In a post-pandemic world, the role of digital marketing in the aviation industry has never been more important. With more competition and a customer base seeking and expecting greater travel experiences, airlines need to up their game to ensure their brand remains up there with the big boys of travel such as British Airways, Emirates and easyJet.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the crucial role of targeted marketing strategies for airlines, from SEO through to traditional printed media, and explore ways to boost your own marketing campaign, helping to ensure that when it comes to getting your brand’s name out there – the sky’s the limit!
Table of contents
- What is airline marketing
- Types of digital marketing used in aviation
- Traditional marketing for airlines
- Other considerations
- How we can help
What is airline marketing?
Airline or aviation marketing involves creating and implementing a strategy to target, attract and retain customers for an airline brand. Specific aviation-targeted marketing is essential to reach the right audience and get the best results in a fiercely competitive industry.
Types of digital marketing used in aviation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving a website to increase visibility, ranking and enhance user experience. SEO encompasses all areas of your website including content, structure, design and technical aspects such as site speed and crawlability.
A tailored SEO strategy can boost lead conversions for airlines more effectively than any other resource. Take for example the search term ‘flights from gatwick to edinburgh’. This is searched for on average 3200 times a month globally (2400 times in the UK). EasyJet is currently ranking in position 2 for this term, meaning the brand will typically receive 15.8% of the traffic. This could potentially result in around 500 extra users per month visiting the EasyJet site, most of whom will be likely be ready, or close to, making a booking.
Connecting with potential customers at the right moment in their booking journey can be an incredibly effective form of marketing. A well-placed ad enables airlines to be visible at the right place at the right time.
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising platforms such as Google Ads offer airlines a more expedited way to see results, especially when compared to organic marketing which can often be a slow burner. For example, when new routes are added by airlines, PPC advertising can rapidly increase awareness about these new destinations, a process that would usually take much longer if relying solely on SEO tactics.
Here at Adido, our PPC team works closely with the SEO team to ensure the right commercial decisions are made based on ranking data. For example, not all keywords will result in organic clicks and some clicks will always go to paid, therefore presence in both channels is sometimes needed. By working effectively in both areas, we can be strategic with budget and planning, ensuring the strongest strategy is used to get the best results for our clients.
Social media advertising is a valuable tool for garnering customer support and feedback, enabling airlines to engage directly with its customers and therefore increasing brand awareness and customer loyalty in the process. Social media also allows airlines to provide real-time updates to customers, keeping them informed of schedule changes, weather forecasts and any circumstances that may affect their journey.
By sending regular targeted content, airlines can keep their customers informed about new routes or special deals on offer, helping to build brand loyalty and familiarity. In addition to regular updates, the use of historical data in email marketing can also provide great results. Airlines can use historical data to reach out to loyal customers around key decision-making times using tailored content. This is proven to be an effective way to nudge customers to the next level in the buying journey.
Traditional marketing for airlines
Print advertising in newspapers, magazines and travel guides remains a valuable strategy for airlines due to way of increasing brand awareness to those who are more technically adverse. The tangible nature of print, particularly when included in prestigious magazines or newspapers, boosts credibility, adding that extra touch of quality and authenticity.
Strategically placed billboards offer the benefit of uninterrupted marketing, ensuring a wide audience will see the brand advertised multiple times, encouraging the potential customer to move from the ‘dreaming’ stage to making an actual booking.
In aviation, a billboard might provide good value when placed on someone's daily commute in city centre and highly populated locations.
Television & radio
TV and radio advertising is still a great way to increase brand awareness and reach customers. Ads can also be repurposed; for example, when creating ads for TV, these can also be shown across the web on platforms such as YouTube. Similarly, radio ads can be played on popular music and podcast platforms such as Spotify.
Reputation and brand loyalty
More than ever reputation and brand loyalty matters. A good reputation, developed through consistent high-quality service and customer satisfaction can help attracts new customers and retain existing ones. As we all know, poor customer service from airlines often hits the headlines, resulting in long-lasting damage to the brand, so tactics such as responding to reviews (good and bad), keeping customers informed and ensuring your site has accurate, up to date content can boost reputation and nurture loyalty in your brand, encouraging repeat bookings and positive reviews.
Seasonality and market changes have a high impact on the aviation industry, but a good marketing strategy will take these factors into consideration, analysing historical and projected patterns of passenger demand for different regions and markets at different points in the year.
For example, short-haul domestic or European flights may peak during bank holidays as workers in the UK get an extended weekend, whereas long haul flights across the globe will peak during July and August for school holidays. During these periods, marketing activities such as paid advertising may be directed towards quieter routes.
Whilst not specifically a marketing tactic, many airlines have created loyalty schemes that help to encourage repeat bookings with potential flyers over the last few decades. These schemes are now so commonplace that some airlines are now making more money from these schemes than actually flying their fleet!
How we can help
Over the years, Adido has worked with dozens of travel brands, many of whom incorporate flights into their packages or partner with airlines to fly their travellers all over the world. Our knowledge of the travel market across all continents gives us valuable in-depth insights into how, why and when people fly and travel. We love working with a wide range of travel businesses and have a proven record in boosting commercial success year after year.
But don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at the fantastic work we did for Southampton Airport. A few years ago, the airport approached us to help build awareness of their package holidays and city breaks. By using Google Ads experiments, the Adido PPC team was able to implement a CPC reduction strategy to help reduce overall costs by 68% and increase ROI by 85%. The team also submitted a trademark exclusion to stop competitors from using the airport’s brand terms in their ads and ran A/B tests on landing pages to improve the conversion rate.
Want to get your airline digital marketing strategy soaring? Get in touch with the Adido travel marketing team today and we'll be happy to chat!