The Internet has played a pivotal role in enabling and promoting travel – globally and locally. At first – airlines that were slow to adapt saw an emergence in low-cost airlines that were able to reduce their marketing costs greatly – especially in places like Europe and the Rest of the World by removing the middleman and allowing greater competition.
Are airlines today doing everything they can and fully maximizing their marketing opportunities or are they still playing rear-guard defense strategies – suing potential innovative but disruptive startups instead getting ahead of them in Search Marketing?
Many airline executives can rightly point out that they are at the forefront of internet-based technologies and using it to improve their businesses in many ways. And airline revenues today aren’t floor priced either – most US airlines are commanding $1000 per seat and up for flights to nearby Europe and across the continental US – much higher than the pain-filled COVID pandemic that released havoc on the travel industry globally.
A post-COVID surge in demand for flights after a pan has seen a shortage of crew, airplanes, and seats – with everyone rushing to get back to normal and back to growth. But what will the next technologies in digital marketing bring and who will take expoloit them to the best advantage.
Disruptors don’t worry about brand integrity the same way traditional big brands to – there’s as big a difference between Ryanair and United Airlines as there is between United Airlines and Skyscanner or Skiplag.
Aggregator sites aren’t better – they are just better at getting in front of airlines in search engines. There are two ways to look at the problem: either aggregator are disrupting or, maybe carriers are just leaving money on the table to expect loyalty from people who’ve never flown with them.
The same effect is happening outside of the airline industry. The travel agency world has been almost completely wiped out. Their business model was being the broker – but that model didn’t suit the consumer. And the consumer is king.
It may look like the user is looking for “the lowest price” – and that might be true. But the user also might be looking for “value” – and value isn’t as binary as “lowest”. Value is an important variable at all levels of flying – from mega-corporations to solo digital nomads.
Thinking ahead in turbulent times when it seems that the big fight is at the castle door is slightly short-sighted – innovation isn’t stopping. Better, more efficient flight technology doesn’t just benefit big airlines – every model that has margin also has targets on its back – entrepreneurs looking to take a slice of the cake that isn’t theirs.