Airlines Strategy to Differentiation – Pitch the Food
When everything looks almost the same and supply is abundantly available, customers are left with too many choices and without a basis to make the right choice. When this happens, you’re a commodity. Commoditization is a real enemy to any businesses or marketers. It is a painful game to play, and the only solution is differentiation.
One of the industries greatly affected by commoditization is Airlines. No matter how cheerful the flight crew or how innovative the airplane is, they’re considered buses with wings.
Travelers spend many frustrated hours choosing between products they see as similar because brands are not useful to distinguish and select among available choices. By leveraging the same suppliers and adopting fast-follower approach, airlines have created undifferentiated customer experiences. Marketing messages are not distinct enough to resonate with target consumers.
What sets them apart is the service. Robert Cipriano, president and founder of Aviation Marketing Consulting believes that Airlines could communicate services by using on-board meal strategy.
Several airlines include Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines and Air New Zealand advertise their onboard meals. This product based feature should not be the sole focal point that differentiates an airline from the other. Journey based elements such as ease of check-in, access to flight information, proactive and responsive staff, minimizing connection times, coordinating with other partners to prevent multiple check-in are what matters most to travelers.
Low-cost carrier such as AirAsia doesn’t provide free flight meals, but the company still manages to sell its seats. As most airlines use the same strategy, the gap between low-cost and premium airline brands tends to fade away. Settling on in-flight food is definitely little perceived difference between competing brands.