A US government programme that could help struggling carriers boost their ancillary revenue hasn't garnered a whole lot of attention since it was unveiled on 11 July. The reason may have something to do with the fact that the Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI), in announcing that its 25-year-old paper-based "Survey of International Air Travellers" will be made available to all major booking engines and airline reservation web sites, was a little dry in its delivery.
Perhaps the OTTI should have followed the logic of Flight Global Editor Michael Targett, who this week proclaimed that "sex sells and you just can't get away from it" and had the indecency to name this very blog as number nine in his list of "Ten Most Blatant Uses of Sex for an Aviation-related Marketing Purpose". The absolute bloody nerve of some people!
At any rate, while I might not be able to bring sexy back to the OTTI's press release, I can tell you that it missed a key point. Airlines and online travel agents will be paid $1 every time a passenger completes the survey online.
Here's how it works. The survey will appear as a screen popup when passengers make their online reservations. Promotions, such as $25 gift card drawings, will be used to entice people to complete the survey.
"An airline could easily generate 10,000 surveys per month and that would be $10,000," says Addison Schonland, president of Innovative Analysis Group, a consulting firm that is subcontracting to the OTTI's contractor, CIC Research.
This could prove a lucrative little endeavour if carriers adopt it quickly and with gusto. Additionally, the programme holds a ton of promise for airlines, travel planners and tourism boards that mine this sort of data to determine origin-destination travel patterns, traveller demographics, consumer choice resources, trip characteristics and spending patterns.
"Having good consistent numbers to drill down and look at segments - all of that requires a greater sample size to do a better job at analysis," says Tiffany Urness, research director for the California travel and tourism commission.
She says a greater respondent rate "opens up wonderful new possibilities of analysis not only for us but to share with members of the California travel industry".
At present, a total 60 airlines participate in the paper survey programme. Schonland says one US major and another low-cost operator have already shown strong interest in the online method.
Read the complete post at http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/runway-girl/2008/06/dollar-bills.html
Tue, Jun 17 2008 10:52 PM
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Filed under: Air Transport, US Air Transport, Regulatory, Innovative Analysis Group, OTTI, airlines, IAG, anciallary revenue, sex, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, Addison Schonland, Department of Commerce