SimpliPlan: Top 10 Initiatives by Airlines to Engage Travelers at the Planning Stage


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Top 10 Initiatives by Airlines to Engage Travelers at the Planning Stage.

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Some airlines have rightly recognized that there’s an opportunity to convince travelers to travel to a particular destination/on a particular airline, by engaging them in the planning phase and helping them validate their travel plans.

However, good initiatives are still few and far between leaving the balance tilted in favour of those who recognize the opportunity and seize it.

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SimpliPlan: Top 10 Initiatives by Airlines to Engage Travelers at the Planning Stage

  1. SimpliPlan: Top 10 Initiatives by Airlines to Engage Travelers at the Planning StageFeaturing: Helping airlines & airports engage travelers profitably
  2. The SimpliPlan StageSome airlines have rightlyrecognized that there’s anopportunity to convincetravelers to travel to aparticular destination/on aparticular airline, by engagingthem in the planning phaseand helping them validatetheir travel plans.However, good initiatives arestill few and far betweenleaving the balance tilted infavor of those who recognizethe opportunity and seize it.
  3. Case-study 1Edmonton Airport: Stop the Calgary Habit
  4. A tough battleAirports face a tough struggle when trying to develop air services andattract more airline traffic as they must convince airlines that the newroutes will be profitable. To do so they must be able to influence at theSimpliPlan stage of the traveler lifecycle in order to generate demand.
  5. A bad habitIn the case of Edmonton Airport (EIA) the challenge was made evengreater because many local residents became accustomed to drive to thenearby Calgary airport and traveled from there.With the help of DonovanCreative, EIA decided to raise awareness of theproblem with a guerrilla campaign called “Stop the Calgary habit”
  6. A long lasting effectIn the first 6 months it is estimated that the campaign helped changethe planning habits of 22,500 to 30,000 local residents. Furthermorethe success of this campaign was such that, two years later, users on theairport’s Facebook page still use the concept, even when complaining. The screen shot above was taken on the 4th of June 2012 from the Edmonton airport Facebook page
  7. Case-study 2KLM: Trip planner
  8. Removing the hassleKLM is becoming an almost permanent feature of our Top 10s due totheir innovative spirit. This time for the SimpliPlan phase of the travelerlifecycle they have launched an initiative to make group planning easier.
  9. Helpful + Social + Fun = More BookingsBehind this initiative there isclearly a need to encouragetravelers to choose KLM whenplanning their trips. To do sothe airline created somethingthat not only makes it easierto plan group travel but alsotakes into account the “social”element and makes it fun.
  10. The social elementOne of the mostinteresting aspects ofthis initiative is that itfocuses on the socialelement thus makingsure that its brand andits message are seen asa shared value and atthe same timeassociated with apositive group travelexperience.
  11. Case-study 3Air New Zealand: iampacked
  12. Not just plan where to travelEngaging travelers during the SimpliPlan stage of their lifecycle is notalways about helping them choose where to fly or organize a trip.Sometimes brands must think differently and act at an emotional levelwhere a connection between the brand and the idea of travel can bebuilt.
  13. PersonalityAir New Zealand created an (almost) brand free place where users canexpress their personality by posting pictures with the content of theirbags as well as some basic information.The first reaction to thissite is perhaps a“voyeuristic” one butthat sentiment is alsoaccompanied by a desireto share and travel.
  14. Leveraging on curiosityThe key to the approach taken by Air New Zealand is that it leveragescuriosity, ensuring that the content is explored and shared. It alsoensures that, when planning a trip and packing their luggage, users willvisit the site and find the little “breadcrumb” left by ANZ.
  15. Case-study 4Cebu Pacific: Fly One, Fly All, Fly Free
  16. Group travelFlying for free is surely high upin the wish list for most of us.However, for this to be possible,our wish must also coincide withthat of an airline.Cebu Pacific created a campaignto encourage large groups to flythe airline, they called it “flyone, fly all, fly free”.
  17. The first 150 winThe airline created a campaign on facebook where users had to “create”a flight they would like to take with their friends and then invite them tojoin the flight. The first group to reach 150 members would win a freeflight to their chosen destination.
  18. Overwhelming responseThe response was so overwhelming that the airline had to upgrade itsservers to host it.
