Flyers are buyers
May 17, 2016

Have you noticed that some of the world’s biggest brands are visible and investing in travel media? Ever wondered why? Well, the answer is really straightforward: they’ve figured out that flyers are buyers.

Foreign customers spend 10 times as much abroad as they do at home said the CEO of Value Retail at a recent conference. We all spend more aggressively when we are away. So why not appeal to those people who seemingly have more money to burn.

So when I read a recent article aptly headlined, “The sky is falling on print newspapers faster than you think” I felt like shouting, “The sky may be falling in but that same sky is also full of  powerful and engaging print with lots of people reading it”. But I didn’t. Because I was on a bus.

A great campaign needs a full media mix, I find it so frustrating when inexperienced marketers tell us that they are doing digital only. When I ask “which form of digital?” they look back a bit blankly. At the last count there are more digital choices today than ever before and, even if you have a big budget, you cannot get the exposure and brand recall one advert will deliver in a good old fashioned well-read magazine. Unlike most magazines, every day up to six different people will sit in that seat and thumb through the magazine.

We’re living in an age of unprecedented digital connectivity, with the net result that we’re more distracted than ever before. Sitting on a plane, however, offers an opportunity to unplug themselves from the maelstrom of digital noise. Travel media allows travellers to sit back and disconnect from the rest of the world for the duration of their journey.

GPS research points out that 32% of passengers look forward to the inflight magazine “as part of their inflight experience”. With its mix of aspirational editorial and advertising, the inflight magazine plays a crucial role in both the anticipation and excitement phases of trips, whether for business or leisure purposes. All this enables brands to capture the undivided attention of travellers relaxing at 30,000 feet in the air.

As a case in point, Indiana State’s witty ad which appeared in United’s Hemispheres magazine delighted passengers so much that they were posing with it and sharing it on social media. This highlights to me that travel media can go beyond merely grabbing attention and on to forging deeper, richer connections with readers by triggering the right emotion, from the right audience, at the right time.

I’ll close with a simple question – what does travel media mean to you? When I’ve asked clients this question, I usually get a mixture of responses ranging from “putting my business in the spotlight” to “bridging the gap between my online and offline strategy”.  

I typed this aboard a VS5 to Miami. Having watched two films, typed 37 emails and written this piece. If Vera had anything interesting to read (missed opportunity Virgin Atlantic), I would have consumed that. I don’t want to buy Duty Free, yet still browsed the catalogue. The point is, people who fly have a lot of time to think and consume messaging. Very different to life on the ground when you have little time to think about anything.

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