“Aloha” to be heard at JFK come June, 2012


We have just received word that Hawaiian Airlines will launch non-stop service between Honolulu’s International Airport and New York’s JFK Airport next June. While there is current non-stop service from Newark Liberty to Honolulu on United-Continental Holdings, this new service is a vote of confidence in the travel industry’s growth particularly to such a heavily tourism dependent state.

This is not just another airline starting a new route – here’s where the impact begins: The battered tourism industry in Hawaii will be receiving over 100,000 new seats annually. This translates into millions of dollars in tax revenue for Hawaii, and over $156 million in additional consumer spending (these figures courtesy of Mike McCartney, Hawaii Tourism Authority). And yes, New York will obviously gain from the new connection in terms of visitor spending, taxes, etc.

Now onto the best part – the brand! Hawaiian Airlines is in the midst of an aggressive fleet renewal which includes brand new wide-body Airbus A330 equipment (which will be featured on flights to/from JFK), new seating designed to increase legroom throughout, extensive on-demand seatback entertainment in all classes of service, and free hot meals for all passengers on these long-haul flights.

Very special rates are available now and for a limited time; please visit the official press release at:
http://investor.hawaiianairlines.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=82818&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1630932&highlight=

 

Going too far in travel advertising ? A micro-study…

To begin this piece, I must mention the recent ad campaign that Spirit Airlines launched over the use of the Anthony Weiner. If you have not seen it, go to http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/06/08/spirit-airlines-spoofs-weiner-scandal-in-new-ad-1211051249/

What do you think? A very interesting angle used by Spirit. An airline that seems to be known for it’s media splashes (see $1.00 fares from LA to Vegas), Spirit Airlines has done it again. For a few years now, Spirit Airlines has built a reputation for pushing boundaries in advertising. But have they gone too far this time?

By branding themselves as an airline that uses current events to promote it’s services, Spirit reminds companies that targeting an event is risky business. While web traffic will definitely rise, it is influx of revenue that needs to be carefully calculated in advance. Keep one eye on the suggestive and entertaining ads to follow and think about if the buzz could lead you to purchasing travel related services.

American Airlines and the departure from Traditional Advertising

Both consumers and travel industry insiders have seen all sorts of advertising methods evolve. While social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are in the midst of becoming traditional, still newer forms keep evolving especially in the guerilla marketing segment of advertising. Enter a recent trend: Flash Mobs! I just watched a YouTube video (watch below) of American Airlines using a flash mob to create buzz about adding 10 new destinations from Los Angeles.

Yes, I think it is a cleaver way to generate brand buzz, especially if the flash mob performs in multiple locations of high traffic in a particular city or region. Not only are people talking to others about witnessing the experience, but they are recording and posting videos of it onto social media. The actual exposure is not just the 30 people who witnessed it live but potentially thousands more.

The cost of hiring a few actors for a day –or longer– is much more cost effective than buying air time on major TV networks. And since these highly organized flash mobs come and go so fast in public places, there is a quick impact on the public. Expect to see more creative flash mobs popping-up around you in the near future at rail stations, public parks, and malls.

New Brand in Airport Lounges with Access for All!

The first airport lounge opened in 1939 at New York’s LaGuardia Airport with American Airlines “Admirals Club Lounge”. Since that time, many large airlines have opened lounges at focus or hub airports to cater to their own premium passengers and allow them a place to relax away from crowded gates. Access to these lounges typically requires a paid membership with passenger ticketing in business or first class cabins. Now a new brand of lounges is ready to hit the US with future expansion plans.

AirSpace Lounge, a start-up in the airport facilities industry, is getting ready to open their first lounge at Baltimore’s BWI Airport. Their concept involves creating lounges that are open to anyone who wishes to pay the entrance fee. With passes starting at just $17.50 per visit, AirSpace intends to use yield-based pricing to make the venture a success. As the lounges fill up to capacity, the pass pricing continues to rise. Lounges are slated to have power outlets at each seat, wifi, complimentary meals, and alcoholic beverages available for sale.

I am confident this new brand will certainly make an impact on the marketplace, especially where some of the largest airlines — like JetBlue and Southwest Airlines — do not offer airport lounges. Also, over the last 10 years airlines have downsized or closed lounges making space easily available for AirSpace Lounge to lease. Targeting all passengers regardless of ticketed cabin further increases exposure and allows AirSpace to create a loyal following.

