In just a few short decades, the airline industry has gone from a luxury to a necessity. Flying has never been as accessible as it is right now, and that makes your job as an airline marketer both fun and challenging. Your mission? To attract more customers, fill more planes at a lower cost per passenger, and then make sure all of your customers keep coming back happily — forever.
Technology is a double-edged sword for airlines. On the one hand, tech has made your job more complex by raising customer expectations and giving your competitors direct access to your customers. On the other hand, that same technology also gives you a direct line to your customers that was unfathomable twenty years ago.
There’s no lack of new competition in the airline industry. With the rise of low-budget airlines and the increase in customer demand for cheaper flights, established players are being forced to rethink the way they convert — and keep — customers.
On the flip side, new airlines that cater to customers looking for an inexpensive trip have the budgets and brand awareness of industry giants to contend with. How can you beat the competition and still make a profit?
Industry insiders know that flying doesn’t cost customers a fraction of what it did back in the 1950s. Despite declining ticket prices, however, it isn’t necessarily cheaper for today’s airlines to fly from point A to point B.
From fluctuating fuel and airport prices to unstable geo-political activity, there’s plenty going on in the world to drive up flight costs. This puts additional pressure on margins for airlines, requiring them to either raise ticket prices or create additional revenue streams — or both. When it comes to making a profit, many airlines are finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard spot.
Airlines and airline marketers are working hard to overcome the challenges of increasing customer demand, tough competition and rising costs. But for many, the question still remains: what is the most effective way to drive ROI?
While no airline can thrive on customer acquisition alone, welcoming new customers to the fold remains vital for healthy growth and short-term revenue. There’s a constant stream of new customers in the market for flights, and the last thing you want to do is give them away to the competition.
Acquiring new customers takes time and targeting, but if you can bring in the right travelers, you’ll more than earn back your investment.
Ancillary sales are one of the best ways to meet your revenue targets and increase customer satisfaction simultaneously. From seat upgrades and snacks to additional baggage and in-flight entertainment, there are countless opportunities to upgrade your customer’s experience and increase profitability.
The trick is knowing what to offer who, and when.
Your customers want to enjoy an easy, relaxed journey from doorstep to doorstep — and that’s where partner cross-selling comes in.
Offering products and services outside of your own portfolio helps you go the extra mile with your customers. Plus, partner cross-selling can offer a great revenue stream on top of your own products and services.
Half-empty airplanes just don’t generate as much revenue.
Maximizing load factor is no simple feat in such a competitive landscape, and you can’t expect to compensate for empty flights with ancillary sales or partner cross-sells. After all, if there’s no one in the plane, who’s signing up for the extras?
Your competition isn’t going anywhere. But if you do it right, your customers won’t be going anywhere either.
Increasing customer loyalty and retention is essential in the highly competitive airline industry. Customer retention requires fewer resources than acquiring new customers, which translates to a lower cost of sale. That makes it your task to ensure customers are satisfied and engaged, even when they’re between journeys.
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