Analysis: Potential marketing ideas as SIA mulls 'Flight to Nowhere'

The Singapore Airlines (SIA) is reportedly looking to launch a "Flight to Nowhere", according to The Straits Times. Citing its sources, The Straits Times reported that the airline carrier is looking to launch this option by end October. It is added that SIA plans to collaborate with Singapore Tourism Board regarding this initiative, allowing interested passengers to use tourism credits provided by the government as payment for such flights. Marketing has reached out to SIA for additional information. 

SIA's possible initiative follows the likes of other airline carriers such as EVA Air and Royal Brunei Airlines also launching similar programmes. According to multiple media reports, both EVA Air and Royal Brunei Airlines launched these flights last month that took passengers on a round trip, starting and ending at Taipei Taoyuan Airport and Brunei International Airport respectively.  This comes following its recent call to cut 4,300 positions across Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot. According to a press release, after taking into account a recruitment freeze, natural attrition, and the take up of voluntary departure schemes, the potential number of staff impacted will be reduced to about 2,400 in Singapore and in overseas stations.

While the initiative might help the airline, which has seen the exit of its staff and a financial plummet of 79.3% in the first quarter of 2020, the naming of the initiative might still hit turbulence with consumers, Robert Gaxiola, creative director of KellerMedia. 

"First thing I would do is change the name. Nobody wants a ‘flight to nowhere’ even if it is on the best airline in the world so let’s give that a second look," said Gaxiola. When asked possible packaging potentials of the deal, Gaxiola said there could be a possible play to something a little more enticing such as "Michelin Star Air Brunch", "Explorer Flight", a "Movie Marathon Flight", or a "Landmark Flight", if the flight brings passengers around famous landmarks and back. 

Expanding on ideas on how SIA can beef up its "flight to nowhere" initiative, Tay Guan Hin, chief creative officer, BBDO Singapore suggested that the airline can market to a few different target audiences such as first-time flyers (parents with young kids), corporate companies- for corporate bonding or year-end parties, as well as travel-hungry customers who want to experience flying again. SIA can also reach out to those who wish to travel to first or business class, but cannot afford it under normal travel circumstances, Tay explained. For the every day consumer, Tay added that the brand could hold an online promotion on shopping sites or food delivery sites, as that is where most consumers spend their time in. Additionally, for corporations, SIA should target the HR department to get companies to sign up.

Three potential ideas

Tay also suggested three thematic ideas that may entice more passengers to take up a flying experience without actually travelling.

The first could be a celebrity night where everyone is the star, where the brand can invite celebrities or influencers to be a part of the event and drum up excitement for the new offer. He added that the brand could open up its business lounge and allow people to experience what is it like while having entertainment bands and stream award winning movies before the flight takes off.

Another idea could possibly be a casino-themes flight where passengers are allowed to gamble just like in cruise ships. Similar to the "Flight to the Stars" concept, the lounge and waiting areas can be designed to look as if passengers are about to enter a casino. The flight will have a black-tie dress code, and passengers can choose your dinner by rolling a dice, to taste one of the five specially prepared mystery dinner menus.

Last but not least the brand could also create a fashion show using the aircraft aisle as a runway platform and its cabin crew as models for high-end local fashion brands.

According to Stefan Wood, director at Singapore Air Charter (SAC), an aviation solutions provider for group air travel, private jet charter, aircraft acquisition and management services, the company had previously approached SIA with a similar idea in July but was later told that the company was going to create a similar concept themselves.

“SAC approached SIA with the idea back in July to charter an aircraft and put a complete package together. We had leading hotels onboard for Staycation packages, local suppliers such as Little Creatures brewing, LAB cocktails, Shangri-la for canapés, and we had 100 Vellfire drivers ready to go," he said.

The proposed idea was similar in nature, where passengers will depart and land in Singapore to have a "pseudo way" to start an overseas holiday. Wood added that after a month of discussion, SIA said it is going to proceed with a similar plan themselves. Marketing has reached out to SIA for a statement. 
 

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