As our prior post on “Airline Passenger Traffic: Upcoming Trends” in which we discussed the different market trends of the industry, the major pain points, the maximum profit region or the points of greater profits and a lot more about the growing industry. In this post, we are presenting the online marketing strategies to target air travellers. Let’s explore the online marketing strategies for the airline industry that how online marketing is better than offline in many ways whether in terms of monetary or reaching more people by increasing the target zone. This is a short and quick summary of the online marketing strategies of the airline industry about the USA air travellers.
Basics of Online Marketing Strategies for Airline Industry:
Phase 1: Define Code Halos:
For every interaction a customer has with an airline, an immense amount of data is generated, whether it is explicitly captured or derived from travellers’ online activities.
Get insights into:
- Nationality and ethnicity
- Travel Purpose
- Activity on social networking group
- Channel of service
- Previous acceptance of offers
Phase 2: Develop Personas:
This is an identification of behavioural specifications of the customers. It involves details such as:
- Online/ offline buying behaviour
- Trust on travel agents
- How much impact from social media
- What advertising media are most used
Phase 3: Use Insights for Optimised Marketing Efforts:
Stage 1: Identifying Kind of Travel and Targeting it for Efficient Marketing:
In 2013, estimated online leisure travel spending on air tickets was $87,500,00,000. Kind of trips that are made was:
- Trips to Mom
- Weekend Gateways
- Family Vacations
- Complex long-haul trips
From the customer behaviour, it is clear that a large number of trips made by people in the USA are to family or to nearby places. Apart from this, there are many family trips as well. However, long trips are not very common and attract less number of travellers from the USA. So, effective target areas of marketing:
- Targeting customers with frequent visits to their homes.
- Targeting customers who are frequently travelling and giving them offers in weekend getaways.
- Offers on group booking.
Stage 2: Identifying Best Modes of Marketing:
Based on the research of how passengers plan their trips, it is clear that they do not need highly targeted marketing since passengers often tend to ignore promotional e-mails sent to them by the companies. So, some of the best ways to market services in this industry are:
- Indexing your website on search engines through content marketing.
- Getting featured in travel magazines and websites.
- Putting ads on social media such as Facebook
- Emails although not one of the best methods, but is very cheap and can be used for promoting the service to targeted customers.
Stage 3: Targeting Strategies:
- 18% of the travellers don’t have any destination in mind when they start thinking about a trip.
- 36% of airline bookers would prefer to book over the phone or face-to-face if the price was same.
- 35% of airline bookers would prefer to work with a good offline travel agent, if they could find one.
It implies that this is the section that can be addressed for marketing effectiveness.
- There is a need to target the customers that are more likely to buy tickets from an offline medium.
- Second, there can be offers to attract customers so that they can get to know about trips and packages through your agency.
Other Insights of Online Marketing Strategies for Airline Industry:
- 47% of the customers ready to pay a reasonable premium to get better service when they travelled.
- 46% of the customers ready to pay a reasonable premium for noticeably more comfort during their travel.
- 43% preferably choose in staying within their budget more importantly rather than going to their first-choice destination and running out of their budget.
- 42% of the customer trade off their convenience to save money when they travel.
Most of the travellers are ready to pay a premium for their comfort. This can be made a differentiating factor as a travelling agent.
For this, the strategy needs to create a strong and the network at all stages of travel of a customer and provide them services that can be of comfort to them.
Online Marketing Strategies for Airline Industry:
- Social Media
- Loyalty Offers
- Partner Offers
Marketing Strategy for US Based Customers:
Start with brand building exercise that can be best done by adopting following methods all-together.
- Content marketing – other websites/ Link building
- Advertisements on travel based blogs and magazines
- Paid ads on travel-related websites.
This exercise will lead to brand acknowledgement among the masses. The airline industry needs to be done targeted marketing as has been discussed in the earlier slides. Paid ads should be focused on packages for weekend getaways, customised trip packages (specific places if a person is frequently visiting there) and also for group offers.
The second step should be personally reaching out to the customers. Two strategies should be carried out at this point:
- Mass emailing
- Reference codes for discounts – a very strong strategy to build a bigger network of customers and reaching to the customers in the shortest span of time.
- Considering specific information of customers after analysing their buying behaviour and then giving them offers on those while on travel. Products should be usable during travel and should add to the comfort.
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