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Building Stronger Ties Between Airlines and Car Makers

All Nippon Airways (ANA) and LEXUS Partnership

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the latest to announce a partnership with a luxury vehicle manufacturer to transfer its premium class passengers within the airport. In this post, Experience The Skies look into the effectiveness of airlines maximizing value from co-branding with luxury vehicle partnerships.

ANA Partnership

Starting October 2015, ANA will offer LEXUS vehicles for first class passengers travelling from its international gateways of London Heathrow Airport (LHR), Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND). Passenger will be about to enjoy transfer services between the International to domestic terminals. This can reduce travel time significantly. This partnership is exciting. After all, these are both very high earning industries. Motor trade is very lucrative but it is still important for dealers to look in depth at trade insurance compare and analysis the costs extensively too.

Under the agreement, passenger using the “ANA & LEXUS CONNECTION” service will have access to the luxury vehicle manufacturer’s flagship model LS or LX³. In addition, a special edition LEXUS LS 600h will be released in November 2015 featuring ANA’s distinctive blue and white color scheme.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) First Class Suite
All Nippon Airways (ANA) First Class Suite
Credit: ANA (All Rights Reserved)
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Business Class
Credit: ANA (All Rights Reserved)

Analysis

ANA is one of many airlines with car transfer service available. Here are some examples of other airlines offering terminal transfer service:

Airline Airports Luxury Car Manufacturer
Delta Air Lines (DL)(News – November 2014) ATL, LGA, LAX, JFK, MSP, SEA, and DTW Porsche
United Airlines (UA) DEN, IAD, SFO, ORD, IAH, EWR and LAX Mercedes Benz
American Airlines (AA) LAX, DFW, JFK, and LGA Cadillac
Air Canada (AC) YYZ BMW
Lufthansa (LH) FRA, MUC Porsche

Terminal transfer service is different than chauffeur service whereby passengers are being picked up to and from airports. This service, on the other hand, allows an airline to connect specific passengers with tight connections from one plane to another through the tarmac and bypass the terminal. As this can create additional traffic, the service is available to only a limited set of passengers.

Given the exposure between the airlines and the luxury vehicle manufacturers, the partnerships should yield more than just an introduction of the transfers to passengers. In today’s world where information is fragmented and consumed through many outlets, it is more important to maximize all the interaction points to promote partnerships and to generate additional revenue.

Passenger Experience Paradigm
Passenger Experience Paradigm

Experience The Skies reviewed each of the airlines listed above for product promotion for these luxury car manufacturers, there was no clear indication other than Air Canada that premium class passengers or the airlines’ elite frequent flyers can enjoy additional service (e.g. test drive events, discounted car/truck purchase) at all the stages of the passenger experience paradigm. United Airlines’ MileagePlus® members could enjoy some benefits (source) but requires more than five clicks to be located.

Additionally, from a promotional and advertising perspective, Air Canada has featured BMW in its lounges via a specialty magazine and inflight entertainment system via commercials (ON BOARD).

How To Maximize The Partnership Through Promotion

Passengers do not necessary want to be bombarded with promotional material on any specific types of products. It is important for airlines to establish its passenger demographics and consider variables like city, income, age, prior ticket purchase, etc to establish a base and tailor the promotional push accordingly in all stages of the passenger experience paradigm. Without dissecting the data first, the effectiveness of any promotions would decrease. This would also impact brand awareness and credibility (i.e. passengers would not think the product is curated to them specifically if they routine get promotions/ads)

As luxury cars are targetted to travellers with more disposable income, natural locations to showcase them could be at premium check in areas, within lounges and at gate areas (AT THE AIRPORT). Additionally, instead of just running a blanket ad before movies or tv shows are played on IFEs (ON BOARD). Airlines should consider asking car manufacturers to provide them exclusive video material to showcase the cars. The 2D static promotional experience can also be supplemented with more interactivity (for example, the car manufacturer can work with the airline to product games with the aim to introduce build brand awareness). Airlines can also work with car rental companies to provide discounts on specific models to enforce the partnerships (POST TRAVEL).

Final Call

Transfer service is still a rare and unique experience. While it may come off as too pushy for airlines to promote the cars at the time of transfer, there is no reason for them stop entirely. The airline can create interactions post travel to enforce the experience. This can be done by including an indicator in past trip records and frequent flyer account information. The key is to give the passenger the control to seek information as required and maximize engagement in finding the product (e.g. airlines can include locations of the closest dealership if the passenger want to take a test drive of the vehicles such as the Wichita GMC Acadia used in the transfer service. They can entice passengers by offering bonus miles for the test drive and purchase of the cars).

It can not be stressed enough that over-promotion can lead to lower satisfaction and promotional burnout. With more data analysis, targeted promotions and product placements can build brand awareness and incite a new want/need which will result in additional sales. The key is to give passengers the control.

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