Scoot finds a social route to Hong Kong

Scoot, the Singapore-based low-cost carrier, is set to join the competitive Hong Kong-Singapore airline market from 15 November, overlapping with sister carriers Singapore Airlines and Tigerair which are already serving the popular route.

But the late comer seems to have prepared a well thought-out plan to face the critical challenge, debuting in Hong Kong with a rather odd-sounding positioning - Scootitude - to differentiate from the growing airline crowd.

"We are not just a regular airline but an airline with a unique attitude of what we called 'Scootitude', which represents the spirit of energy, fun and causality in our service in order to made us appealing to man on the street," said Sharon Koh, marketing manager of Scoot.

"With an aim to bring fun into budget travel, we provide unique flight experience for our passenger. For example, passengers can rent iPad for entertainment during the flight; we even conduct in-flight activities for passengers to win prizes or vouchers, which help enhance the interaction between our crew directly to passengers."

The budget carrier, which targets a younger audience who seek fun and adventure, is itself brimmed with a sense of adventure that has been fully reflected in its bold marketing plans of dedicating the entire launch onto social media, to cater to the young generation in the Hong Kong market.

We rely on social media not only because our passengers are digitally savvy, but also because social media is the best way to humanise a brand.

Scoot kicked off its social media marketing with a Facebook competition encouraging social media users to determine the tagline for the brand. To better tie consumers to the brand, fans can even participate in the decision-making of the fare on social networks by liking the brand's Facebook page to reduce the airfare. As a result, the Hong Kong-Singapore airfare was reduced from HK$750 to HK$388.

Additionally, the low-cost carrier is crowdsourcing and recruiting on its social platforms, sharing innovative relevant tips and trivia about the company. Engaging and innovative videos are also one of its trump card, racking up per 20,000 views on the Scoot YouTube channel.

"Building emotional connections with consumers and getting them involve in our community are very important for us to tap this new market. Social media allow us to communicate with them like a friend and develop a loyalty base."

Despite up to 40% of its marketing budget moving to new media world, Koh said traditional media still plays a crucial role in marketing the brand that should not be ignored.

"Tradition media works as a means to attract public attention and to consolidate brand presence, while social media is for delivering immediate and on-going communication to build emotional connection with consumer."

More recently, the budget carrier served as a title sponsor in the popular Korean talent TV series Scoot:K-pop Star Hunt 3, leveraging the programs fame across Asia to gain universal approval and to increase exposure on mass media.

Asked about competing with its Cathay Pacific and United Airlines for seats, Koh was optimistic, arguing its its prices are 40% lower than full-service carriers with reputable aircrafts Boeing 777 to service the routes.

Scoot's services will start five-times weekly from 15 November and will ramp up to daily from December.