More than 700 WestJetters and global digital partners came together at WestJet’s campus on Tuesday (Nov. 22) for the airline’s first ever Digital Day.
Brought to life by Christian Novosel, WestJet’s Chief Digital Officer, Digital Day presented a forum to showcase a myriad of digital solutions that hold the potential to achieving WestJet’s re-imagined strategy.
“As WestJet hones in on a focused network and strategy, an unrelenting low-cost commitment and a superior guest experience, rapid digitization is critical,” said Novosel, who joined the airline in August of 2022. “Digital Day is first and foremost about our people and our guests and creating operational efficiencies, automated processes and resilience, where required, so WestJetters can prioritize high-value work and deliver value to our guests throughout their journey with us.”
Digital is a journey
Novosel was confident in that WestJet must invest in the rapid digitization of the airline.
“WestJet, and the world around us, continues to be increasingly complex; rapid digitization holds the key to our success. As an organization we are already quite digitally literate, with a strong foundation, roadmap and digitally enabling governance. By 2025, it is our ambition to become a digital performer, empowering our people to focus on the most meaningful work and using key digital capabilities and data informed process to build resilience as an organization, improve our guest experience and drive down unnecessary costs,” said Novosel.
Novosel emphasized that rapid digitization is fundamentally about WestJet’s people and guests.
Upon joining the company in August, his first priority was to hear directly from WestJetters about what challenges existed and how digitization could remove obstacles with the ultimate goal of improving efficiencies, reducing manual processes and effectively improving the everyday experience for WestJet’s employee base.
“WestJet is at a pivotal moment and Digital Day is the beginning of a long, but exciting journey where our airline will marry our people first, caring identity with innovation, digitization and our treasure box of data, to secure a future that fundamentally supports our guests and people and optimizes every facet of our organization,” he said.
Partnership with Plug & Play
In conjunction with Digital Day, WestJet launched an expansive partnership with Plug & Play, which will leverage the Silicon Valley-based company’s Travel and Hospitality program to enable artificial intelligence and machine learning across the airline’s business.
“In our expansive travel and hospitality industry, access to start-ups is integral for success and working with Plug and Play will enable us to leverage many innovative solutions in market at faster speeds,” said Novosel.
“As we focus on the radical digitization of our airline, this new partnership will accelerate driving efficiencies and cost savings, through artificial intelligence and machine learning driven automation efforts, as well as improving guest experience across all touchpoints, as we expand our business and global network.”
Plug and Play runs accelerator programs in more than 20 industries worldwide.
WestJet will join alongside more than 30 partners in the Travel and Hospitality program and in Alberta’s Sector Agnostic AI/ML program that launched in early 2022.
Throughout the programs, WestJet will work one-on-one with entrepreneurs and provide mentorship, business development, and potential funding to the startups.