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Air France-KLM launches novel ‘tag and track’ service that turns suitcases into connected devices

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This article originally appeared on Future Travel Experience, the travel industry forum focused on enhancing the passenger experience on the ground and up in the air.

By Ryan Ghee, Future Travel Experience

Over the last 12 months, interest in permanent bag tags has increased apace as the viability of the concept has been proved, and Air France-KLM has this week launched the latest innovation in this field. The permanent bag tag, called eTag, and the eTrack tracking device have been developed by the airline alongside FastTrack Company, Samsonite and Dutch telco KPN with significant input also coming from Delta Air Lines.

eTag & eTrack
The eTag is an electronic baggage label that includes two e-ink displays and that attaches to the outside of the suitcase, while eTrack is placed inside the luggage. In addition, a limited edition suitcase – the Samsonite Track & Trace, which includes embedded eTag and eTrack devices – has been revealed.

Speaking to FTE, Manuel van Lijf, Manager Product Innovation, Air France-KLM, explained: “We’ve worked closely with our suppliers and with Delta to try to make this an industry initiative, not just an airline initiative, and we’ve had involvement from SkyTeam too and kept them updated throughout the process.

“We thought it would be useless to just develop something for us – we wanted to develop something that will benefit the industry and the passengers. The idea was to create a product that can be used by a passenger flying with Air France, KLM, Delta, Lufthansa or another airline, for instance. Why would a passenger buy a permanent tag that can only be used on one airline?”

FTE Editor Ryan Ghee was given a preview of the eTag, eTrack and Samsonite Track & Trace suitcase by Air France-KLM’s Manuel van Lijf and FastTrack Company’s Founder & CTO Graham Kelly; CEO Arthur Lahr; and Founder & CFO David van Hoytema.

GSM, GPS, Bluetooth, electronic ink
eTrack makes use of GSM, GPS and Bluetooth technology, which enables it to be tracked by a smartphone, while eTag also utilises Bluetooth. Passengers with a Flying Blue account can link the eTag and eTrack devices to their account, so when they check-in online, the permanent bag tag will be automatically updated within just five seconds.

The tag communicates with the outside world via the eTrack device, and directly with smartphones using Bluetooth, but the two products can also be used independently. Read full article »

Vueling launches world’s first ‘smart watch’ boarding pass

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Many of today’s airline product and service innovations contain a major digital component, as the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, the possibility to be connected anywhere and anytime, and the self-service mindset of connected travellers, have created a huge momentum.

This year, wearable tech devices are joining the digital revolution, with Virgin Atlantic’s six-week trial – featuring Google Glass and Sony SmartWatch 2 devices – in its Heathrow lounge creating a huge wave of publicity for the airline.

Commenting on the launch of the Virgin Atlantic trial, Jim Peters, chief technology officer of SITA stated that “2014 is shaping up to be the breakout year for wearable technology.” In fact, market forecaster Canalys estimates that worldwide shipments of smart watches will exceed 5 million unit shipments in 2014 – growing tenfold compared with the 500,000+ units shipped in 2013 – as a new generation of devices from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and others are launched this year.

Vueling x Sony
Spanish hybrid LCC has joined Virgin Atlantic as an early adapter of wearable technology and together with Sony has launched the world’s first application that allows passengers to “carry both their boarding pass and flight information on their wrist,” as both companies put it.

Conceived for Sony’s SmartWatch 2 intelligent watch, the Android-based app – due to launch on Google Play from the end of the month – allows passengers to display a 2D boarding card barcode on the watch’s display, as well as displaying details of upcoming flights – similar to the functionality offered in many airlines’ smartphone apps. Read full article »

Airlines encourage passengers to provide service feedback via apps and cards

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This article earlier appeared in Onboard Hospitality Magazine.
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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Social media has provided passengers with a powerful platform to voice their opinion on the experience they have with airlines. In response, airlines have become one of the most active organizations that actively monitor the online conversation in order to pro-actively take actions to correct issues if needed.

However, instead of just waiting for passengers to share their experiences (both good and bad) online, several airlines have also started to encourage passengers to provide their feedback about the service they encounter in real-time.

