• United States

Frequent fliers have tougher messaging demands

Nov 04, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging AppsWi-Fi

* Why airlines should market messaging services to frequent fliers

We have just completed a survey asking both technical and non-technical business travelers about their demands for working and messaging while flying.

Here are highlights:

* Frequent fliers (people who travel for business by air at least once per month) are significantly more concerned about getting work done while in flight than non-frequent fliers. We found that 36% of frequent fliers consider it to be “very” or “extremely” important to do work while flying for business, vs. only 12% of non-frequent fliers. This indicates that in-flight messaging capability would be much more of a draw to frequent fliers and so should be marketed to these fliers more than to the public at large. It also implies that frequent fliers might be willing to pay more for access to in-flight messaging services, or that they might be willing to trade frequent flier miles for messaging access, thereby reducing the liability of the airlines to provide free travel for frequent fliers.

* Frequent fliers’ mobile platforms are Wi-Fi-enabled to a much higher degree than those of non-frequent fliers. That is, 64% of frequent fliers have mobile platforms with Wi-Fi access, vs. only 38% for non-frequent fliers. This is an important message to airlines that they should provide in-flight wireless access to messaging services. Related to this is the fact that frequent fliers use full-client messaging software to a greater extent than non-frequent fliers. Wireless access is clearly more advantageous to full-client users, since business travelers with this capability can use their own mobile platform instead of some sort of seatback display for Webmail access.

* Frequent fliers are more than three times as likely to “definitely” choose an airline based on its provision of e-mail access, assuming all other attributes between the airlines are equal. This strongly indicates that e-mail access is a significant differentiator for frequent fliers when choosing an airline, and that those airlines that offer in-flight e-mail will have a competitive advantage as long as their competitors don’t.

* Frequent fliers are much more instant messaging-oriented than non-frequent fliers. Our survey found that frequent fliers are nearly twice as likely to use instant messaging for business purposes while they’re in the office compared to non-frequent fliers.