Aviation marketing is the use of strategic communications to promote an aviation business to a target audience. As the aviation industry has diversified and become more competitive in recent years, this marketing specialty has likewise become more sophisticated, more challenging and more important. A good aviation and aerospace marketing campaign will effectively communicate a specific message to a targeted audience. Read on to see our best practices for aviation marketing and discover how you can revitalize your marketing strategy. 

Current Challenges in the Aviation Industry

The aviation industry is still recalibrating after a challenging couple of years. Various destinations, sectors and subsectors of the travel and tourism industries were greatly impacted by the pandemic. As a result, aviation businesses have had to address constantly changing issues, including the current surge in demand for flights, especially for international travel. Job losses that occurred during the pandemic have still not been filled, causing airlines to be severely understaffed as demand for flights has increased drastically. 

A Crowded Field Can Lead to a Race to the Bottom

Marketing for aviation businesses is very different from marketing traditional products. Aviation businesses have many competitors offering similar services, threatening a commodified race to the bottom. These businesses are also impacted by unpredictable climate events, seasonal fluctuations and ongoing staffing issues. Digital marketing strategies and impactful branding are more important than ever to ensure an aviation business can stand out and succeed in a crowded market. 

Aviation Businesses are Selling a Fluctuating Service

Airline tickets are not a tangible product — rather, companies are selling a service that allows people to travel from one destination to another. In addition, unpredictability comes with aviation, with the price of tickets constantly fluctuating depending on demand. Marketing a service that is constantly changing in value is more difficult than selling a predictable product.

Airlines are Subject to Climate Change and Other Physical Conditions

Flights go all over the world, and as a result, they are affected by the weather of the regions they travel to, from and across. If bad weather in any one of these locations makes travel impossible, airlines have to scramble to reschedule flights. In addition, aviation businesses increasingly have to face global climate change and other environmental issues. Commercial aviation is responsible for a significant portion of global carbon emissions. Because of this, the aviation industry is under significant pressure to take measures to reduce its environmental impact.

Ticket Sales are Impacted by Third-Party Channels

Airlines can sell their flights through direct channels such as their website, or they can use distributor websites like Kayak to sell tickets. By leveraging their relationships with multiple airlines, these third-party booking sites are often able to negotiate better deals and offer lower prices for the same tickets sold by the airlines. When customers use third-party distributor apps, airlines not only lose revenue, they also learn less about the people purchasing their services. 

7 Best Practices for Aviation Marketing

1. Create Strong Branding Through Digital Media

Digital branding enables companies to design and build their public profiles online through websites, apps, social media, videos, and more. Branding is more than creating a logo and a name — rather, it is creating a comprehensive and distinct identity for your business that is memorable to consumers. Effective branding creates a foundation of trust between companies and customers. Since the aviation industry is so saturated, it is especially important to develop a cohesive branding strategy that makes you stand out from your competitors. And through the use of digital marketing, you have the ability to target a larger but focused audience than with traditional marketing channels.

2. Build Customers Via Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a traditional airline marketing strategy built around growing and retaining customers through incentives such as discounts, rewards and exclusive offers. These programs can cultivate a strong, long-term customer and brand relationship — it is generally easier and more cost-effective to retain an old customer than it is to attract a brand-new one. Loyalty programs can also collect customer information, such as demographic data and purchase behavior, which can help marketers create content that better targets their audience. Marketing teams can tap into pre-existing marketing channels — such as paid digital ads, email marketing, landing pages and blogs — to promote loyalty programs. Airline organizations can also offer sign-on discounts and coupons to further encourage people to sign up for loyalty programs. 

3. Promote Budget Destinations

Ticket pricing is a major tool that airlines use to distinguish themselves from one another. Promoting low-cost destinations is another way to remain competitive among the many airlines offering similar ticket prices. Marketing for budget destinations could include digital ads for inexpensive travel opportunities, sending promotional emails to previous customers, writing blog posts, or collaborating with an influencer to inform their audience of these opportunities. 

4. Develop a Mobile App

Mobile technologies have thoroughly changed customer expectations and the ways airlines do business. Digital technologies are also creating new opportunities for airline marketers to provide value, communicate with target audiences, and drive customer satisfaction. When a customer downloads a mobile app, the airline can respond quickly with flight information, add-on options and direct notifications. This is especially helpful if a flight is delayed or if there are promotions that the airline wants to highlight. Apps also allow airlines to send location-specific ads to reach local audiences with personalized information. Overall, mobile apps are an effective and appealing way for airlines to promote value to their customers.

5. Use Data Analytics to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

Data analytics allow air travel businesses to learn more about their target audience and directly engage with them as part of a comprehensive aviation marketing strategy. By tracking and analyzing data in real-time, companies can make informed decisions about where to allocate their marketing resources and fine-tune their airline marketing strategy. For example, adding a tool like Google Analytics to your website will collect information about user behavior. These same live analytics can also help airline businesses predict travel trends by monitoring the services customers are looking at most frequently. Once this information has been aggregated and interpreted, airline businesses can update their marketing to better target their audience. 

6. Increase User Engagement with User-Generated Content and Influencers

User-generated content is created by the company’s customers and published on social media channels to influence consumer buying decisions. This can include testimonials, reviews and video demonstrations that capture consumer attention, build loyalty and create more authentic content. Marketers can also turn to influencers to build brand recognition. Influencers have large social followings and are viewed as experts within their niche market. Influencer marketing is a great way to create content about travel experiences or destinations that resonate with a target audience. It can be highly effective because people are more willing to trust somebody they like and follow online than company-generated advertising. Collaborating with an influencer whose following aligns with your target audience helps to attract new customers. 

