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Marketing Strategy of Emirates Airlines: Report

Executive Summary

This report provides an assessment of Emirati Airlines’ current customer experience marketing strategy and provides recommendations for improvement. This Consulting Report is addressed to the CEO of Emirates Airlines and reflects the client’s needs to find the best marketing solutions. The report contains an introduction that describes the services of the company, as well as the specifics of the market. Moreover, it includes an analysis section that assesses the company’s current marketing strategies. Finally, the proposals section proposes strategies to improve customer experience and increase revenue based on identified opportunities.

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The analysis identified the key aspects that are the focus of the company. Additionally, a number of potential problems have been identified that are potential for improvement. In particular, Emirati Airlines was found to have insufficient marketing diversification. The company, due to the broad segmentation of consumers, does not have a flexible pricing strategy. It is also important that the process of adopting biometric data is fraught with a number of difficulties that need to be addressed. Finally, there are challenges related to human resource management, quality, and productivity, as well as demand management. Based on the identified issues, recommendations were developed using relevant and recent research literature. First and foremost, co-branding opportunities have been identified as the basis for marketing diversification.

Strategies have been proposed to improve the pricing strategy through service personalization. Particular attention is paid to optimizing the promotion and expansion of the biometrics network. Job satisfaction and employee motivation aspects are also discussed, and proposals for their improvement are put forward. Finally, recommendations are given on the development of criteria for evaluating productivity and capacity management. Thus, the report provides a comprehensive overview of possible practical recommendations for improving customer experience and increasing revenue.

Introduction

Emirates Airlines is a UAE-based airline that provides international passenger air transportation. The company currently offers to its customers 157 destinations around the globe (About us, n.d). In 2019-2020, Emirates Airlines served more than 56 million passengers, making it the largest airline in the world (About us, n.d). The company is involved in people processing services, which include the physical transportation of passengers with aircraft. In addition to tangible services, the company also provides intangible services, including entertainment and unique experiences. However, these factors relate rather to additional options that facilitate the effect of receiving core services.

One of the major market challenges that characterize the airline industry is intangibility. Despite the provision of transportation, the main focus in this area is directly on the consumer experience, which is intangible. Additionally, the market is associated with heterogeneity and variability, which translates into different types of consumers and their needs. This aspect forces airlines to either occupy a certain price niche or try to diversify their services in terms of quality and availability.

It is also important that passenger air transportation is inseparable from the need to provide related services, including the sale and booking of tickets, transfer of passengers, the safety of luggage, and others. These factors further complicate the operations of companies within the market and increase the risk of failure. At the same time, the industry is not characterized by perishability since it provides a type of service that is relevant to the consumer.

The services provided by the company are categorized as experience attributes. This means that their quality can be assessed by the consumer only after purchase and use. In this case, it is a determining factor in the formation of the brand image of Emirates Airlines. While customers can roughly estimate the potential quality of service prior to purchasing by looking at reviews and experiences from other consumers, they shape a personal perception. Thus, it is important for the company to focus on high-quality services for each customer. Emirates Airlines is associated with the technology-assisted service encounter since technology, including aircraft and infrastructure, are the means of providing a service. However, consumers interact directly with flight attendants, which does involve face-to-face communication.

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Market segmentation is based on the needs of customers and their financial capabilities. In particular, within the airline industry, more unique experiences and numerous additional services come with higher pricing and vice versa. Emirates Airlines targets several market segments: economy, premium, business, and first-class. This targeting allows them to meet the needs of a wider variety of service consumers and expand their target audience. At the same time, the company does not provide low-cost services, focusing on high-quality travel experiences. A company’s positioning reflects its targeting in the market, as it emphasizes the uniqueness of the customer experience. In particular, Emirates Airlines is focusing on the increased comfort of transportation on international flights.

Analysis

Product

The core service provided by the company to its customers is the safe and comfortable transportation of passengers. Emirates Airlines offers four classes of services, which differ in the degree of comfort and the number of additional options: economy, premium economy, business, and first-class. Enhancing supplementary services include customers’ consultation, baggage safekeeping, hospitality features such as lounges, meals, entertainment, and flight assistants’ high-quality services.

Facilitating supplementary services include billing, payments, order-taking, as well as information provision. In this way, Emirates Airlines provides a luxury international travel experience for all classes that meet customer expectations and is an enhancing supplementary service. The company is better than the competition in delivering a unique in-flight experience that is highlighted by high-quality service.

Place-Distribution

Distribution takes place both online and physically since customers can both order tickets through the website and intermediaries and purchase them at physical offices. As part of the rest of the marketing strategy, this tactic is the most appropriate, as it allows you to meet the needs of a wider range of consumers. The company is the world’s largest air passenger carrier, underlining the global nature of its service and marketing efforts. At the same time, the majority of the development effort is at the airport hub in Dubai, which brings to light the problem of insufficiently diverse marketing.

