Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Airline Branding in the Air

There has been a lot of work and debate on Airline Branding and the role of social media in engaging customers and enhancing the brand. It is all concentrated on how to keep passengers loyal and of course engage more and more passengers. My contention is, it should be on how to get the brand to be loyal to me as an individual and as a frequent flyer.

As a frequent flyer the airline provides perks on the ground. All the customer engagement happens on the ground; the priority check in, fast track through security, priority boarding and baggage claim and of course the use of a lounge.

If one is travelling economy and if you have hundreds of  thousands of air miles, I don't care which airline it is, the airline is oblivious to you in the air. The cabin crew gets handed a list of the First and Business passengers and the service is personalized.

As a frequent flyer passenger, translate a loyalist to the brand, I want the brand to engage me during the most important segment of my travel experience, the actual flight.

I have flown several airlines were cabin crew did not even walk through the economy cabin for more than three (3) hours after the service, or kept the 'Fasten Seat Belt" sign on during smooth flights to control passenger movement.

For an airline to engage their frequent flyers is not very difficult. I am sure IT can provide a list of frequent flyers in the economy cabin. The cabin crew can then provide some sort of a personalized service during the flight. It could range from addressing the passenger by his name during beverage and food services instead of the regular "chicken or beef" litany; check on these passengers during the flight between services to see if they require anything; or provide them with a fast track voucher through immigration on arrival. It does not cost much but does wonders to the brand.

These days it seems one can buy the personalized service on an airline much easier than earning it

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