How airlines can use in-flight maps to drive purchase decisions

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airline mapI hardly ever watch a movie on in-flight video monitors and usually just have the flight map up. As I was flying to and from Madrid in 2019 where I was talking about change management I thought about the opportunities.

A quick look around me: I wasn’t the only one who had the map up.

When I talk about opportunities, I’m thinking marketing opportunities, of course. And I’m not suggesting that airlines should add ads. Please don’t, but here’s what I think is already working. But first a cool thing. On my Philadelphia to Madrid flight the map showed historic events – like the Titanic event.

That’s cool to show but “just” informational.

Flying business class on IberiaThen on the way back flying business class on Iberia the first time I thought of another opportunity.

See the maps show cities around the world that is showing somewhat on the route.

So on this Madrid to Chicago flight some of the cities I’m seeing:

Casablanca
Fuerteventura
Glasgow
Geneva
Reykjavik
Santo Domingo
Marseille
Boston

Some of those cities I haven’t been to, which carries a lot of weight when we plan family vacations and also speaking trips.


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Let’s say I want to go to Bergen or Iceland – and I do – I may now set a Google Alert for conferences in those areas and then reach out to the organizers.

Santo Domingo sounds good for a family trip so I may set a price alert for the next break to see if it’s affordable. Or maybe we can use points.

Anyway, that’s what I may do and I bet most travelers wouldn’t do that without some probing.

So why don’t airline marketing teams to some probing.

On Santo Domingo add the average cost to fly there.

Or add a code that you can text to get an offer emailed to you.

Or a QR code or link. Or one of those numbers I can text.

I can’t decide which one is better. Not sure how many flyers but WiFi services. I usually do, except on Iberia. It’s $19 for 25 mb which run out in no time. In comparison, American Airlines charges that same amount for an entire flight.

Iberia gives business class customers a code for 4 mb for free. The gesture is nice, but that lasts like 5 minutes.

I already use the maps and the cities are being displayed for future planning. The airlines can use the attention the maps are getting to even more of their advantage.

That’s a pretty common marketing strategy, too. People pay attention to what is in front of them.

Case in point:
I once had somebody ask me why I thought this one thing was getting most of the clicks?

Easy answer.

“It was listed No. 1. It was in people’s faces.”

That is actually a strategy: Be listed first and be relevant and you have a shot at winning the race for attention.

So there’s my unsolicited advice for the day. This time to airlines. Worth trying, I think, but don’t overdo it.

We don’t need:

“The next map transition is brought to you by .”