8 December 2011 | IKEA stores in Canada feature ‘green parking’ spaces close to the entrance that are reserved for drivers of hybrid cars and fuel-efficient vehicles. Credit card companies such as Amex and Mastercard have been opening airport lounges for their members (at for example Toronto and Budapest airports). UK mobile operator 02 gives its customers exclusive access to concert tickets up to 48 hours before general release, while Palmeiras, one of the major football teams in Brazil, reserves 5,000 seats exclusively for Visa Card customers. Called the ‘Visa Sector’, the section has a lounge, restaurant, bars, plasma TVs and other perks.
Coined by trendwatching.com as ‘Perkonomics’, these initiatives are part of a new breed of perks and privileges that are added to brands’ regular offerings in order to satisfy consumers’ ever-growing desire for novel forms of status and/or convenience. Several airlines have also jumped on the ‘perkonomics’ bandwagon by offering more inclusive perks for members of their loyalty programs.
Cine TAM is a cinema owned by Brazil’s TAM Airlines. In 2007, the airline transformed a former theater in the Santo Amaro neighborhood of Sao Paulo into a TAM-branded cinema. The design of the four-screen cinema is inspired by the jet-set era of the 1960s, and for example features several ‘ball chairs’ in the entrance hall, while the theater’s screens are named Londres (London), Nova York (New York City), Milão (Milan), and Paris. Red and Black members of TAM’s Fidelidade frequent flyer program, as well as holders of TAM co-branded credit cards, receive a standard discount of 50 percent on film tickets, can make use of a preferential queue when buying tickets at the box office, and are invited to attend exclusive premieres. TAM commercials are shown before each movie.
Air France-KLM Kinepolis
On a similar note, albeit on a much smaller scale, Air France-KLM offers members of its Flying Blue loyalty program the chance to reserve one of the airline’s VIP seats at the Kinepolis cinema in Brussels, Belgium. Amenities of the so-called ‘Air France-KLM VIP Lounge’, include 4 comfortable “Business Class” aircraft seats, a cooled bottle of champagne and a mini-bar. The perk is reserved for Flying Blue members (silver tier and higher) residing in Belgium, who can book the cinema lounge twice a year.
In October 2011, BalticMiles, the loyalty programme of Latvia-based low-cost airline airBaltic, launched a BalticMiles Zone in Arena Riga, the home of ice-hockey team Dinamo Riga. The branded zone is located right behind the rink, allowing the hockey fans to sit close to the action on the field. BalticMiles members receive extra privileges, such as access to the stadium via a fast track entrance and the chance to win prizes from BalticMiles partners during contests in the half-times between hockey games. Says Gabi Kool, Managing Director of BalticMiles: “With this launch of BalticMiles zone in Arena Riga we have the opportunity to strengthen the connection with the members of BalticMiles who are hockey fans.”
Delta Sky360 lounges
As part of a recent marketing push into New York, Delta has become the official airline of New York’s Yankees and Mets baseball teams and opened a ‘SKY360 Suite’ at the Yankees stadium, as well as 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 has also recently opened a ‘SKY360 Club’ at the Madisson Square Garden in New York – open to owners of the best 800 ticket holders in the arena – as well as similar venues in Atlanta (Braves) and Minneapolis (Minnesota Twins).
Besides regularly inviting its most valuable frequent fliers to its SKY360 lounges (other SkyMiles members have access to discounted tickets to watch the game from the Delta-branded areas), the Delta Sky360 lounges are also meant as a ‘brand space’ for Delta to target more affluent baseball fans (those who purchase the premium tickets that give access to the Delta-branded areas). For example, the Sky360 areas feature kiosks where visitors can sign up for Delta’s SkyMiles frequent flier program.