The airline industry is defined by their customers. They hop from one airline to another depending on the price or the quality of the service. Great service, as a part of the branding experience, is what brings airlines to the top of rankings, such as Skytrax. When customers have the experience of a lifetime with one airline, they will come back for more and eventually become loyal. When you have loyal customers, they will perform the most powerful form of marketing for you – word of mouth.
In an economic downturn, it has been proven that airline companies who keep up their branding and marketing efforts end up doing better in the long-term. You must integrate your quality and branding into every aspect of your company from the design of the airplane (interior or livery), provide great food experience in stunning packaging design, up to the way stewards are dressed. This is what we call Total Consumer Experience (TCE). ( See Velvet Airlines case study by Dot Kite )
Another thing airlines must do in today’s economy is to be transparent. People want to know how they are doing financially, what they are doing with the environment, and other airline and airplane news. Thus, information on these topics must be made readily available. Transparency will only be positive for your company, especially if the competition is still hiding their processes.
What do airline companies need to do today? They need to be passionate, invest even if there is an economic downturn, and create a strong following and good word of mouth through excellent service.