Airlines and automation: A marketing love story Pt.2

September 12, 2019

This is the second blog in our ‘Airlines and automation: a marketing love story’ series. In part one, we showed you how to grab your customer’s attention from the moment they started dreaming of a trip – plus, how to ensure it’s your brand that sticks in their mind. In case you missed it, here’s the link

Airlines are already using automation to make their marketing activities simpler. But what they’re not doing is unlocking its full potential: from developing stronger relationships with your customers, to wooing your passengers with a seamless experience.

In this edition, we explain how to combine your marketing activities with your customers' emotional and behavioural drivers. 

Taking a leap: The booking phase

Now your passengers have already decided to commit to their journey with you, it’s time for them to book. There can be conflicting emotions at this stage, making it difficult to choose the best marketing strategy: your customers will be excited over the trip to come, but can become frustrated if booking isn’t an easy process.

However, their behaviour here is much simpler.

The booking stage is one of two key opportunities to upsell during our passenger journey, but bombarding customers with pop-ups or ‘extra special offers’ at this stage is likely to create a poor experience and negative brand associations. They want to book the deal, and do it now, with ease and without disruption. Instead of using more intrusive marketing methods, there are other forms of automation which your brand can adopt to increase conversions and passenger spend, and, if done right, can encourage repeat purchases in the future.

It’s not about the tools you use, it’s your approach: being present and being purposeful.

It could be your analytics, such as heatmapping, which provide the most useful information here. Or, it could be as simple as a personalised ad which nudges your passenger into a more tailored booking.

A key thing to note at this point: a rising number of passengers are completing their bookings on mobile – more than 50% for business travellers, and approximately 40% for leisure. So taking steps to provide a user-friendly experience for mobile customers is key to securing this market.

The opportunities don’t stop here, either. In the event of an abandoned booking, clever communications via email could be the key to persuading passengers to revisit and pick up where they left off. Alternatively, advertising on social media using retargeting can pull back the customers that didn’t complete the purchase first time round.

True romance: The pre-flight experience

Excitement is blossoming, and the opportunities here are limitless.

The key for this phase of your customer’s journey is to share that excitement with them, and to provide friendly, informative contact. Think holiday-clock countdowns, useful reminders about check-in, activity-booking and information on local attractions at their destinations.

And, of course, it’s your last chance for that all-important upsell. And the most successful airlines manage this by focusing on the passenger experience.

Whether it’s offering travellers the opportunity of beginning their luxury getaway from the moment they hit the airport through VIP lounge access, or reminding them about the potential of packing more outfits if they upgrade their luggage requirements.

Using personalised, targeted marketing gives you the power to scale-up your sales. And developing your customer experience at this stage of the journey will reap huge rewards in the form of customer satisfaction and profits.

The big day: In-flight experience

The journey doesn’t end here. Our final blog of the ‘Airlines and automation: a marketing love story’ series explores how your airline can amplify your passengers’ in-flight and post-flight experience, keeping them coming back to you for every trip they make – and telling their friends about it too.

In the meantime, check out our airline services showcase here to see the full range of what we can offer, or drop us a line at airlines@proctors.co.uk