Episode #012 - Robecta Ma (Cathay Pacific), Halal travel trends 2019, DNA Discounts from AeroMexico
In our latest episode we talk airline marketing with Robecta Ma, the Vice President for Marketing and Digital Sales – Americas, Cathay Pacific, about the airline’s quest to become the preferred carrier for Americans travelling to Asia.
Ma talks about how to differentiate when you’re dealing with a commodotised product - in particular how Cathay has honed in on building a unique customer experience on the ground and in-flight.
“We pay attention to every single detail in terms of what a customer can do at [our] lounges to our business class product where every single amenity is carefully considered,” she says. “And I think that really is a way to differentiate ourselves amongst other competitors.”
Content has played an important role in the airline’s strategy and while business travellers remain important, recognising that these may in fact be more evolved “bleisure travellers” who want experiences beyond the traditional business trip has been an insight that has guided Cathay’s content strategy
“So for example, you have five days in Hong Kong, you might have an afternoon free,” says Ma. “And that's why we will serve content like, well, hey, why don't you check out this spot for the afternoon, or even stop by Disneyland if you're free for a day.”
While most marketers are still grappling with the role VR plays (and how to justify it) Ma reveals they have run a highly successful VR campaign re-appropriating a video shot for events and trade shows showcasing the Cathay Pacific product into digestible formats within advertising units on publisher sites.
“You're immediately transported to the lounge. You're immediately transported to the seat,” she says of the campaign. “So I think that also tackles peoples’ attention span, but also the immediate interest of, ‘wow, this is what a Cathay Pacific experience looks like’ versus looking at brochures or clicking on banners.”
In Trend Monitor, we scrutinise the recent Halal Travel Frontier Report from MasterCard and CrescentRating about the trends and changes in Halal and Muslim travel around the world.
Co-host Lauren notes that while technology such as AI and chatbots will enable all travellers it will have a transformative effect for halal travellers. “If you think about halal travellers they are in a specific position where they do have really very specific needs when they're on vacation, on holiday, they need to have not only that halal food, but they need to have access to prayer rooms.”
Andrés notes that the report demonstrates that halal travel has well and truly moved beyond the traditional trip to Ramadan. “Muslims are obviously travelling everywhere, particularly now to countries that are not traditionally or predominantly Islamic countries.”
And finally in Campaign News we talk about a new campaign from Aero Mexico offering DNA discounts targeting Americans who are hesitant to go to Mexico. Andrés says the campaign is a brilliant “intersection between brand truth, audience truth and a cultural opportunity”.
Lauren says that while the campaign is brave since it tackles the idea that America is the number one destination for Mexicans but Mexico is not the number one destination for Americans, it is to some extent an issue a national carrier cannot avoid. “This is an airline called Aeromexico, so you can’t get around the fact this [kind of bias] is a problem for you, you've got Mexico in your name.”
Cathay Pacific deploys VR to create their best-performing ad campaign of all time//Mobile Marketing Magazine
Hong Kong interactive eBook//Cathay Pacific
The Mastercard-CrescentRating Halal Travel Frontier 2019 Report Unveils the Top Trends to Watch in the Muslim Travel Market//Mastercard (report highlights)
Halal Travel Frontier 2019 report//CrescentRating (full report download)
TV ad: AeroMexico: DNA Discounts//Best Ads on TV