Dollar bills! And no, this has nothing to do with sex

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 itThumbnail image for body.JPG” 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.

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7 Responses to Dollar bills! And no, this has nothing to do with sex

  1. Addison Schonland June 18, 2008 at 5:41 am #

    I suppose a picture of me would not have helped!

  2. Mary Kirby June 18, 2008 at 8:02 am #

    Depends on the picture :)

  3. dare i ask if that’s a pic of you then Mary?

    I’ll have you know that’s a highly sort after top ten to be on (and obviously in no way a cunning ploy to get pictures of bikini-clad girls onto Flightglobal).

    however is the “bloody cheek” because i only put you in at number 9 and not higher?

  4. Mary Kirby June 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm #

    I cannot disclose the source of my saucy pics, but you might be surprised to learn that there are a few curves hiding under my usual conservative garb :)

  5. John S. June 19, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    Mary, I am as outraged as you are about Michael Targett ranking you so low. Your ‘gams’ are worth at least Number 2 on the list, if not Number 1!

  6. Mary Kirby June 19, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    That is very, very kind of you, John. Now if I could only find pants to fit!

  7. Doug Corridan December 22, 2009 at 7:03 am #

    You can always get someone something from Amazon with the safety net that they can return it if they don’t like it. But returning things is such a hassle. The card takes care of that–no more returns, no more hassles.