Kobie’s Innovation Team attended The World Aviation Festival this week, where key players in the airline and hospitality industries discussed market insights, new innovations and how they are overcoming the Covid-19 challenges. With a special edition for Earth Day, our team is sharing a few thoughts they heard through the conference on how airlines are becoming more sustainable (Happy Earth Day) and building loyalty relationships in the process.
The loyal passenger
The average flyer doesn’t really know or care about jet fuel, so how can this be addressed? Having consumers that are passionate about sustainability will help drive the mission forward. Airlines need to focus on engaging passengers through meaningful and interesting educational modules while they are inflight. Those that take steps to engage with their customers on this personal, transparent level when it comes to sustainability will simultaneously be building loyal passengers and likely through an emotional connection. These loyal passengers are brand advocates that will stick with their airline in the quest to becoming green. Want to take it a step further? Through tools like Kobie’s Emotional Loyalty Scoring (ELS), identify how your loyalty members are emotionally motivated – once you know that answer, you can start messaging and offering benefits specific to what they want.
Governments & policymakers
SAF, or sustainable aviation fuel, has emerged as one of the most promising paths to decarbonization; however, it comes at a cost. This fuel is 2-5x more expensive than conventional fuel, so airlines need incentive and support from governments to become more sustainable. In order for policies to be successful, they must be ambitious, incentivizing, globally aligned, scale up over time, send the right signals to the industry to encourage investment, and be technology agnostic. Loyal customers can assist in the push for policy change by engaging in their airline’s initiatives. For example, passengers of United Airlines are now able to enter their zip code to generate who their local officials are to send language asking for more support with sustainable measures in the aviation industry.
Alliances & coalitions
While governmental policies are necessary within each individual country, if we don’t act globally there will be a hesitation to play because of the added costs of eco-friendly fuels. Alliances serve as the connector between countries when it comes to getting everyone on board (no pun intended). These alliances have the capability to drive the conversation by being the bridge between nations through their partnerships of airlines. And, as alliances become an extension of the airline, they also have the ability to drive innovative and greener options for respective loyalty programs in their earn and burn offerings… imagine being able to redeem your points for carbon offsets next time you decide to fly!
At the end of the day, this pandemic will come and go, but climate change will not. Having a loyal customer base that is along for the eco-friendly ride will help airlines as they transition to more costly, yet more sustainable flights.