Delta opens SKY360 lounges at events to let visitors sample its product

As people are bombarded with marketing messages, real-life interaction with products and brands (a.k.a. experiential marketing) has become increasingly valuable for airlines to get their message across. Last month, we wrote about the Southwest Airlines ‘porches’ in New York and Denver, while Delta Air Lines has opened a series of ‘SKY360 lounges’ at sports venues as well as film and culinary festivals in the U.S. to let the general public experience its product.

SKY360 lounges at sports venues
As part of a recent marketing push into New York, Delta has become a major sponsor of the New York Mets and the New York Yankees baseball teams. The add an extra dimension to the sponsorships, Delta has opened a ‘SKY360 Suite’ at the New York Yankees stadium, and a ‘SKY360 Club’ at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. Both lounges (video here) are located directly behind home plate and are accessible for baseball fans in the premium seat sections. Delta also regularly invites its most valuable frequent fliers to the SKY360 lounges.

The Delta SKY360 venues feature a dining room, a cocktail and wine bar (which serves Delta’s signature in-flight cocktails), and the seats have in-seat waiter service. TV screens air live games in addition to Delta content, and there is a computer terminal available for baseball fans that would like to sign up for Delta’s loyalty program. In 2011, Delta will also open a ‘SKY360 Club’ at the Madisson Square Garden in New York.

Atlanta-based Delta in April 2010 also opened a SKY360 Lounge at the Atlanta Braves baseball stadium, and a ‘Delta SKY360 Legends Club’ in March 2010 at the Minnesota Twins ‘Target Field’ stadium in Minneapolis (home of Northwest Airlines, which was acquired by Delta in 2008). This SKY360 Club at Target Field features a concierge desk staffed by Delta employees outfitted in the airline’s signature ‘red coats.’

Temporary Sky360 lounges at film and culinary festivals
Besides the permanent SKY360 lounges at sports venues, Delta has also created temporary venues at a number of festivals. At this year’s New York Food Festival, Delta set up a ‘SKY360 Lounge’ to let visitors of the festival sample its in-flight food and wine offerings. Together with Coca Cola, the airline also created the ‘Delta & Coke HotSpot’, a ‘brand space’ with free Wi-Fi and Coca-Cola beverages. In 2008, Delta installed similar lounges at the Sundance Film Festival and the Miami South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

In 2007, Delta opened its first temporary ‘SKY360 lounge’ for six weeks in downtown Manhattan. The temporary space had staff in flight-attendant uniforms offering cocktails, gourmet snacks and meals available on Delta flights from beverage carts. An entertainment area allowed guests to sample Delta’s economy and business class seat, complete with a functioning IFE system.

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