Pricing Strategy

Emirates Airlines’ pricing strategy is flexible as customers can choose from four different service packages. In this case, the range of options is extremely wide, which allows users to choose the plan that suits their financial expectations. The company offers value-based pricing based on what services a particular package includes. Thus, the company’s services are rather strictly segmented, which determines the price fences. Customer value perception is also formed from monetary and non-monetary costs, the number of which is inversely proportional to each other. The problem is that the company needs to develop a more flexible approach to customer segmentation.

Promotion

Despite the intangibility of the services offered by the company, the emphasis is on customer experience, which is reflected in the promotion strategy. The promotion mix focuses on advertising and public relations, while personal sales are of lesser importance. Word-of-mouth (WOM) is driven by the company through creating unique experiences, referral programs, and maintaining brand trust. Emirates Airlines also engages in educating customers by providing comprehensive information on their services. Thus, the chosen promotion strategy corresponds to the target market, as it focuses on the customer experience and the uniqueness of the services.

Service Process

The service blueprint for Emirates Airlines includes such key stages as planning, shopping, booking, pre-travel, travel, and post-travel. At each of these stages, there are both front-office and back-office processes which assume a chance of failure. The planning, shopping, booking, pre-travel, and post-travel stages require customer participation and SSTs. Failures can occur at each stage, but most of them are related to pre-travel and travel stages. Potential failures include the inability of the company to provide sufficient pricing information to customers, lack of access to booking opportunities, errors in baggage transportation, flight delays, and unforeseen in-flight events. However, the biggest challenges may arise with the introduction of biometric data scanning at airports.

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Physical Environment

The company offers various options for interiors and exteriors in the form of cabins for different classes, as well as lounge zones in major world airports. The ambient shapes the differences between the classes of services offered while emphasizing their value and uniqueness. Spatial layouts of the lounges are designed to cater to additional customer needs as well as guide them to receive services. These environments fulfill all four main functions as they enable a company to differentiate the brand, form a value proposition, enhance and facilitate the service quality, as well as shape consumers’ behaviors and experience.

Human Resources Management

Human resources management is a critical aspect for Emirates Airlines as the team is part of the customer experience. The company places particular emphasis on recruitment and selection, hiring the best candidates. Emirates Airlines has special requirements for the appearance of candidates, as well as knowledge of the English language, which complicates the selection. The company offers a detailed training program for new employees.

Key skills training also offers the empowerment of workers through the provision of valuable experience and increased job satisfaction. Teamwork is a fundamental requirement for the successful delivery of cabin crew services, which is a priority. Empowerment in air travel enables teams to make decisions faster in difficult situations by delivering better service. In this situation, communication is key, linking gab three and gab 5. At the same time, empowered workers require a more flexible reward and performance assessment system, which is rather underdeveloped at Emirates Airlines.

Quality and Productivity

Customer satisfaction and quality of service are a priority for the company and are therefore measured using satisfaction indexes obtained through customer surveys. The perceived quality in this situation may not be measured quite correctly since the measurements take place in a fairly general format, which does not make it possible to identify specific problems. The main problem is the lack of a system for evaluating various services for which more detailed information could be obtained.

Demand and Capacity

Since Emirates Airlines is the largest passenger carrier in the world, they manage capacity through a combination of pricing strategy, availability control, as well as demand forecasting. Network management also plays a special role, which implies the redistribution of inventory and human capital to the most popular destinations. These strategies allow Emirates Airlines to effectively cope with demand through the reallocation of resources and increasing capacity. However, in the conditions of market uncertainty, it is more and more difficult to make forecasts, which requires different approaches for optimization.

Proposals

Emirates Airlines is active globally, which identifies the need for more diversified marketing and branding. Co-branding, in this case, plays a key role in creating a positive brand image, which is important for successful activities in a global environment (Saed and Upadhya, 2020). Malhotra and Bhattacharyya (2021) emphasize that co-branding is most effective between two diverse carriers that focus on different aspects of marketing.

Additionally, studies indicate that asymmetric airline pairs suggest that one carrier is potentially receiving more benefits than the other (Malhotra and Bhattacharyya, 2021). In addition, the nature of the relationship between brands influences co-branding results more than the characteristics of the individual brands within it (Turan, 2020). Therefore, Emirates Airlines should pay close attention to the possibility of collaboration with local carriers or other global brands.

This strategy will allow the company not only to expand the consumer base but also to focus on diversification by switching from the consumer experience, for example, to more affordable prices. Saeed (2020) emphasizes that this approach allows customers to make faster decisions when choosing between competing carriers. Aujla and Kaur (2017) note that the success of co-branding also depends on the customer perception of the joint product of the companies. Thus, this strategy will enable Emirates Airlines to further create a product that will potentially improve the brand’s customer perception.