7. Respond to Global Events as an Effective Leader

As we saw with the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in the aviation industry need to have the resources to respond to unpredictable situations. It is important for them to demonstrate competent, proactive leadership that is capable of dealing with anything that can affect consumers buying tickets. Promoting their know-how to quickly and effectively respond to new events builds confidence and loyalty for an aviation business. This can be done by creating blogs, articles, and thought leadership pieces that demonstrate your company’s expertise and resilience.

How to Plan a Marketing Strategy for Your Aviation Business

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a broad term that covers all the ways you can advertise products and services using the internet. With digital marketing, brands can connect with potential customers and build brand awareness. This can be done via social media ads, online paid ads, email marketing and multi-channel messaging. Digital marketing is especially valuable because of the tools it provides to track and measure your efforts. Aviation businesses can utilize digital marketing campaigns to inform customers about reward programs or deals on specific travel destinations. From these campaigns, businesses can gain new customers and insights into who viewed their ads and how to better target that specific audience next time. 

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a strategic marketing plan that uses informative articles, blog posts, opinion pieces, infographics and more, to drive sales and brand recognition. Many different types of content can be used, as long as they provide value to your readers. To get the most out of your content marketing strategies, you must understand the questions and interests that your target audience have. Aviation businesses can also spur new interests by creating engaging content about travel destinations to prompt customers to buy tickets for that destination. Strong, well-targeted content marketing gives aviation businesses the ability to introduce their brand to entirely new audiences. 

Video Marketing

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million. Research has found that 84% of customers surveyed stated that marketing videos often interest them, convincing them to invest in a product or service. Video marketing is therefore one of the most effective ways to inform, entertain and build strong connections with your target audience. Luckily, as an aviation company, there are many opportunities to create intriguing video content. For example, airlines can create video content about stopover and budget destinations, and luxury services offered by the airline. Videos can also be a great way to differentiate yourself, with campaigns that capture important elements of your customer loyalty programs and highlight your products and services. What’s more, videos are shareable, which means if you invest in creating high-quality video content, you can multiply its effects as it gets shared in different formats and viewed by more potential customers. 

Social Media Marketing

There are around 8 billion people on the planet, and 4.9 billion of them are using social media as of 2023, making social media an essential marketing channel today. An aviation company can post content showcasing employees, share entertaining pieces about travel and tourism, and provide relevant infographics about traveling on social media sites. This type of messaging can also be used by airlines to update customers about flight statuses or inclement weather conditions and offer customer service. 

Airline Marketing for Leisure vs. Business Customers

There are two primary categories of airline customers, and they have different motives for purchasing airline tickets. Leisure travelers, who are paying out of pocket, look for less expensive tickets, while business travelers return to the same airline in order to reap the benefits of loyalty program incentives. Business travelers account for only 12% of all airline passengers, but tend to buy more expensive seats, book last-minute tickets, participate in frequent flyer programs, and are often twice as profitable as other passengers. In fact, on some flights, business passengers represent 75% of the airline’s revenues. It is therefore essential that aviation businesses differentiate their marketing efforts for leisure and business customers to meet the different priorities the two groups have when purchasing airline tickets. 

Metasearch Engine Optimization 

Because customers want to buy a plane ticket with minimal involvement and effort, metasearch engines have been designed to aggregate flight options in a unified way. If someone is looking to take a specific trip, the search engine will compile all relevant flights, along with price and timing options. To make travel metasearch engines work, it is up to travel agencies, airlines, hotels, or other companies across travel sub-sectors to provide key data about prices, availability of rooms and additional services. Metasearch engines make it easy for customers to see a full listing of all relevant information to make an informed purchase. For example, Kayak allows customers to see the most inexpensive flights and the best times to book a flight.

Website Design and Development

Today, the first interaction that many prospective customers have with a business takes place online. That’s why a well-designed website is a critically important sales and lead generation tool for promoting products and services. Online visibility and high-quality website design and content are especially important for aviation businesses. These elements help build the trust of their target audience — who are, after all, trusting the company with their actual safety. According to web credibility research from Stanford, 75% of internet users make judgements about a company’s credibility based on its website design. This means that your website should be easy to navigate and well designed, enabling your audience to find exactly what they need.

FAQs About Aviation Marketing

What is the best marketing technique to promote an aviation business?

One of the best marketing techniques to promote an aviation business is the use of loyalty programs, special offers and discounts to incentivize customers to continue buying from your business because they know they will be rewarded if they do so. 

Does email marketing work well for an aviation business?

Email marketing gives businesses the opportunity to target different phases of the customer journey. Moreover, email marketing allows you to speak directly to your audience, and this is crucial for building relationships with potential, existing and past customers.

What is social media marketing’s effectiveness in the aviation industry?

Through social media marketing, airlines can engage with their customers and create strong relationships. They can use social media platforms for marketing efforts that meet the needs of their customers and answer any questions. This can help customers save money and build brand loyalty.

How can airline sales be improved with digital marketing?

Digital marketing helps you reach a larger audience and target the audience that is most likely to buy your product or service. By using digital marketing to promote your services and build brand awareness, you will be able to improve your sales as well. 

Plan Your Aviation Marketing Strategy With Us

Contact us today if you’re searching for cutting-edge marketing strategies that will advance the success of your aviation company.