Innovation Fuels Wizz Air’s Future Flight Path


Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air says that innovation plays a critical role in the company. The so-called ultra-low cost carrier model continues to be a disruptive approach that is changing the way traditional airlines think and act, Joel Goldberg, chief digital officer, tells the Budapest Business Journal.

Joel Goldberg

Fourteen years ago, when Wizz Air allowed only online payment, many said the company and its business model were brave. However, due to the steady progress of innovation, time has proved Wizz Air right and it has continued to innovate new products and services ever since.

“These customer-facing innovations are perhaps the most visible areas of innovation within our company. By testing out new ideas in the marketplace, we are able to see how we can get better at servicing our customers’ needs,” Goldberg tells the BBJ.

“Besides our customer-facing innovation, we are also ambitiously pursuing innovation within our core operations. The goal here is to not only provide our colleagues with added value services, but to also make their overall experience as frictionless as possible. Everything from self-service HR systems to the roster management app for our crew,” he adds.

Wizz Air says innovation has always been at the core of its strategy. “Our tickets were always sold exclusively online – we were among the very first in the industry to do so – and we kept on adding further services and innovative solutions to our architecture,” Goldberg notes.

“The Wizz Air app has been a major step towards better customer experience and now almost 30% of our sales are already made on a mobile device,” Goldberg says. In fact, Wizz Air’s app can be used to book flights and keep all the most important data related to the passenger’s journey. Furthermore, the application can even be used as a boarding card.  

Sleek and Responsive

“In 2016 we fully redesigned our website to give it a sleek, easy and straightforward functionality, a responsive layout and an uninterrupted flow,” Goldberg adds.

With the eighth most visited airline website in the world, Goldberg says Wizz Air is always thinking about how to enhance the overall travel experience of its customers.

“As we focus more on our consumer experience, we shift our business to becoming more of an ‘experience’ company, where personalization, data and digital experience play an even stronger role than they do today,” the CDO explains.

“While change and development are often considered in a linear way, we at Wizz believe innovation is happening at an exponential speed. So we are thinking a lot about how to increase our velocity and looking for potential new ideas across our organization. For this reason, I am sure that Wizz Air will be a driver of innovation in the airline industry in the future,” Goldberg underlines.

“This will allow us to broaden the way we think about our brand and the services we offer beyond just being an airline,” he adds.

“New ways of working are often overlooked, but this is what actually provides the backbone for excelling at innovation. We are early on the journey but are aware that true innovation happens best when you empower your people and create cross-functional teams that can work towards achieving business outcomes,” Goldberg says.

“Being a growth company with big ambitions for the future, I view innovation as a way for us to unlock our employees’ potential. First, by automating manual, repetitive work, we free up our employee to focus on more value adding activities. Second, new innovations allow new ways of thinking about our customers, creating a virtuous cycle of test, learn and adapt,” Goldberg concludes.  

This regular column, run in association with Audi, looks at how some of Hungary’s biggest companies involve innovation in their daily practice.


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