Brands team up with airports and airlines to let travelers try their products

Faced with ever more experienced consumers, who routinely ignore the commercials and ads thrown at them, brands have to find new ways to break through the advertising clutter to reach and engage consumers. Coined by trendwatching.com, ‘tryvertising’ can be thought of as “product placement in the real world, whereby brands integrate their goods and services into daily life in a relevant way, so that consumers can make up their minds based on their experience, not on the message.” Airlines and airports are popular settings for tryvertising campaigns, which can also be an additional source of revenue for them or a way to improve service.  

Marriott Courtyard Airport Lobbies
On September 8, the Marriott Courtyard hotel chain showed off its new ‘Refreshing Business’ lobby concept in New York’s Grand Central Station by installing a replica of the lobby in the station’s VanderBildt Hall. Train passengers could use the hotel lobby to relax while they waited for their train. From September 15 through November 14, 2010, Courtyard is also bringing its new lobby to life with the installation of temporary Courtyard Airport Lobbies in three of the busiest airports in the U.S. — Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and Denver International. Each of the lobby zones will feature some of the new furnishings and amenities found in the real Courtyard lobbies. Travelers can relax in the new lobby zone and also receive a complimentary Courtyard luggage tag. Read full article

American Airlines equips customer service agents with mobile ‘YADA’ device to help travelers on the spot

At a time that airlines are finding more ways to reduce face-to-face contact with travelers, customer service agents are reappearing at airports in the U.S. Equipped with handheld devices, they are trained to be pro-active, showing up without waiting to be called upon. We have reported before on Delta Air Lines’ ‘Red Coats’ service agents (now numbering 800 agents at 13 airports across the U.S.), and United Airlines’ ‘LineBuster’ device (rolled out at Washington and Denver airports after an earlier trial at Chicago O’Hare). 

American Airlines (AA) began experimenting with a mobile device — called Your Assistance Delivered Anywhere (YADA for short) — in July 2009 at Boston Logan airport to prevent long lines at check-in counters and self-service kiosks. The YADA handheld let’s AA staff check real-time flight status, provide connecting information, display maps of other airports and print boarding passes and baggage tags for customers checking in. The device, the size of a large cellphone, is attached to a small printer that hangs from the belt of the airline employee. Read full article

ANA charges for drinks on domestic flights, teams up with Starbucks to serve free coffee

Seeking to cut back on its operational costs, ANA on April 1st 2010 started to charge passengers in economy class on domestic flights for all drinks other than water and green tea. Instead, passengers can purchase drinks from ANA’s ‘My Choice’ paid catering menu. Beverages available for sale include premium mandarin orange juice, Darjeeling tea and onion gratin soup. Wine, champagne, sake and shochu served in ANA’s business class are also sold in economy. 

Two weeks after introducing its paid drinks policy on domestic flights, ANA teamed up with Starbucks in a ‘tryvertising’ campaign to promote the launch of Starbucks new VIA instant coffee brand in Japan. Since April 14, the day Starbucks launched its VIA coffee brand in Japan, ANA has served complimentary Starbucks VIA coffee  on domestic routes. The free coffee service has just ended on May 31st, and ANA now charges 200 yen (USD2.20, EUR1.80) for a cup of Starbucks Via. 
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Qantas launches onboard recycling scheme

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Qantas has just rolled out an inflight recycling scheme on its domestic routes. The airline is asking passengers to assist by separating their recyclable items for collection by the cabin crew, and place all other items in a special bag. Qantas says its onboard recycling initiative gives passengers the opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of their journey. With the new program the airline plans to recycle approximately eight-and-a-half million bottles, cups, tumblers and cans per year from its domestic services. Qantas says it already recycles newspapers on board (nearly 500 tonnes a year in Sydney and Melbourne) and glass and plastic bottles, papers and cans are recycled in Qantas Club lounges. Overall, Qantas aims to achieve a 25 per cent reduction in landfill use by 2011.

Qantas’ inflight recycling initiative follows earlier trials by Virgin Blue in which cabin crew were trained to separate recyclable waste from food scraps and other matter while collecting passengers’ rubbish before landing. A few years ago the airline also installed recycling bins at Sydney Airport.
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LineBusters, Red Coats and Tourist Angels: The return of customer service agents

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At a time when airlines are finding more ways to reduce face to face contact with customers at airports, as they are expanding the number of self-service options with do-it-yourself baggage check-in and self-boarding turnstiles, customer service agents seem to be reappearing at airports. 

During this week’s Thanksgiving holiday rush in the U.S, United Airlines is equipping United service agents with so-called ‘LineBusters’ devices at Chicago O’Hare airport. The handheld touch-screen device displays which customers have been automatically rebooked on another flight after a cancellation or missed connection. Agents in the post-security area will pro-actively approach customers standing in line to determine if they are better off going directly to a kiosk to print a boarding pass, thereby reducing the line and the time spent waiting for information.  Read full article