Archive for Commercial Strategy

ROI of Social? How about $25m Annually…

KLM owes a huge thank you to Eyjafjallajökull. Oh, you don’t remember our Icelandic friend? The volcano that erupted in 2010 which left thousands of passengers stranded in the wake of cancellations? Perhaps it’s little known history by now, but Eyjafjallajökull marked the beginning of what’s now a $25 million-a-year profit center for KLM. With phone channels busy, […]

Creative Marketing: Candy as Payment?

How’s this for creative marketing? Train travelers using the Sanriku Railway network in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture can now use KitKats as train passes. The concept is part of a scheme by Nestlé to rejuvenate tourism in the northern province, following the devastating effects of the 2011 T?hoku Earthquake. Customers can buy special packs of KitKat for less […]

What the $15 Billion Virtual Goods Market Can Teach Airlines and Hotels

As I chatted with my friend in Europe well into the night last night on my iPhone, I accidentally stumbled into the “store” of the LINE app I was using to conduct the chat. With the click of a button, I could buy entire volumes of cutesy “stickers” featuring some cartoon-like character that I could […]

How I Lost 10kg in an Hour: The Secret to Flying Ryanair!

I’ve flown like an animal before. Such is the most accurate way I can describe my experience flying easyJet out of London’s Luton Airport, a hotbed of low-cost carrier activity. While my bag drop was simple and straightforward (though I’d hate to go through the full check-in process there), from the moment I left the […]

A Frugal Dad’s Perspective on the Profitability Challenges that Plague U.S. Carriers

As I landed in Zurich this morning pondering how I no longer can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine on an intercontinental flight (which will never be the case on Air France so long as Mr. Christian Herzog remains SVP Marketing–more on this to come), I was calmed down by a lovely infographic put together […]

Using Social Media to Charter a Plane? Virgin America says OK!

I like clothes. And I like social media. So it’s no wonder that I’ve been a member of Gilt Groupe, which offers “luxury” goods online at lower margins, with the aim to make up the discount with volume sold. I was quite shocked to open my latest set of offers, however, and see one from […]

A Question About Ancillary Revenues…

Just a question that’s on my mind after hearing the discussion at IATA’s World Passenger Symposium today in Singapore. With their ancillary revenue strategies, are airlines around the world winning the small battles only to prepare to lose the war?  I’ll follow up more on this later….

Prioritizing Precious Expenditures: Livery Design or Customer Experience?

Aviation buffs everywhere love a beautiful livery, but painting and re-painting a fleet isn’t cheap. As part of its merger with Continental, United Airlines is in the process of rebranding its livery—for the second time in the past seven years (see AirlineReporter’s hilarious account here). With a fleet of roughly 700, the physical process of […]

Experiential Search, Speed and Mobile Integration Highlight Key Themes from Amadeus Airline e-Commerce Conference

With his large responsibility as VP of Product Development for Sales and e-Commerce Platforms for Amadeus, Denis Lacroix doesn’t often know when he’ll get to go on holiday. What he does know, however, is that he wants to see Lady Gaga. And thanks to that, passengers around the world are now able to search for […]

Sales Culture Rule 1: Link Incentives to Performance, but Look Beyond the Numbers.

“Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” No, really. It is. Airline industry sales, at most levels, are less incentive-driven than many other industries (at least in terms of commission as a proportion of overall salary). While I can’t tell you exactly why this is, I can hypothesize two theories.  Perhaps it has something […]

Sales Culture Rule 2: Segment to the Sector or Account Level, and Align Titles Accordingly.

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” If Vince Lombardi ran an airline, I sure as hell wouldn’t work for it. After all, if winning really isn’t everything, but the only thing, then there would be, well, one adequate airline in the world. And out of Singapore […]

Sales Culture Rule 3: Well-Roundedness is Good!

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Education is awfully expensive for skills that will never be used in the real world. Unfortunately, I’ve been told by more than one individual in the workplace that the value of a university education, or even a Master’s for that matter, is primarily to “teach one how […]

Sales Culture Rule 4: Shift the Deck Chairs Around.

“If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” Sales is a relationship business. That much I’m sure we can agree on. However, the less dependent an organization is on the individual relationships of its sales force, the healthier that sales team will be. In other words, the best sales organizations have the “Four […]

(Aside: What Hiring Managers can Learn from a 7-Foot Nigerian…)

Building on my previous post, the fact is that our industry needs a wave of innovative, spirited young talent. There will always be people passionate about the airline industry, and the doors to the world that working here gives us. Unfortunately, our industry’s leaders–and not necessarily top leaders, but perhaps more middle management–often fail to understand that […]

Sales Culture Rule 5: Experience is for the Dinosaurs.

“If you’re a gifted flirt, talking about the price of eggs will do as well as any other subject.” Experience is overrated. Yes, I said it. Nice way to start a blog, right?  Come across as some brash know-it-all who can’t seem to find a hat big enough to cover his head? Hardly. Let me […]

Sales Culture Rule 6: Let Go, H.O.!!

“Sometimes you have to let go to see if there is anything worth holding on to.” Each and every airline in the world has its own culture, which trickles down from central management to the farthest reaches of its network. This is the primary responsibility of a carrier’s–or any company’s–leadership. Establish a mission, vision and […]

Sales Culture Rule 7: Practice What You Preach

“The injury we do and the one we suffer are not weighed in the same scales.” -Aesop, Fables Air travel is expensive. Corporate air travel is even more expensive. I have often wondered how companies assign a value of a particular employee traveling to attend a meeting, visit a customer, or whatever other business one may […]

The Ham & Eggs Challenge: 7 Tenets for Leading a Sales Force from Involved to Committed

“The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.” To my knowledge, tennis legend Martina Navratilova was never in airline sales. (She did fly a lot, though–Flushing Meadows to Melbourne Park and back to Roland Garros will log you some miles!). But when I saw […]

Customer Engagement Strategy for the Airline Industry