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How Airlines marketed to become the Best in the World
(05 February 2020) | Article by Aroshi Samarasekara
Customer satisfaction is always the top priority when it comes to the Airline and aviation industry. Unhappy or alienated customers indicate lower passenger count and less revenue, which directly impacts the economy of the country. Been a cabin crew member at Sri Lankan Airlines, I believe crew drives the passenger satisfaction to its maximum, and there is a strong direct connection between passenger satisfaction and the airline market performance.
For example, Singapore Airways won the World’s Best Cabin crew award 2019. Almost any airline will continue to be providing friendly helpful service on board, Singapore Airlines, however, spends an extra mile preparing recruits for four months, which is twice as long as the industry averages eight weeks. What they are attempting to do is to understand what passengers need before they ask. The cabin crew, even in the economy class, frequently walk down the aisle offering beverages and warm towels. The whole idea behind it is to take care of passengers and take care of their needs before they need to call them or make a request.
Customers must have a very impressive experience every time they fly. On-time flights, In-flight entertainment at its best, better snacks and drinks and extra legroom could be pretty obvious contributors to a good experience, respect and loyalty.
Even though we think that these aspects are the only criteria to gain customer satisfaction, with my personal experience, the customer experience during a flight is just not all about the flying time itself.
Its starts from the beginning from purchasing the ticket from the airline company website to baggage check-in point at the terminal and then until onboard the flight. Tokyo’s Narita International Airport won the 2019 award for the World’s Best Airport Staff Service. Airport services recognise the integrated Performance of Staff Services (Attitude, Friendliness, Efficiency) provided through frontline roles at the airport.
But, is only customer satisfaction important for an airline to be succeeded? What does it mean to be “the best airline in the world” anyway? So I believe there are many more key factors which need to excel in an Airline industry together with maximum customer service, which can be claimed as the “ Best.”
Few of the factors are as such,
- Safety: With the lives of travellers at risk, the airline has the greatest responsibility to do everything it can to protect its customers.
- Customer Service: Customer service as I mentioned above, involves many aspects, including professional customer service staff, focused on helping the customer; airline staff who understand customer needs and pay great attention to every detail of the passenger no matter they in Economy class or Business class.
- Value: Value is the connection between the quality of a product or service and the price that customers pay for purchasing it. The best airlines in the world are offering their customers with value – effectively paying a price that is comparatively smaller than what passengers are willing to pay and thus creating substantial loyalty – while at the same time gaining a significant revenue advantage.
- Innovation: The best airlines in the world use creativity as a strategic tool, They have developed a culture of creativity so that they can stay ahead of the competition and meet the rising demands of their customers.
For example, Sri Lankan Airlines won the Best Marketing Innovation- APEX Awards 2019, SriLankan Airlines for bringing positivity back to travel in Sri Lanka following a terrorist attack in April 2019 by celebrating Vesak, a Buddhist festival, at Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka.
The best airlines in the world have a consistent history of solid and successful earnings by establishing a competitive route network, implementing leading pricing and revenue management strategies, and controlling costs responsibly and creatively.
For example, at the world airline awards ceremony 2019 held at Paris Air Show Qatar Airways won the ‘ Best airline in the world” for the fifth time. And the Singapore Airline won the world’s best cabin crew staff 2019 award. All these achievements are because of dedication from each and every member of staff to satisfy customers in every way to the maximum.
How does the Marketing Mix concept affect in the Airline Industry
The concept “marketing mix” is a basic business strategy, typically focused on product, price place and promotion. The marketing mix is a range of decisions that companies have to make in the whole process of bringing a product or service to the market.
But how does the marketing mix have applied in the Aviation sector? According to my experience as a cabin crew member at Sri Lankan Airlines, Aviation sector generally is the most important element of the marketing mix affecting the passengers’ purchasing decision-making. So let us have a look as to how does this happen.
A product in the marketing sector can be tangible or intangible. Intangible products are referred to as services, for example, in the airline industry include the facilities, well-mannered staff, cabin environment, flight bookings etc. And also it includes some tangibles such as food and beverage. The product must have the right features, such as functionality, safety and quality. The product should also be capable of performing a duty or function with high quality and safety without and faults, especially when it comes to the airline Industry.
For example, Qatar Airways, who became the best airline in the world 2019, the product should look great and works well to its maximum to attract more customers.
Price represents the amount compensated by the customer for the product. Also, in marketing price is the factor which creates the sales revenue. In the Airline industry, To increase revenues, cash and early payment discounts strategy is a primary consideration. In this way, as passengers purchase the transport system, the travel period must set the time limit for early payment rebates, e.g. 5% to 10%. Moreover, seasonal pricing strategy is also a common and an effective way to generate revenues in the airline industry where Airlines come up with travel packages in certain destinations especially in peak months such as December and January. There are some pricing structures such as Premium pricing, Value for money pricing and low-cost pricing such as budget airlines ( Ex: best low-cost airline such as Air Asia, Easy Jet, Jet star)