Need I say Moores

Could surprises be the next revenue generator?

Airlines are constantly looking for positive, rather than punitive, ways of growing their revenue. Could mystery flights and celebration treats be part of the answer?

Surprises have already been widely used in airline social media campaigns, ranging from personalized Christmas gifts arriving on the baggage carousel to unexpected welcome-home greetings.

But, over the last couple of weeks, two separate initiatives got me thinking whether airlines can more directly monetize that element of surprise.

The first was Air Serbia’s new celebration ancillary, where the airline will arrange cakes, champagne and flowers for passengers, with prices starting at just €7.50.

This is such an obvious – and positive - upsell that I’m surprised it isn’t already more widespread, especially given the wealth of personal information that airlines hold. Data laws permitting, airlines could finely target marketing at groups where one of the travelers is celebrating a birthday.

The second example came from Central and Eastern European LCC Wizz Air, which operated a flight to a mystery destination on Aug. 2. The aircraft was filled with 180 Instagram-competition winners, who had no clue where they were traveling to.

The mystery flight was part of Wizz Air’s ‘Let’s Get Lost’ campaign - so technically it was another social media stunt - but it made me wonder whether passengers would pay good money to fly to an unknown destination – and be surprised.

Airlines are perpetually trying to attract adventure- and experience-seeking millennials, so this could appeal to that audience, plus other generations might welcome the idea of simply not having to decide where they are going.

Passport requirements could be generalized to conceal the destination and air fares could be priced depending on stage length and class of travel, leaving both profit margins and the element of surprise intact.

People don’t notice things that are the same, they notice things that are different. They notice the surprise and they may be willing to pay for it.

Inset photo credit: Wizz Air

Victoria Moores

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