Great Marketing Ideas for Airlines and Aviation Companies
The last few years have depressed the hospitality and travel industries, and that includes airlines. They’ve taken a major hit from COVID-related mandates and travel restrictions. In contrast, small, private aviation companies have experienced Covid as a boon, with more first-class travelers booking private flights.
To compete and restore business, other airlines need to offer a much better experience than the competition.
Airlines need to take a holistic approach to the market that includes social media, partnering with online travel agencies, review sites, and providing travelers with special perks. This can make a big difference between losing travelers to other airlines.
The aviation marketing experts at Digital Authority Partners have the following advice for airlines to attract more travelers. This involves generating buzz, enticing travelers with special offers, and providing a safe, comfortable, and respectful travel experience.
Loyalty Point and Reward Programs
Loyalty programs are a standby tactic for airlines and aviation companies. These encourage travelers to become frequent flyers, regularly booking their flights with you.
Most airlines charge similar fares for destinations, so the way to gain an advantage over the competition is by letting travelers earn points. The points can be used for seat upgrades, free flights, VIP lounge passes, and much more.
Partnering with local businesses, such as boutique hotels, restaurants, and adventure tours is a creative way to reward loyalty program members. If your rewards are enticing, flyers may exclusively book with your airline to gain more points.
Think Outside the Box with Your Advertising Strategy
You might need to meet future travelers on their home turf. Finding ways to create awareness in people’s everyday lives can build awareness and goodwill.
Exceptional airline advertising campaigns combine traditional and non-traditional methods. For example, back in 2011, Air France sent a gourmet food truck around the tonier neighborhoods of New York City, handing out samples of its exceptional airline food. Delta opened Sky360 Lounges at sports stadiums. Alaska Airlines became the official airline sponsor of the San Diego Zoo.
“Cause marketing” can be a very effective strategy for airlines. Wealthier travelers in particular are drawn to supporting global initiatives related to the environment. Sponsoring an environmental organization or a disadvantaged overseas community is not only an effective marketing strategy, it’s also good corporate karma.
Social Media Campaigns are Essential
Meeting your customers where they also include social media. When combined with cause marketing, social media can humanize your brand and form a more meaningful relationship. Be sure to highlight community initiatives your airline is involved with and post stories about your star employees, as well as customer testimonials.
Create business pages on all of the major social media platforms and use them to offer special promotions, provide customer service, and give would-be travelers a look at unique destinations. Sites like Instagram and Pinterest are especially good places to post photos of exotic destinations and fun things to do.
To a large degree, social media, especially sites like Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest, are an escape. People often visit these sites to dream about doing fun things and traveling to faraway places. Take full advantage of this by creating content that helps to fulfill those dreams. And while you’re doing that, be sure to include special promotions to entice dreamers to book a flight to an exotic destination.
Celebrities and social media influencers are valuable assets to airlines big and small. While major airlines can afford to hire Hollywood A-listers, smaller, charter airlines can tap into social media influencers. Travel influencers post gorgeous photos and intriguing videos of their trips to their army of social media followers. This can present a great opportunity for your airline.
Social media is full of attractive, adventurous globe-trotters with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of followers. Simply sponsoring their trips can get a travel influencer onto your team. Partnering with hotels, restaurants, adventure tours, and nightclubs can help to reduce the costs of sponsored trips.
Be sure to pick influencers that fit your company image and destinations. For example, if you schedule regular flights to New York City or Los Angeles, a luxury travel influencer could be a good fit. On the other hand, if you fly to places like Aspen or Sun Valley, both luxury and adventure travel influencers could be appropriate.
In this digital age, social media influencers are often more powerful in their niche than Hollywood A-listers or major league sports stars.
Creating a Pleasant In-Flight Experience with Perks
In part, the federal mask mandate on travel and the aggressive enforcement by some airlines drove some first-class travelers to charter private flights. And coach-class travelers often opted for a road trip if their destination was within a few hundred miles. While these mandates have just been lifted–at least temporarily–airlines are still in a tough position and not always able to provide a relaxing, stress-free experience.
However, they can alleviate stress by creating an engaging in-flight experience with free, in-seat entertainment systems that play music, TV shows, movies, or games. This can give you an advantage when it comes to attracting some travelers. Unfortunately, until the mask mandates are lifted, offering drinks and meals is problematic.
Small, charter airlines can offer their passengers tablets loaded with movies and other entertainment options on private flights. This is a good alternative to installing in-seat entertainment systems. Small charter airlines may also have more leeway when it comes to offering food and drink.
By highlighting in-flight perks in your marketing campaigns, you can entice more travelers to fly with you the next time they need to book a flight.
By getting creative with your airline marketing campaigns, you have a chance to survive and thrive in the current travel atmosphere. Remember, people are looking for not only value but also escape when they travel. By providing good value and comfort alongside the travel dreams of your potential customers, you’ll set your airline above the competition.