Up, up and away! After more than a year when flying was off the table for many people, travel is back – and many airlines are seeing record-breaking bookings. Airline entrepreneurs, capitalizing on the re-emergence of travel and back-to-business behaviors, are launching new airlines. According to an article about the new airlines in The Wall Street Journal, “More than 90 new carriers have plans in place to take off before the end of the year.” Journal reporters Alison Sider, Benjamin Katz and Mike Cherney add that there are several reasons for the launch of new airlines, including the ongoing recovery of air travel and the opportunities available to purchase discounted aircraft and hire displaced airline personnel.
Several of the new airlines are offering low-fares and niche service, targeting certain geographical regions and providing less bells and whistles. Low-cost carriers set to take off, including Avelo Airlines, Breeze Airways and Norse Atlantic Airways are differentiating with brand messaging and cross-channel customer acquisition strategies. Additionally, with travel prices, including airfares, on the rise, low-cost carriers could be in an ideal position to reach consumers interested in affordable, low-fuss travel.
Avelo Airlines Deploys Creative Content And Social Media Sweepstakes To Kick Off Brand Launch
Avelo Airlines, a new low-cost carrier founded by Andrew Levy, a former United Airlines Holdings Inc. executive, saw its first flight take off in April. The airline aims to appeal to travelers interested in adventure and saving money on flights. The carrier flies in and out of smaller airports in California, the Pacific Northwest and other Western states, and its website messaging includes local landmarks, sites and activities to see and do in those destinations, like “Tacos and Hiking” in L.A. Convenience and distance to activities and city centers is a focus of Avelo’s content strategy, enticing consumers who might feel hesitant about lesser-known airports. Avelo explains they are “the go-to airline for the outdoor purist, wine enthusiast, skier, nature lover or anyone who wants smoother travel that saves money.”
Avelo kicked off the summer travel season with a promotional campaign advertised across social media channels. The Avelo “Grads-on-the-Go” giveaway encourages recent graduates to “sign up to win two round trip tickets anywhere Avelo flies” on the Avelo website. Using the hashtag #AveloGradSweepstakes, entrants can double their chances by also posting a pic of their recent graduation on social media. The Grads-on-the-Go giveaway promotion drives traffic across the Avelo website and social media channels, and collects first-party data for Avelo, building a crucial database for future targeting campaigns. Millennials and Gen Z are known for their wanderlust, and prioritizing travel, making them a likely audience for new, low-cost carriers.
Breeze Airways Leverages “Niceness,” Seamless Booking And Rewards Programs
Breeze Airways, founded by David Neeleman, is based in Utah and is the fifth airline venture undertaken by Neeleman, including JetBlue Airways in 1998. Breeze Airways, with flights primarily across the Southeast, Midwest and New England, aims to reach consumers by promising to merge kindness and seamless technology creating an “accessible and genuinely nice experience for everyone.” Explains Neeleman, “There couldn’t be better timing for what we’re trying, People want to get away. They want to see new places. They want to experience new things.”
Seeking to minimize friction and enhance the customer experience, Breeze, similar to other airline carriers, does not charge its customers to change or cancel flights. Breeze does charge extra fees for bags and legroom, as do most low-cost carriers, but Breeze offers “Nice” and “Nicer” options for these “perks,” which complements Breeze Airways’ “Seriously Nice™” flights and fares. These customizations, along with the ability to easily book and track flights, can all be managed on the Breeze app, which also gives Breeze Airways access to vital consumer data.
Like many airlines, which are upping the ante on loyalty and rewards programs this year, Breeze Airways has introduced BreezePoints, a loyalty program that lets Breeze fliers accrue points based on perks purchased and whether they fly Nice or Nicer. BreezePoints can be redeemed for fares and “ancillary items” like seat selections, and, coming soon, in-flight cocktails and snacks. Breeze also gifts 500 BreezePoints to consumers who download the Breeze app. A strong loyalty program is a likely indicator that Breeze is focused on customer retention right out of the gate. By offering a “nice” experience that earns rewards, promoted across channels, Breeze may be able to entice those consumers who are nervous to fly or who didn’t love other experiences with low-cost carriers.
Norse Atlantic Airways Will Focus On Cost Efficient, Environmentally Conscious, International Travel
Set to start flying in December 2021, Norse Atlantic Airways is an international carrier that plans to offer low-cost travel to major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Paris and Oslo. Founded by Bjørn Tore Larsen, who is also the CEO, Norse Atlantic Airways is based in Norway. By offering both low fare options to major metro areas, and touting the brand’s environmental friendliness throughout launch messaging, Norse Atlantic Airways is likely to appeal to a range of international travelers, including younger fliers who may be concerned about the impact of travel on the environment. Meanwhile, Larsen is straightforward about what the carrier wants to offer, as reported by Travel Weekly. “As the world reopens, the public needs an innovative, low-cost intercontinental airline with modern, more environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft. Norse Atlantic Airways will be there to offer attractive and affordable flights to the leisure traveler and the cost-conscious business traveler.”
“There are new markets and new customer behaviors,” said Jeff Reid, founding director of Georgetown Entrepreneurship, about the airline sector. “Whenever things change dramatically, it creates great opportunity.” As low-cost carriers launch and take to the skies, their marketing and advertising strategies will need to reach travelers where they are in their journeys. Multichannel campaigns and messaging from low-cost carriers should reflect differentiating services and benefits that resonate with evolving consumer desires.
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