base is just as important in the opinion of our travel and tourism market research company

From frequent-value flyers to first-class and business-class loyalty flyers, passengers will offer differing insights. In turn, this will shed light on all stages of the travel experience. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Investing in airline market research allows passengers to share their experiences. With this information, airlines can improve their passenger outreach strategies.

Recommended Reading: How to Conduct a Traveler Survey

#2: Airport Website Intercept Surveys

Traditionally executed in person, airport intercept surveys can now be best conducted online in the post-COVID world. 

A popular method known as “site intercept” can be conducted on an airline website once a passenger has completed their ticket purchase.

Being that 83% of US adults want to book their trips online, this is yet another great form of airline customer satisfaction research.

of US adults want to book their trips online

In most cases, the site intercept is administered through a pop-up window. 

From there, the passenger will answer questions in the website intercept survey about their online purchasing experience.

This is not only helpful in airline market research, but in many other fields as well. 

Besides being able to field the survey at the moment of the purchase, another benefit is survey speed.

Most site intercept surveys are just a few questions in length, and the insights can be gathered and analyzed in real time. 

For more information, I recommend reading our post, How to Conduct User Experience For Airline Websites and Apps.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Airport website intercept surveys will gather real-time customer sentiment about their flight experience. This is a go-to airline market research option. 

#3. Employee Surveys

COVID-19. Pilot shortages. Lack of mechanics and spare parts. High fuel costs. Short-staffed airport facilities and corporate offices. 

The airline industry was one of the most impacted sectors during the pandemic. Because of pressures put on airlines by many factors, employment has been deeply impacted. 

Furthermore, these constant changes have a direct link to employee satisfaction. 

One of the benefits of employee surveys in the airline industry is to understand staff morale.

Airline research can also uncover the likelihood of employees planning to leave the company in the future. 

Lastly, employee surveys can provide useful feedback on leadership, work-life balance, and salaries. 

Watch our video for more benefits of employee surveys.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Gathering employee opinion is an important aspect of airline market research. A successful company begins with happy employees, after all! 

#4. Competitive Market Research

Airlines can get the inside scoop on rivals by conducting market research on their competitors.

While methods and tactics vary, mystery shopping and secondary research are the most useful.

This type of airline market research is an underused way to gather market intelligence. In this context, airlines would hire a third-party company to execute a mystery shopping campaign. 

The crux of the campaign entails gathering data and insights across a set of rivals.

Next, the airline in question can compare these data points against their own business. 

Common types of competitive assessment include:

  • Website competitor audits 
  • Competitor product or service analysis
  • Competitive pricing analysis 
  • Marketing competitor audit 

Any form of commercial airline research should be conducted by an outsourced team such as Drive Research.

In order to get the best results, you need to have experts at the helm of your project. 

Moreover, the main benefit of using a third party market research firm to conduct the campaign is that it provides unbiased information.

This will allow the airline to take an objective look at the results to make business decisions. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Gathering data on rival airlines will provide an objective view of the playing field. This is best done with the help of a third-party research team. 

Recommended Reading: Ultimate Guide to Conducting a Competitor Analysis

Contact Our Airline Market Research Company

Airlines have faced a tumultuous time in the industry. Thankfully, market research delivers important data to those airlines that will boost their success. 

Based in New York, Drive Research is a full-service market research company. Delivering key insights and actionable recommendations is at the heart of what our team does. Our years of experience across multiple industries allow us to gather top-quality data. 

Want to learn more about our market research services? Get in touch with us today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Bryan Champ

Bryan is the Senior Research Manager at Drive Research. He has more than 15 years of experience working hard to provide actionable insights that help his stakeholders make informed decisions.

Learn more about Bryan, here.

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