Welcome the 2nd installment of my blog series on Reinventing Travel Media. If you haven’t already read Part 1, to see my review on where we are today. In this post, I’ll explore the appeal of inflight media to passengers, and what this could mean for its future.
A simple beginning
Inflight magazines were firstly created as a brand extension of the airline to help passengers sit back, relax, learn, enjoy, shop, plan their next trip and use up some hours while the plane and its staff do all of the work.
Then they discovered the real potential
But today, airlines clearly understand the immediate and added value of this medium. That they have millions of actual people, every minute of every hour of every day around the globe in their very hands and seats and they can control the dialogue. For example the worlds largest airline (American Airlines) will carry 500,000 TODAY.
A world of opportunity with digital
There is no doubt: We have all seen, and all been part of this growth and of this growth in the digital/mobile space as well. And the airplane is becoming fun again, how many more videos of Southwest cabin crew can you watch?
With the advent of WIFI on planes and individual video screens at each seat in every class, we will see this digital distribution becoming ever more popular and in turn, I have no doubt that it will get faster, more accessible and MAYBE even cheaper on board.
This year, we are very proud to have launched a new app for American Airlines. So now, all magazine content can be delivered in or out of flight – on your phone or tablet at your convenience – and as time goes on, much of the archive material will be there too.
At Ink, we have seen first-hand the importance of cross-channel media with our United Hemispheres Magazine and App – that customers engage with the magazine on the aircraft and use our hugely popular “Three Perfect Days” mobile content as an actual guide/travel companion during their travels.
An audience that won’t stop growing
Many people are predicting that the year 2015 will see more people traveling than ever before. It makes sense: As we all become part of that global economy with more emerging countries, carrying more business activities than ever before with our mature markets of Europe and the USA. Therefore, more people WILL travel. And, direct contact still works best: Face to face meetings will always work better than a conference call – people still want to be together with friends and family. Emails, Skype and FaceTime have not stopped people traveling. If anything, they have brought a greater curiosity.
And on top of all that we all want to travel for our leisure time too…
But for the purposes of this conversation – we first of all have to all go back and again acknowledge that airlines of late have really found themselves to also be big players in the media industry. And very present in the digital arena.
In my next blog I’ll explore what this means for the future of inflight media – just a hint, the buzzwords here are personal and interactive. To read more travel media and travel advertising news and insight from the team at Ink, head over to our blog.