  19. Case-study 5Qatar Airways: 24-hour guides
  20. The other half of the storyWhen planning a trip, choosing where to go, when and what airline tofly is only half the story. The other half is, of course, planning what to dowhen you get there.
  21. 24-Hour GuidesTo help its customers trough the planning of their journeys QatarAirways created a series of 24-hour travel guides and dedicated aPinboard of its brand new Pinterest account to them.
  22. Made to PinWhile it is not uncommon forairlines to have destination ortravel guides on theirwebsites, the differentiatingfactor in this campaign hasbeen the usage of extremelyvisual images to representthem, thus allowing easy andeffective sharing on emergingimage-focused networks likePinterest.
  23. Case-study 6Singapore Changi: via Singapore
  24. Neither origin nor destinationIn the case of some airports like Singapore Changi, being a point oforigin and destination for travelers is often just part of the story as alarge proportion of their traffic (and earnings) come from transit traffic.
  25. Transit trafficIn an attempt to engage travelers in the SimpliPlan stage, Singapore’sChangi Airport created a website dedicated exclusively to passengerswho pass through Singapore on their way to other destinations.
  26. The perfect place to stopThe site provides plenty of resources, travel guides and information forthose travelling in the region as well as portraying the airport as theideal transit place.
  27. Case-study 7Malaysia Airlines: The BIG flight
  28. The bigger the betterWhen planning a trip, the perception that one has of both the airlineand the planes it uses can make a huge difference. There is nothing likea BIG, brand new plane to showcase an airline’s clout.
  29. It’s YouTube timeOf course this is easier said than done, and “raising the awareness” of anew aircraft, especially in emerging markets, is no easy task. To solvethe problem Malaysia Airlines turned to social media and built aYouTube-centered campaign where it offered users the chance to win afree joyride on their brand new aircraft: an A380.
  30. Case-study 8SpiceJet: Q400 launch
  31. Perceptions…Airlines don’t always purchase aircraft that fire the public’s imaginationthe way an A380 does. Sometimes they purchase efficient, state of theart, regional turboprops that, to the public, appear like “one of thosesmall, old propeller planes that crash frequently.”
  32. “one of those propeller planes…”When SpiceJet planned the introduction of its Bombardier Q400turboprops it quickly realized that its biggest challenge was not going tocome from its competitors but the perception of “propeller planes” inthe Indian market.
  33. Social Awareness = 88% load factorWith the help of SimpliFlying the company was able to overcome thisproblem by launching a Facebook-based initiative to raise awareness ofthis new aircraft and its cutting edge technology.The campaign included several pre- and post-launch initiatives thatultimately resulted in a staggering 88% load factor over the first fewweeks.
  34. Case-study 9Cathay Pacific: LinkedIn Targeted Promotion
  35. The exception to the ruleOne type of traveler that, for obvious reasons, skips the SimpliDreamphase of the lifecycle is the business traveler who, if anything, dreamsof being at home rather than travelling for work. However, even thistype of traveler is not immune to the SimpliPlan phase.
  36. Empowered promotionIn order to raise awareness of its brand and services amongst businesstravelers who planned to travel to Asia, Cathay Pacific set up a campaignon LinkedIn targeting only those members who were likely to travel inthe region, achieving over a thousand responses and almost 100recommendations.
  37. Case-Study 10Melbourne Airport: @MelbFlightDeals
  38. Deal curatorsFor those airports that wish to attract more direct traffic, an interestingtactic is that of becoming “deal curators” by offering users the chance tofind the lowest rates to and from the airport in one place. This is exactlywhat Melbourne airport does on the @MelbFlightDeals Twitter handle.
  39. There’s more!The airport also provides the sameservice on its website reinforcing itwith a series of dedicated travel tools.
  40. Also of InterestAir Asia: AirAsiaGo
  41. If you can’t beat them, join themAn interesting, although dubious, strategy for airlines is to become (orcreate) on-line travel agencies where they can sell not only flight ticketsbut also hotels reservations and all the ancillary services, thus capturingthose customers that prefer to plan their entire holiday in one place.
  42. Multi channelThe Asian low cost carrier Air Asia chose to implement this strategytrough its Air Asia Go website that allows travelers to book everythingfrom the flight to the car rental and leisure activities in one place. Theactivity of the site is also supported by a dedicated twitter handle.
  43. For more Helping airlines & airports engage travelers profitably