Charging for carryon bags? Spirit Airlines misses an opportunity

The airline industry is always looking for more ways of making money and I have no problem with that.  However, when I saw that Spirit Airlines was going to begin charging for carry-on luggage my first thought was that they missed a great opportunity to leverage the power of social media to collaborate with their customers on alternative solutions, alternative ways of both benefiting their customers, the company itself, and the entire airline industry.

Here is my advice to the Airline Industry, and each Airlines, on how to correctly engage your customers and vendors to decide the best approaches to cost management.  Let me know what you think.

First….  Why is it that the Airline Industry is constantly complaining about the inability to make money? Should we all go back to taking the train?

While I love a good train ride we all understand this is not the answer.

  • You, the airline industry, understand your cost per passenger.  Share this on a publicly available dashboard, including the up to the minute number.  In other words, gas is constantly changing price, keep it real-time.
    • Provide a simple cost calculator around this cost per passenger and let your customers play with the data.  The learnings, the thought process invoked, will feed directly into the Ideation Platform…
  • The GSA has done a fantastic job with it’s Better Buy Project, still in it’s infancy.  Leverage the learnings of how they are working with their vendors to come up with alternative solutions to both open up, but also reduce the cost of, engaging with the federal government.
  • The Ideation Platform:  As part of this dashboard add a very simple ideation platform, similar to what the Federal Government has done with its Agency Dashboard or that HP and others do with their Ideation platforms.  Bring your customers into the conversation, hear their ideas.

I can almost picture a day in the future when our baggage costs, meal costs, etc.., fluctuate daily based upon the market conditions around the airline industry…. 

Why are you not leveraging your CRM system?

Flat fees, without any consideration about the flyer, should be a thing of the past.  The sales guy that flies Boston to New York 5 times week should have a different cost structure than the infrequent vacationer.  The systems are there, use them.

What else should the airline industry be focused on to engage customers, and vendors, in the cost conversation?

John

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Filed under: Social Strategies Tagged: CRM, Social Conversation Monitoring, Social Strategies
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