Last week, I traveled to Singapore for the annual Innovations in Knowledge Organisation conference. I flew there by Emirates – an easy trip via Dubai.

While in Singapore, I made a decision to stay a day longer and leave on Saturday instead of Friday night.

I supposed nothing could be easier than this: I logged in to Emirates portal, found my flights, chose “Manage Booking”, selected the desired new date, selected the flight, entered my credit card information, and then…


Got a huge, red warning, asking me to call the Emirates call center, because they couldn’t change my booking.

I called the call center (thanks to world wide mobile plans!), and identified myself.

Then the shock came.

They told me they recognized an “unusual and unexpected” request: I logged in to my account from Singapore, and their system shows I am based in Budapest, Hungary.

And this was unexpected. They didn’t expect me to be in Singapore, despite I flew there by them earlier that week.


I verified that yes, that was me. Yes, from Singapore.

Well, they changed my flight then.

But this whole exception raised a question in my mind.

If they know I flew there, why they don’t use this information?

It’s not about privacy – they don’t share this info with anyone external.
They just should use it to make their systems (and services!) better.

We can find many similar stories in other organizations as well.

Organizations know a lot about their employees. – Yet, in many cases, they don’t use this very valuable profile information. They don’t provide personalized services, content, search results, etc.

Although, with some small thinking and planning, personalizing these services, content, and search results could enhance the user experience a lot, as well as user satisfaction.

Thinking about your organization – What you could improve by personalizing the user experience more?