KLM ‘Feedback App’
We have reported before on KLM’s mobile ‘Feedback’ app that allows the airline’s passengers to give real-time feedback on how they perceived the experience at a specific area (check-in, lounge, boarding, arrival) at one of 13 participating airports the airline’s network. The rating consists of simply tapping a ‘thumps up’ or ‘thumbs down’ button, but passengers can also specify their rating with a comment. Meanwhile, KLM team leads and station management at participating airports have been equipped with iPads that enables them to monitor the feedback in real-time, so they can react on passenger feedback immediately if needed and possible.

United ‘Outperform Recognition’
Following its merger with Continental, United Airlines launched a a service recognition program, called ‘Outperform Recognition’ in mid-2012, that invites United MileagePlus members to submit up to five nominations every four months through a variety of channels, including United’s mobile app, mobile website and Facebook page. Each period the airline selects 101 eligible employees randomly from the pool of eligible submissions, who receive a financial bonus of between USD 2,500 and 50,000. The first edition of the program (second half of 2012) received over 9,000 nominations.

The option to recognize excellent service through the mobile app [screenshot] is the most innovative part of the initiative as it provides passengers an easy way to express their satisfaction on the spot and in real-time – especially since United has equipped the majority of its domestic fleet with inflight.
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Airline Marketing Benchmark Report – edition #15 out now

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In order to connect and engage with ever more experienced, connected, and informed consumers, who are demanding dynamic, real-time conversations and updates from brands they love and follow, airlines around the world are becoming more sophisticated in their marketing activities. As such, we are witnessing the birth of many creative campaigns from airlines, be it experiental, social, mobile, digital or traditional initiatives.

Airline Marketing Benchmark
Airlinetrends.com and SimpliFlying have teamed to product a premium monthly Airline Marketing Benchmark Report, which features the most innovative marketing campaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Each month’s report contains 15 new case-studies that inform and inspire airline marketers how other airlines are making a difference with their marketing-communication campaigns. The current November report is the 15th edition in the series and if you haven’t subscribed yet, you’ve already missed out on over 200 great airline case-studies! Read full article »

Air France KLM ‘employs’ frequent flyers as mystery shoppers

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

One of the best ways for companies to gain insight into their customers’ experience is through mystery shopping audits. Many people love to take part in mystery shopping – especially when this allows them to travel by air – as it lets them have their say and opinion on the level of customer service they receive and feed their experiences back to the company involved.

Air France KLM ’Quality Observers’
Many airlines employ mystery flyers and in return for valuable insight into the daily runnings of the flights provide undercover flyers with a free flight and paid-for expenses.

Air France KLM has come up with an innovative twist for its mystery flyers program and is introducing a new so-called ‘Quality Observer’ program. Instead of employing mystery shoppers, the Quality Observers are recruited from the airlines’ community of Flying Blue members.

Within the program, Elite members from the airlines’ Flying Blue loyalty program will be randomly invited to join the Quality Observer community and participate as mystery flyer during their travel, according to booking data and the pre-set Quality Observer coverage and frequency needs per station.

This joint Air France KLM program is designed to objectively observe and measure if product and services are delivered according to pre-set specifications at every customer point of contact during the actual journey (booking/call centers are planned to be added next year). According to Air France KLM, the aim of the Quality Observer program is to ensure a worldwide consistency in quality of service delivered to its passengers.

Mobile app
A special Quality Oberver app (both for iOS and Android devices) is made available for the Quality Observers. To be able to use the application, Flying Blue members need to be registered as a Quality Observer with AFKL, which is by invitation only.
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Delta provides cabin crew with Nokia Lumia ‘onboard retail’ smartphones

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Equipping airline cabin crew with tablets and smartphones is the latest step in continued efforts by airlines to increase their onboard retail revenues.

Since the end of 2012, American Airlines has been equipping its 17,000 flight attendants with Samsung Galaxy Note handheld devices, saying trials revealed that crew liked the fact that they could hold the device in one hand and easily slip it into a pocket – which is not always possible with a larger tablet. Besides being a means to provide crew with the latest passenger information, American uses the devices for onboard transactions such as the purchase of food and beverages inflight.

