Wednesday, September 24, 2008

July Charter Marketing Survival Bulletin

Three Ways to Grow Your Charter Business

There are three ways to grow any business. In the charter industry, you can increase the number of customers, increase the average number of trips per customer, and increase the average revenue per trip.

A good marketing plan works on all three.

Increase Customers

Notice I said customers, not new customers. Far too many operators spend way too much time and money trying to get new customers.

Chasing a new customer is the single most costly marketing investment you can make, and it usually has the lowest return.

Instead, put your focus on slowing the run-off, or the number of customers who stop flying with you.

It should be relatively easy to run a report from your operations software to identify customers who haven’t flown with you in over a year.

A good marketing plan would identify those customers, and then use a combination of email, regular mail, and the telephone to see why they stopped and invite them back.

Increase Trips

Many charter customers use your aircraft for specific business or family purposes, and never consider other reasons to fly privately.

A good marketing program keeps your clients informed on a periodic basis about different ways charter can be used to help them to grow their businesses or make things a little more convenient for their families.

Improve the Averages

Your goal is to improve the average number of trips across your client base over the course of a year. Try to improve the average by 10%.

No, you won’t get every client to fly more often. But a good marketing plan will get some of them to fly enough extra trips that the overall average will rise 10%.

Revenue per Trip

This is not another way of saying, “raise your prices.” Instead, the marketing goal is to show your clients how they can get more value from each trip, or at least from some trips.

For example, are most of your trips point to point, with no stops along the way?

Suppose a few of your clients, on some of their trips, made a stop on the way back home…maybe to make another sales call, visit a plant, or pick up a key prospect who needed a lift back home.

Extra stops mean more flight time, and therefore more revenue, on that trip. A good marketing plan gives your clients ideas about better ways to use charter, which then generates more revenue for you on some of their trips.

Do the Math

If your marketing plan could get you a 10% improvement in each area (customers, trips, revenue per trip) your business would grow 33%. That’s growing!