How Airlines Can Sell New and Underperforming Routes
How can airline marketing teams democratise their route map to stimulate sales of underperforming routes?
Sorry, what I meant to say was, how the hell do we fill half empty planes to Diyarbakir?
Sinead Finn, who worked with Ryanair’s commercial team for 13 years puts it this way:
“When I worked in Sales and Marketing at Ryanair, the top performing routes looked after themselves, providing the price was low enough. With new and underperforming routes every possible tactic was explored in order to get those destinations on the map.”
Don’t waste money promoting a route that is selling well. Got it.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
However, with regards to new and underperforming routes, the fact that nothing is off the table when considering a marketing solution would suggest there is no tried and true strategy.
This rings true.
Check your inbox. When was the last time you received a relevant offer from an airline?
55% of travelers reported that three of every four travel offers they received via email are irrelevant.
Travelers are wary of engaging with travel brands due to this hit-and-miss approach to marketing. Only 27% of travelers think sharing their personal data with travel brands will improve their experience.
Now is the time to think of our products in terms of the experience they serve.
With regard to airlines:
The flight is not the product, the destination is.
At the heart of improving the experience for your customers is a need for context, beyond basic demographics. Marketing without context is like trying to buy someone a present with only age and gender as a clue. More than likely, the gift will be generic.
Context is the why a traveler goes from A to B, not how.
Think of Amazon Recommendations, or Netflix Top Picks for, or Spotify’s Discover Weekly. These giants of industry are shifting long tail inventory through personalisation and creating a great experience in the process - it does not feel like selling, because the recommendation is relevant!
Why is this approach not replicated in the travel industry? Airbnb are making noise, Google are in the game, but airlines are poised to create the best experience for travelers because their service is the first purchase traveler’s make.
Imagine receiving an email offer from an airline that was personal and the recommendation relevant to your interests. Imagine the same airline provided a great booking experience with appropriate ancillary retail in the context of the destination.
That’s the kind of world we all want to live in!
But more importantly, that’s the world this generation expects.