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SimpliFlying Featured - Online with Shashank Nigam

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Routes News Magazine, Nov/ Dec 2012 - Social media expert and CEO of consulting firm SimpliFlying, Shashank Nigam, gives his tips for how airlines and airports can improve their social media presence.

Routes News Magazine, Nov/ Dec 2012 - Social media expert and CEO of consulting firm SimpliFlying, Shashank Nigam, gives his tips for how airlines and airports can improve their social media presence.

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  • 1. Social media increase their revenues substantially through ancillary means enabled by social media. Can social media play a role in airline route development? In SimpliFlying’s recent Airline Social Media Outlook 2012, we found out that over 65% of the airlines surveyed use social media metrics for new product or route development. Unlike the traditional model of paying for focus groups or buying customer data, airlines are now obtaining insights through their own social media network presence. This method is not only cost- effective, it is more customised and specific to each airline. SAS Scandinavian Airlines recently became the first airline to crowd-source a new route via Facebook – they asked their fans where they’d like to fly in the summer. Airlines’ Meet & Seat, Malaysia Airlines’ And Alanya, Turkey was launched after itONLINE WITH: MHBuddy and airBaltic’s Seatbuddy makes was the most voted destination.Social media expert and CEO of consulting a mundane purchase experience more Volaris, a leading Mexican LCC, is veryfirm SimpliFlying, Shashank Nigam, gives interesting by providing its passengers the good at launching new routes through socialhis tips for how airlines and airports can option to choose a seat next to friends they media. They drive buzz and engagementimprove their social media presence. may know on Facebook or LinkedIn. through social media, often involving their passengers. From Facebook sales aloneIs aviation at the forefront of social Can social media make airlines money? they’ve had revenues amounting to $2media engagement? It certainly can. Canada’s WestJet, the million Mexican Pesos on a monthly basis.The nature of aviation forces it to be at the winner of this year’s SimpliFlying award forforefront of social media engagement. Most driving revenue through social media, drove How closely should a social media accounttravellers’ brand engagement with an airline $1.3 million in incremental revenue when a reflect an airline’s brand?lasts between two to 20 hours – compared video they released on April Fool’s day went A social media account should reflect theto about 90 minutes for Starbucks, and 10 viral. It was accompanied by a 10% airline’s brand personality as close asminutes for Coke! And, there are often over discount code. possible. There are now over 200 airlines on30 touch-points in this engagement, from In ‘The Connected Traveler Lifecycle’, social media. To stand out from this crowd,booking to travel. Each is an opportunity for developed by SimpliFlying, a connected the airline needs to have a strong andthe airline to gain a customer for life, or lose traveller goes through four stages: he distinct brand voice that the target audienceone. dreams of a trip, plans the trip, books the can relate to. As such, the staff in charge of The airline industry has a slight edge in trip and finally travels on the trip. At each the social media account needs to reflectsocial media to begin with because the stage, he can influence his friends by the true brand voice when dealing withnature of the service it sells has always been sharing information on his social networks, posts on social media.transacted online, compared to FMCG goods thereby amplifying the potential contributionthat are often sold in brick and mortar stores. to an airline’s bottom line. To read the complete interview,So the selling of airline tickets blended with In an example cited earlier, KLM, go to www.routes-news.com.social media usually comes quite seamlessly. airBaltic and Malaysia Airlines haveAnd, this ensures that the airline industry is developed social booking and social seating GET INVOLVED!constantly innovating and leading the as their latest, cutting-edge ancillary Do you want the global routeforefront of social media engagement. products. Passengers can pay a fee to sit development community to hear For example, the concept of ‘social next to a Facebook or LinkedIn friend. This what you have to say? Let us knowseating’ as seen in KLM Royal Dutch is one of the many ways airlines can at: oliver.clark@routes-news.comwww.routesonline.com 75

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