Meanwhile in the US, low-cost carrier Allegiant has provided its cabin crew with iPads that feature the FlyDesk app from its subsidiairy Allegiant Systems, while in Europe TUI (Arkefly) has deployed MI.Airline’s Connected Crew solution using 7-inch Samsung tablets.

Delta x Nokia Lumia
The latest airline to provide its crew with a next-generation point-of-sale (POS) device is Delta Air Lines. The airline at the end of August started the roll-out of Windows Phone 8-based Nokia Lumia 820 handheld devices to flight attendants (or inflight professionals as Delta likes to call them) around the world in an effort to streamline the process for purchasing items on board and to put key flight information at their fingertips.

Under the agreement, AT&T will equip more than 19,000 Delta flight attendants with Nokia Lumia devices powered by Microsoft Dynamics mobile point-of-sale platform on Windows Phone 8, with a Delta-specific customer experience developed by Accenture-subsidiary Avanade to operate over Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 4G LTE Network.

Flight attendants began testing the Nokia smartphones during flights in June 2013 and in-flight trials have shown that the new solution is already around 10 percent faster than Delta’s previous systems.

Says Michael Griffiths, Global Managing Director, Retail and Distribution, Microsoft Dynamics, “The company decided to make the move after running into significant challenges with the limitations of its legacy point of sale devices. Yes, they could capture transactions for food, headphones and duty-free items. But they were bulky. They had to stay on the plane. They were costly in terms of maintenance. Information had to be uploaded from them manually. They did not have high-speed wireless connectivity. There simply wasn’t a lot of additional value they could drive beyond basic, transactional interactions, and even those were suboptimal.”

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How data, connectivity and a retailing mindset help increase onboard revenues

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

The combination of rapid developments in consumer electronics, the acceleration of wifi installations onboard aircraft, and the large number of passengers carrying one or more digital devices, is creating a momentum that sees many of today’s inflight innovations focus on digital developments.

In this three-part series on how new technologies are improving the onboard passenger experience, airlinetrends.com founder Raymond Kollau takes a look at some of the major initiatives and innovations that are the result of this convergence. The first article discussed how inflight connectivity provides passengers and crew with real-time information up in the air, the second article highlighted the latest in inflight entertainment, and this last part focuses on onboard ancillary revenue generation.

Ancillaries: Maximising Revenue Per Seat
As ancillary revenues have become a major revenue source for airlines – if not the lifeline for many – airlines are thinking of more ways to derive revenue from all phases of the customer journey, in an effort to add high-margin ancillary sales to low-margin air revenue. Over the past few years, airlines have monetized baggage, seat selection and meals, and have come to recognize there is a wide array of merchandise they can sell onboard.

Or as the New York Times puts it nicely: “The great advances in technology presents for airlines themselves to essentially sell more things to the customers, whether the product is in-flight entertainment, food and drink, customized services to elite-status passengers or products at the destination, including hotel packages, sports and concert tickets, restaurant and theater reservations. On an airplane, you have a captive market, and with sophisticated technology, you can sell to passengers in very personal ways.”

Airlines as Retailers
However, the airline retail model is still in its infancy. Travel retail solution provider Datalex believes that airlines have only reached the tip of the ancillaries iceberg, as their opportunities for growth include selling a much broader range of products and services before, during and after the flight. Says the company’s CEO, “The airline industry is rapidly evolving to become retail-focused and airlines will have to reinvent themselves as retailers. Airlines could learn a lot from retail chains like WalMart and Tesco, especially when it comes to offering the right product to the right customer at the right time.”
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How new technologies are improving the onboard passenger experience

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

The acceleration of wifi installations onboard aircraft around the world, combined with the large number of passengers carrying one or more digital devices, is creating a momentum that sees many of today’s inflight innovations focusing on digital developments.

In this three-part series on how new technologies are improving the onboard passenger experience, we will take a look at some of the major initiaves and innovations that are the result of this convergence. This first article will focus on the implications for seat design, the provision of real-time information to passengers, and opportunities to improve onboard customer service. The second article will highlight the latest in inflight entertainment (both fixed and wireless), followed by onboard ancillary revenue generation and personalization in the last part.

Power ports and storage
The first impact of today’s tech-toting passengers is on cabin ‘hardware’. Airlines around the world are responding to the large number of passengers carrying smartphones, notebooks, tablets and e-readers by equipping seats with power and USB ports. A number of airlines and interior suppliers are also looking how to integrate passengers’ own devices with the design of the seat.

Besides creating storage space for personal electronic devices for the more spacious seating arrangements in Business Class, several seat manufacturers are also beginning to incorporate smartly designed spaces in Economy seats where passengers can store their mobile device.

For example, passengers travelling in Economy on Air France’s A380 and select B777-300s can store their cell phone into a small belonging stowage, which is located just below the in-seat USB port to allow for easy recharging of the device. Japan Airlines’ new Economy seats (manufactured by ZIM Flugsitz), which made their debut on the airline’s B777-300s in January 2013, have been designed with a a conveniently placed smartphone holder which is also located near the USB port.

Meanwhile, startup companies such as SmartTray and SkyCast have come up with simple yet smart tray table designs that feature a built-in groove, or two clips, for holding tablets, e-readers and other portable electronic devices upright. For example, Canadian budget airline WestJet rents out Android tablets that clip onto the back of the seat tray in a design called TrayVu.
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Passengers on Delta’s ‘Beta Plane’ can submit their ideas via Wi-Fi

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

We have reported several times before how airlines and airports are teaming up with the general public in order to generate ideas for new products and services.

As this trend matures, airlines such as KLM, SAS and Finnair have gone beyong incidental crowdsourcing campaigns by launching broad co-creation programs to improve the passenger experience.

KLM ‘Bright Ideas’, for example, asks Facebook fans to share and discuss their ideas to improve KLM’s products and services. Scandinavian Airlines’ ‘My SAS Idea’ is an online community where anyone can share their ideas and others can join in to further improve on each idea. Finnair’s Quality Hunters – now in its third year – invites a select group of enthusiasts to come up with ideas which are then shared online with the larger community.

Delta ‘Ideas In Flight’
In 2011, Delta teamed with “scientists and thinkers” conference TED – whose slogan is “ideas worth spreading” – to generate innovative crowd-sourced ideas to improve the travel experience. Called ‘Ideas in Flight’, the program uses curated TEDTalks as thought-starters to inspire participants across technology, entertainment, design, etcetera. Ideas could be submitted through a dedicated tab on the Delta Facebook page.

In February of this year, Delta launched the second edition of Ideas In Flight. Similar to the 2011 edition, any Delta Facebook fan could contribute via Delta’s Facebook page and a voting system allows Delta and users to see what ideas are popular, and which ones will be considered to be implemented on the flight.
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AirBaltic’s BalticMiles app rewards frequent fliers for burned calories

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By Springwise

Nike Mexico’s Subasta de Kilometros campaign has already offered runners the chance to use their tracked miles to bid on sports equipment. Now, the Burn The Miles app is using a similar idea by giving rewards to frequent fliers who jog enough to burn off the same number of calories as miles they’ve flown.

The app was developed by communications agency MRM for airBaltic’s loyalty program Baltic Miles, which rewards frequent fliers with points to exchange for flight tickets and products and services at partner businesses depending on how far they’ve traveled.

Those downloading the app are challenged to match every mile they fly with a calorie burned in the space of 24 hours after they land, tracked using the smartphone’s built-in accelerometer. If they manage to do so, they will be able to win further prizes. The program encourages those whose work requires them to sit on aeroplanes for extended periods to reserve some of their free time to exercise.

Since frequent fliers often have busy lifestyles, the app provides an incentive for users to keep themselves fit. This case study and video explain more about the scheme.

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Pre-flight IFE: Airlines let flyers download content to their personal device before the flight

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com                                                                                           article updated December 2013

Airlines around the world are responding to the large number of passengers carrying smartphones, notebooks, tablets and e-readers by equipping seats with power ports and introducing onboard Wi-Fi and/or wireless inflight entertainment portals. The result is the emergence of an alternative eco-system to today’s traditional seatback-based IFE systems, which sees tech-savvy passengers bring their own digital devices – or airlines providing them with tablets. The next step in the BYOD (bring-your-own-device) trend sees airlines providing passengers with digital content such as newspapers and magazines before their flight, a development that will eventually lead to to the introduction of dedicated airline inflight entertainment apps, the first of which have already been launched by wireless IFE solutions such as BoardConnect (Lufthansa Systems on Virgin Australia, Lufthansa, Condor and El Al), eXW (Panasonic on Air Canada Rouge) and AVA (Thales on LAN).

DIGITAL NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES

In an effort to offer passengers a much wider variety of news, instead of the rather obligatory bunch of newspapers and magazines currently available – as well as to save on distribution costs – airlines such as Air France, airberlin, Virgin Australia and ANA have started to provide passengers with access to digital newspapers and magazines before their flight leaves. This allows airlines to save costs and offer passengers. Comments David Flynn, editor of Australian Business Traveller, “Being able to grab a digital copy of your favourite newspaper, especially ones from overseas, is a great pre-flight and even post-flight perk.”

Airline app
Air France ‘Press’
Besides offering passengers a digital press service on iPads in its lounges at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport (a service that is also provided by sister airline KLM), Air France in May 2013 launched its ‘AF Press’ app which lets passengers download their preferred publications up to 24 hours before their flight until the time of departure, to read them before, during and after their trip.

At the moment of introduction, there were 13 newspapers and 12 magazines available via the Apple iOS app and the service is available to Air France ‘Travel Saver’ cardholders carrying an iPad or Android device which can download a selection of magazines and newspapers onto their tablet free of charge. Air France inflight magazines are available for download free of charge, with or without a flight reservation, by all ‘AF Press’ users. Since the launch in May 2013, Air France has expanded the target group to First Class and Business Class passengers, has added additional English publications, and the app is now also available for the Windows Phone platforms. More titles will be added in early 2014 and the AF Press will also become available to members of Air France KLM’s Flying Blue loyalty program, with access depending on frequent flyer status.

Air France Hop!
On a similar note, passengers on Air France’s new regional carrier HOP! (which started operations in March 2013) have been able to download – on the day of their trip – the digital version of their local daily newspaper, as well as the local newspaper of another city of their choice. Sixty regional daily newspapers – with a total of 420 different editions – are available. Passengers who are travelling on Hop!’s more expensive ‘Maxi Flex’ tickets can use the service free of charge, while those with cheaper tickets have to pay a fee. At boarding, a selection of local newspapers is still be available in print for all passengers.
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Airlines embrace their inner tech-geek

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This article appears in the May edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by airlinetrends.com and SimpliFlying, which identifies the latest innovative marketing capaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

One of the hardest marketing messages to convey is that you are current, and understand the market. ‘Silicon Valley favourite’ Virgin America is one of the best examples of this. Easy to recognize thanks to its iconic cabin lighting and hip and forward-looking approach to airline travel, Virgin America has firmly established itself as a favoured choice among the urban, tech savvy flying demographic. In fact, one of the airline’s aircraft is dubbed #nerdbird to celebrate the large number of Wi-Fi users travelling on the San Francisco-Boston route, thanks to their fleet-wide onboard wi-fi and USB and power outlets at every seat.

Recently more and more airlines are embracing their inner-geek to stay ahead of the trend-curve and cleverly selling themself as geek-chic.

#newAmerican x SXSW
American Airlines has pushed hard to shake off its old image, trying to prove that its new brand image is more than skin-deep. The airline organized a hack-a-thon at the annual SXSW event in Austin last March, allowing more than 60 developers to work with American’s travel API for the first time to see what they could come up with to further develop the users experience with the airline.

At the end of the event a total of 15 apps were created, based on over a total of 1800 man hours. The winning App entry was ‘AirPing’, which was a multi use tool for both airline and customer, providing live updates to flight changes and delays with estimate travel time to the airport.

The event also saw American launch a ‘Napkin Pitch Contest’, where travelers could pitch a business idea to the airline to make the world a better place, all on a simple airline napkin. Passengers could either complete a form online or drop their napkin into boxes located at the #newAmerican lounge at the Austin Convention Center and the Startup America Lounge at the Austin Hilton.

The latest venture for the carrier is to launch an investment fund for start up companies. The project is known internally as Blue Ocean, and the fund could invest money in entrepreneurs, startups and incubators, but it could also use its resources to fly entrepreneurs to investor meetings, or help them with awarding points, or in other non-monetary in-kind ways.

Delta x TED
Delta also turned more Star Trek than airline in February, showcasing its renewed focus on sleep at the annual TED conference in an innovative way. The airline hosted a talk from renowned Oxford neuroscientist and sleep expert Dr. Russell Foster addressing jet lag and how the eye tells time and demonstrate his research in action with a so-called ‘Photon Shower’ – a small light chamber that conference attendees could enter for a short period of time to help reset their body clocks through a personalized light treatment.

Delta has also teamed with TED to generate innovative crowd-sourced ideas to improve the travel experience, called ‘Ideas in Flight’. The program uses curated TEDTalks in social media as thought-starters to inspire their community, across technology, entertainment, design, etcetera. Ideas can be submitted through a dedicated tab on the Delta Facebook page, but passengers can also use the in-flight Wi-Fi for free to go to a dedicated ‘Ideas In Flight’ website which can only be accessed while onboard Delta transcontinental flights.
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The State of Airline Marketing

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By Raymond Kollau (airlinetrends.com) & Shubhodeep Pal (SimpliFlying)

Airline marketing is undergoing a phase that’s exceedingly exciting, unpredictable and creative. Faced with ever more experienced consumers, who routinely ignore the commercials and ads thrown at them, airline brands are finding new ways to break through the advertising clutter to reach and engage consumers.

Besides dreaming up experiental marketing and creative – traditional media-based – initiatives, airlines around the world are equipping themselves with the tools and know-how to conquer the digital marketing revolution, experimenting with new social media platforms and launching mobile campaigns that link the online with the offline world.

Airline Marketing Benchmark Report
In today’s fast-moving environment, it is important not just to be creative and innovative yourself but to be more striking than your immediate competition as well. However, given the speed at which things move in digital media, it is no easy task to stay on top of the latest trends, fads and innovations.

Over the last six months, SimpliFlying and airlinetrends.com have published a premium Airline Marketing Benchmark Report. Published monthly, the report contains a selection of 15 of the most innovative marketing and advertising campaigns launched by airlines around the world and assesses their impact.

Best Practices in Airline Marketing - Monthly selection of the most innovative marketing campaigns launched by airlines around the world

Across the close to 100 innovative marketing initiatives that have been featured to date, we have identified EIGHT TRENDS that range from experiental to location-based, co-creation and social loyalty initiatives and which reflect the current state of airline marketing:

1. EXPERIENTAL
Faced with ever more experienced consumers, who routinely ignore the commercials and ads thrown at them, airlines are finding new ways to break through the advertising clutter and are turning to brand experiences in order to capture the imagination of today’s consumer.

2. SOCIAL CARE
Today’s traveler is always tuned in to his social networks via a mobile device while travelling. In times, when frustration with a product or service can be vented (and spread) in an instant, it is important for airlines to tackle the problem at the place where it occurs, building goodwill as well, since everyone can see the responses.

3. ON LOCATION
Brands want to reach customers where they are. Instead of pulling customers and users out of their comfort zones, airlines are increasingly “going to the customer”. And what better way to do this than to design initiatives based where you are located?

4. BACK TO REALITY
Airlines have woken up to the need to connect with “real” people. There is a growing focus on everyday people, away from stereotypes, supermodels, celebrities and professionally made pictures/videos and airlines are seeking user-generated content or for example feature airline staff that share their day-to-day life.

5. CROWDSOURCING
Airlines have used crowdsourcing as an effective means to a variety of ends such as product innovations, for a tablet application, loyalty tier rewards and for improving hand luggage respectively.

6. VIRAL VIDEOS
In today’s online arena, those brands that come up with a creative and compelling ‘traditional’ commercial will be rewarded for their creativity as their work will spread very fast around the world.

7. SOCIAL LOYALTY & GAMIFICATION
Airlines are tapping into location-based services to track loyalty in terms of repeat visits as well as social advocacy. By offering real-world rewards to fans and followers who promote their brand online, airlines add an element of gamification to their marketing.

