Compagnie aeree a scuola da Apple

CASOMAI NON VE ne foste accorti, c'è crisi nel mondo dell'aviazione civile. A parte Alitalia, che era in crisi anche quando le cose andavano bene, il prezzo del petrolio e una serie di altri fattori - tra i quali la crisi economica negli Usa - stanno cominciando a mietere vittime: fallimenti, consolidamenti e in prospettiva, con l'accordo Open Skies sopra l'Atlantico, competizione ancor più spietata. Fioriscono i consigli su come fare a ritornare alla profittabilità. Tim Beyers ci prova suggerendo di guardare chi ha lavorato sul proprio brand e sulla qualità del servizio e dell'esperienza oltre che sui risultati (straordinari questo trimestre) di prodotti e catena di negozi retail: Apple.

Money Quote: Airlines have arrived at an inflection point. Either they'll (1) scale back their operations so completely as to offer little more than a high-speed bus ride or (2) figure out how to earn more from what they have.

I'm strongly in favor of option 2. To get there, carriers need to start thinking more like retailers -- Apple, specifically.

Retailers and airlines have more in common than we think. They certainly measure success similarly. Airlines distill revenue and expenses into available seat miles, or ASM, which isn't much different from square footage. The goal for each is to maximize profit from each unit of space where selling occurs.

No one in the retail world benefits from this formula more than the Mac's daddy. Here's why:

A) Embrace the simple. Apple Store employees carry wireless checkout devices and can email your receipt. The result? More revenue and more time for customer service.

B) Experience is everything. Glass cases? That's soooo Best Buy. Apple encourages customers to try its on-display products. Play with them, even. Artificial barriers to buying -- e.g., how do I know if I'll really like this? -- are thereby removed and more buying occurs.

That's what carriers need: more buying. One way to get it is by offering in-flight upgrades. United Airlines could offer this on long-distance flights when its Economy Plus cabin has available seats.

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