Social media in the airline industry


Published on

Social Media in the Airline Industry

by Gilbert Ross

Presented at Merlien Institute's Qualitative Consumer Research & Insights, 7 & 8 April 2011, Malta

1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Social media in the airline industry

  1. 1. Social Media in the Airline IndustryUsing Social Media for improving brand experience through better customer insights Gilbert Ross Air Malta
  2. 2. Growing challenges in a fast changing world Increase in crude oil prices mainly driven by wars & conflicts in oil producing regions Global economic downturn: Collapsing of western & Asian EconomiesPandemic outbreaks: SARS (2003), Foot and mouth (China 2005, UK 2007), H1N1, H5N1 Bird Flu Weather Disruptions: recent snow storms across Europe last December Natural disasters: Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud in 2010 Terrorist threats: The world in super vigilant mode since 9/11 Increased Regulations: Emission trading Scheme in 2012 Political conflict: Current uprising in LibyaIncreased Competition: New entrants – Strong mergers – increased presence of low-cost startups
  3. 3. Current and future trends: the shift in balance•Global traffic growth•Costs•Industry regulations•Gov Tax & charges•Price-sensitivity•Competition •Fares & yields •Profitability •Marketing budgets •Market Shares
  4. 4. Some strategic responses to the industry’s challenges Homogenous Web as a sales Fleet distribution channel Check-in Kiosks & Route apps Navigation Optimization Increase Fuel Price Ancillary Hedging Revenue
  5. 5. …while all this was happening Social Media came along
  6. 6. Adoption of Social Media by the airline industry Most airlines introduced social media at the average adoption time Late majority & Laggard: Many airlines have had problems with adopting social mediaVery few airlines were because of limited resources in staffing,innovators or early ownership problems, silos & lack of a clearadopters of the media strategy
  7. 7. Social Media Strategies & GoalsConversation Direct Research & Sales Co-Creation Marketing Analysis•Engaging •Creating Buzz •Funneling •Crowdsourcing •Brandcustomer with •Building Brand traffic to •Ideation Monitoringbrand Equity Booking engine •Competition •Customer•listening •Promotional •Selling special for best idea insight•CRM fares & Offers fares on Social •Recruiting for•Reputation streams surveysManagement •Ancillary •Polling Online products/Cross- communities selling
  8. 8. Airlines are increasingly realizing that… Shift in Power: From 1 to many broadcasting to a 1 to 1 or many to many interactivity Listening & Conversing not disseminating information Need to give to get back: Creating valuable information that is likeable & shareable, building online communities & responding in real time Understanding how Social networks behave: Some highly connected individuals can be Brand ambassadors or your worst nightmare
  9. 9. The legendary Kevin Smith Case
  10. 10. Social Media as a CRM toolMonitoring conversation: listening to what people are sayingabout your brandRespond in near real-time: being preemptive and trying tosolve an incident or problem before it turns into a catastropheKeeping customers in the loop: inform passengers with statuschanges, delay information, weather updates, etcLeverage on customer social chatter: Pickup bits of informationfrom customers – example stranded customers in a snow stormoften use Twitter #tags to help each other out. Some airlinespick this up and repost it in their own social streams.
  11. 11. Malaysia Airlines MH Buddy Facebook App
  12. 12. Lufthansa MySkyStatus
  13. 13. Leveraging the power of the communityThe paradigm shift from command and control to customerempowerment & engagementNurturing the crowd through community building – openingup to user generated content (UCG) and customer tocustomer (C2C) communicationCommunities are the ideal environment to create value,increase retention and loyalty, be more transparent andoutsource content generation
  14. 14. Metrotwin - A BritishAirways community inwhich members canreview, share and ‘twin’landmarks and placesbetween London andNew York
  15. 15. Jet blue has a Twitter account for communication and customer helpAnd another one for time-limitedoffers called ‘Cheeps’ to theirfollowers
  16. 16. United Airlines usesTwitter to sell specialfares called ‘Twares’
  17. 17. Southwest’s Popular Blog ‘Nuts about Southwest’ engages customerswith airline news updates, podcasts, video blogs & Polls
  18. 18. – Polling and crowd intelligence at its best
  19. 19. Social Media for Qualitative research and customer insights: The Final FrontierAirlines still not very involved in using Social Media for qualitative research and customerinsightsMost airlines still heavily dependent on their Frequent flyer database for recruitingcustomers in surveys ,focus groups and research panelsGood news – although there is a gap, it is a very narrow oneMany airlines are already listening to conversations across the social sphere andmonitoring brand mention, sentiment and responding to particular customer problemsSome airlines also have their online communities where a lot of sharing of ideas andsuggestions go on. Also reviews, polls and customer-brand co-creationAirlines are listening but are not looking hard at the informationThe next step is turning the social chatter into actionable insight and structuredintelligence
  20. 20. Various Social media research tools are being used already
  21. 21. How can airlines use Social Media for Qual. Research? Can use as a channel for more traditional market research methods Recruiting for surveys, focus groups and research panels Polling online communities Online Interviewing Asking for suggestionsUsing a ‘Netnographical’ approachNetnography [interNET + ethNOGRAPHY] is a qualitative andexplorative research approach to analyze the consumer dialogue inonline communities in order to gain unbiased insights Involves content analysis and text mining of conversations in social communities Unlike structured interviews and Focus groups it is unbiased and non-intrusive Explorative and inductive
  22. 22. Listening to influential loyal customers and gathering hot & relevant conversation topics across social platforms “@cloudnine: I’m always disappointed with the breakfast served on the London- NYC flight”Frequent Flyer Database Passenger history Online community
  23. 23. Finding co-emergent topics and interests through semantic text mining and content analysis Co-emergent Topics & interests Customer B – FilteredCustomer A – Filtered by Frequency of travel,by Frequency of travel, reputation,reputation, involvement, reach,involvement, reach, topic leadershiptopic leadership Monitoring social conversation across social cloud – Content analysis and text mining
  24. 24. And the winner is… KLM surprise!
  25. 25. D i s c u s s i o n Po i nt s• How can airlines gather actionable insights from Social Media to improve customer loyalty?• How can airlines use Social Media to better understand how to enhance customer service?
  26. 26. Presented at the International conference onQualitative Consumer Research & Insights 7 & 8 April 2011, Malta For more information Please visit: