October 31, 2017
 

The aviation industry across the world works closely with the respective tourism boards of countries by supporting and participating in various promotions and offers to promote the destination through the airline. Spokespersons from international airlines share their views on this in a report by Irene Susan Eapen.

Over the past few years, the international aviation industry has been focusing on the concept of airlines becoming a destination to travellers. They are giving increasing significance to the idea of promoting a destination catered to by a particular airline and thus, the transit destination becomes a hub for most of their flights from different routes. A destination plays a key role in increasing the growth or traffic of travellers in an airline, be it leisure travellers, corporates or business travellers. Most of the airlines are now working with the tourism boards and are keen on promoting segments like MICE to the travellers through services like convenient group check in and the increased baggage allowance.

The outlook of Indian travellers is also changing now as they prefer a well planned travel and no more last minute bookings. For long weekends and short trips, the Indian travellers mostly prefer international destinations and through a visa free policy in a destination, they tend to explore more destinations on a single holiday. Through this concept, the growth rate in the aviation Industry is increasing and it is likely that there will be an increase in the growth rate over the next few years also.

Rajesh Menon - Regional Sales & Marketing Manager, South Asia, Cathay Pacific Airways, says, “For an airline, a destination can be a key facet of communication especially with leisure travellers. The air traffic into a destination is correlated to the demand or number of visitors to that destination.”

Rajesh said, “We work very closely with Tourism Boards to provide our customers with more insights into key destinations we fly to. There is a strong connect which one can build in the minds of the consumers along with the destination and the airline.”

David Lim, General Manager India, Singapore Airlines, says, “The air travel industry has witnessed a steady growth globally; it caters to the various market segments with products and services tailored to meet their requirements.“ Trends in the behaviour of travellers

David Lim observes that Indian travellers are slowly moving away from last-minute bookings to 3-4 months of advance travel planning so that they can get to avail of early-bird prices. "We have noticed that nowadays the Indian travellers are enjoying the benefits of long weekends; short haul trips to international destinations are now becoming popular. With the visa free transit facility available to Indian travellers in destinations like Singapore, we have seen a growing trend of travellers who are now visiting two cities in one trip.”

Promoting the airline through various segments also like MICE or weddings David says, “We have been promoting the airline through various group movements from the Indian market as MICE is an important segment. Our MICE packages include the exceptional value fares, convenient group check in and in-flight benefits like access to personalized welcome and upgrade offers, the increased baggage allowance and freight arrangements to specifically cater to the group. We assist our MICE clients to organize meetings, incentive tours, conventions and exhibitions.”

Travellers on a destination route

Says Rajesh, "The leisure travellers have become our target audience when marketing through the destination route. Building an aspiration around a destination helps generate traffic to that destination. We are also targeting the growing segment of bleisure travellers. Hong Kong fits the bill in every aspect. Hong Kong is a very famous commercial hub and offers many attractions for families. The outreach to business travellers is important because Hong Kong is also a transit destination." David stated, “We have noticed that the leisure travellers are generally looking out for such services for a holiday. The corporate travellers are looking for flight experiences that can bridge the gap between on-ground and in-flight experiences.”

Marketing plans through campaigns or promotions

Cathay Pacific Airways promotes destinations through various tactical fare offers, joint events with tourism boards, local sightseeing attractions and social media campaigns. On the other hand, Singapore Airlines constantly pursues improved product and service innovations including offering personalized experiences, which provides the airline its marketing edge. "We will continue with our direct marketing activities and will adopt an aggressive, integrated marketing approach with a focus on our digital and mobile offerings being service driven,” David says.

Rajesh added, “Hong Kong is our hub and we connect well to Hong Kong from six ports in India. It is a city that offers with varied experiences for people with different interests like shopping, cuisine, theme parks, natural beauty, etc. Hence, we closely partner with Hong Kong Tourism Board to share these experiences with our customers through different marketing mediums. With the visa free policy one can get to travel with ease.”

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