8. MEME JACKING
An internet meme is a concept that spreads from person to person via the internet. It can be anything from an image to a video to a hashtag. The popularity of internet memes and their deep association with the “internet culture”, makes them an effective marketing tool for airlines to create buzz around their brands.
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Japanese LCC Peach lets passengers download free IFE content at the airport

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Airlines around the world are responding to the explosion in passenger use of smartphones, notebooks, tablets and e-readers by introducing onboard Wi-Fi and/or wireless inflight entertainment systems. The result is the emergence of an alternative eco-system to today’s traditional seatback-based IFE systems, which sees tech-savvy passengers bring their own digital devices – or airlines providing them with tablets.

However, the idea behind new IFE offerings such as wireless IFE remains the same. That is passengers are able to access entertainment content only when up in the air (although passengers who purchased movies and TV shows through wireless IFE providers such as Gogo Connect and Lufthansa’s BoardConnect can continue to view the content when they have landed – for 24 (movies) and 72 hours (TV shows) respectively.

Airport downloads
Airport News Japan now reports that Japanese low-cost carrier Peach, a joint venture between All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Hong Kong-based First Eastern Investment Group, has come up with another innovative twist on in-flight entertainment.

With support from Osaka’s Kansai International Airport, Peach passengers will soon be able to download movies, TV shows, music, magazines, games or other content to their personal devices through the airport terminal’s Wi-Fi network, which they can enjoy without limitation while in the airport or on their flight.

The service is called ‘high!’ entertainment and is available on domestic flights departing from Kansai Airport’s Terminal 2, which has been specially build to accommodate low-cost carriers.

There will be around 30 titles available during the initial trial period and the new service will be fully up and running in June, when it will offer over 1,000 titles comprising free and pay-to-download content. To access the ‘high!” inflight entertainment content, passengers have to download an Apple iOS or Google Android app (pending for approval at the moment). Compatibility with Windows 8 is planned for a later date.
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KLM ‘Feedback App’ lets passengers rate their level of satisfaction at the airport

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

KLM is known for its embrace of digital technology. The airline is a leader in social media and in the past years has launched a series of specific mobile apps, such as a ‘Passport’ app, which lets users record their journeys with their mobile phone and share their experiences via Facebook.

Real-time feedback
KLM’s latest mobile app allows the airline’s passengers to give real-time feedback on how they perceived their experience at the airport (e.g, check-in, lounge, boarding, arrival).

The option to provide direct feedback about the quality of service at airports isn’t entirely new. Singapore Changi, for example, has installed an instant feedback system that lets airport users rate service on the spot. The airport uses the real-time feedback to address issues immediately and to reward employees for good service. Travellers at Phoenix International Airport, meanwhile, can rate the cleanliness of the toilets by scanning a QR code.

KLM’s Feedback app, however, marks the first such initiative by an airline. According to the carrier, the objective of the Feedback app is to increase passenger involvement during the ground stage of their journey in order to improve the passenger experience at the airport.

How it works
After downloading the app, which is available for both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, passengers first choose the airport they are currently at (13 airports are supported at the moment: Amsterdam, Accra, Almaty, Athens, Cape Town, Curacao, Geneva, Jakarta, Kuwait, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver) and then choose the area (check-in, lounge, boarding, arrival) and sub-area they want to rate.

The rating consists of simply tapping a ‘Thumps Up’ or ‘Thumbs Down’ button, but passengers can also specify their rating with a comment. Interestingly, the app also allows for the feedback to be published on Twitter at the same moment. Pasengers can rate each sub-area once a day and can also view how other passengers rated this area within the last 24 hours.

KLM team leads and station management at participating airports have been equipped with iPads that enables them to monitor the feedback in real-time, so they can react on passenger feedback immediately if needed and possible.

Says Gerard-Pieter de Haas, Director CRM at KLM, “Our staff is very excited about the feedback app as it helps them to take immediately corrective action and recover the required service levels for each touch point. Moreover, we can capture this experience and relay to other touch points – like Check-in, Lounge, Transfer or even Inflight – so staff can take immediate action if needed. This fully fits our CRM-vision of ‘connecting the dots’ and really puts the customer in the center of our attention.”
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