How will the airlines react? Space at each individual airport will dictate who can expand and how much. If AirSpace Lounge is a wild success, I predict airlines will either try to match the inclusivity and pricing concepts or buy interest in the venture.

Look for the first AirSpace Lounge to debut at Baltimore BWI this May! If you have a long layover or arrive at the airport early, consider this option for comfort, relaxation, and connectivity!

Spirit Airlines: Buzzing from L.A. to Vegas for a Buck

The airlines have discovered a nifty way to really get the attention of consumers and competitors. Just yesterday, Spirit Airlines announced service from Los Angeles International (LAX) to Las Vegas McCarron (LAS) with introductory one-way fares of just $1.00 per seat, plus applicable taxes. While this bargain fare is heavily restricted to travel on certain days and flights, it is creating quite a buzz.

Spirit Airlines is one of few airlines that focus on leisure travel. By this, I mean they fly to very leisure oriented destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Atlantic City. They have also been part of the pioneering group of airlines that started charging for everything from pillows to advance seating assignments. So why has Spirit Airlines not already targeted LAX to Vegas? So many competitors – both low cost and legacy carriers – already serve the market. They needed a bold way to introduce their brand and get attention in order to make the five daily flights a success.

The industry impact has been interesting. Some airlines like jetBlue and Allegiant Air did engage in a “fare war” while much larger Delta Air Lines and United Airlines did not. My guess is that much of the passenger traffic on Delta and United is connecting through LAX and therefore they feel the discounted fares would not help to gain market share.

While the $1.00 fare seems ridiculous, it is a proven sales tactic that generates traffic to Spirit’s website, talk in the industry, and gets the seats filled.

LV Air’s Brilliant Branding for new Las Vegas to NYC service

Since 2008, nearly 20,000 daily seats have been eliminated from the greater New York City to Las Vegas air travel market. The Northeastern US also has a growing number of casinos popping up from Atlantic City to Southeastern Connecticut. As the economy begins to repair itself, Las Vegas has noticed that gamers are opting to stay local. Vegas needs a new and unique way to get their high profile casino gamblers back to the Nevada desert. Enter LV Air!

Yesterday it was reported that a new airline called LV Air intends to charter wide-body Boeing 767 aircraft to provide new passenger service between Las Vegas McCarron and New York’s JFK International Airport. The twist is that the brand’s aircraft are slated to have nightclub inspired mood lighting, club music played while boarding, flatbed seating for 18 passengers in it’s premium cabin, and onboard iPads available. Other features include holograms of celebrities providing the pre-flight safety announcements, meals catered from notable Las Vegas restaurants, and luggage transfer service direct from the aircraft to hotel room eliminating waits at the baggage claim carousel.

LV Air is talking to multiple casinos in Las Vegas to create partnerships for transportation of the casinos’ best “high rollers”. The agreements are said to include allowing those casinos to have first rights over seats to transport their clients. It is widely known that many casinos operate or lease private jets to transport their biggest players to the casinos. This concept would allow the casinos to provide a luxurious and unique air travel experience while avoiding the cost of leasing or operating their own jets.

Brilliant branding, multiple sales channels, and providing a unique experience from the big apple to the desert oasis is coming this year. Keep your eye out for developments at LV Air!

http://flylvairnow.com/about-us

Corporate Mergers – Where Do the Brands Go?

During the previous decade, the travel industry entered a period of Darwinism. Survival of the fittest became the reoccurring theme and that resulted in a number of large mergers. Acquisitions were not frequent due to frozen capital markets in the Great Recession and fear over where the global economy was headed. As the travel industry contracted and new brands emerged where the did the previous ones go? And what exactly happens to brand recognition during the merger?

Airline mergers are a great example because of their size and impact on the whole travel industry. Remember America West? They became part of US Airways. How about Northwest Airlines? They are now part of Delta Air Lines. Continental has recently begun is rolling itself into United Airlines.

While the airlines try to limit confusion during the conversion process, brand managers know that featuring the best of each individual brand often works best. For example, Delta took what they felt were the best parts of both Delta SkyMiles and Northwest’s WorldPerks and developed one that both client bases would enjoy. The new United is adopting Continental’s most recent livery while keeping the name “United” on their jets.

I think brands take their place in history and never really evaporate. Use the link below to see the Delta Air Lines family tree and the parts of it’s sum:

http://blog.delta.com/2009/06/17/we-love-to-fly-celebrating-80-years-of-nonstop-service/