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When it comes to pricing, the company should pay attention to the less strict customer segmentation that exists at the moment. Wehner and López-Bonilla (2018) identify that companies need to develop a more behavior-oriented approach to pricing. In particular, it is critical to reduce the cost of bidets and compete with low-cost carriers. In this case, it is necessary to personalize the services provided when the client chooses not packages but individual services that he or she needs (Bogdan, 2019). Thus, the pricing strategy should reflect changing customer standards, which are seeking greater personalization of services and optimization of spending.

Currently, many companies are actively using new technologies to optimize the service delivery process. Particularly, Emirates Airlines adopts a biometric data system for more convenient ticketing and check-in (Emirates customers fly better, 2021). First of all, the company should attend to data security problems, which require additional investments in information infrastructure (Farrell, 2019). Additionally, there is a problem of uneven distribution of this technology in world airports, making the service use less comfortable (Khi, 2020). In this regard, Emirates Airlines should pay particular attention to collaborating with other major airline networks to ensure faster and smoother system integration.

Job satisfaction is a critical factor in delivering quality service to the airline industry. Shahzad (2018) emphasizes that highly motivated employees are a major factor in greater customer satisfaction. Alafesha and Tanova (2019) identify that leadership development and implementation of high-performance work systems can increase employee motivation. In return, Emirates Airlines provides employees with comprehensive training in professional skills but has low levels of leadership development and empowerment. In this situation, the focus on the development of leadership qualities in employees will increase their motivation and, as a consequence, customer satisfaction with services.

To effectively measure productivity, companies need to consider many factors. Emirates Airlines currently makes a rather limited assessment of the quality of services, which does not allow for detailed information. Ghorabaee and López-Bonilla (2017) identify that for the most productive assessment of the quality of services, companies need to adopt a multi-criteria assessment system. In this situation, airlines should develop dynamic systems for obtaining feedback on as many individual services as possible, rather than the overall customer experience. This will enable Emirates Airlines to identify opportunities better and make better decisions.

It is also important to pay attention to the assessment criteria that are relevant in the conditions of modern society. In particular, Huang and Zhou (2020) emphasize that benchmarks for measuring carbon dioxide emissions are promising indicators of airlines’ performance. At the same time, such measurements can help Emirates Airlines to optimize its environmental impact better, resulting in greater public acceptance and better customer perception. In this regard, it is also important to develop criteria for measuring the validity and reliability of the productivity assessment system (Sweis and Elhawa, 2019). As such, Emirates Airlines needs to concentrate on creating more effective performance criteria with a focus on specific services.

Supply and demand management is a priority area for development in today’s environment of uncertainty. In this regard, it is important to change the pricing strategy, as well as the allocation of resources to adapt to changing market conditions. Zarei and Mashreghi (2019) identify that decreasing price sensitivity coupled with increasing market size provide better prices and benefits for airlines.

Therefore, Emirates Airlines should pay attention to the reduced focus on price adaptation for certain destinations. It is also important to take into account the uncertainties that make forecasting demand difficult. In this situation, a more adaptive approach is needed, which is based on constant monitoring of feedback and changes in demand (Vinod, 2021). Thus, Emirates Airlines should focus on developing more flexible and shorter-term demand assessment systems, which correlates with the need for more detailed performance measurement criteria.

Factors that reflect changes in passenger preferences and behavior should also be taken into account. Sibdari and Mohammadian (2018) note that passengers are currently changing their preferences in favor of more private flights on smaller aircraft. This assumption is supported by Mohammadian and Abareshi (2019), which emphasize that higher fuel prices, as well as changes in passenger behavior patterns, lead to lower load factors. In this regard, Emirates Airlines should also pay attention to optimizing the number of flights for certain directions in order to adapt capacity in accordance with demand. Additionally, Emirates Airlines needs to consider developing shorter routes with connecting flights to optimize costs and meet demand.

Conclusion

This report provides an analysis of Emirates Airlines’ current marketing strategies for customer experience. Additionally, it offers recommendations for improving services and increasing the revenue of the company. In the course of the analysis, several key aspects were identified that currently represent potential opportunities for the development of the company. First and foremost, it found that Emirates Airlines needed to look at diversifying its marketing efforts to expand global brand trust. In this regard, the most promising strategy is co-branding, which will not only attract new customers but also expand the company’s presence in various markets.

One of the most pressing problems of the company at the moment is the pricing strategy, which is based on strict market segmentation. However, in modern conditions, customer preferences are changing and they need a more flexible system based on the personalization of services. With regard to the service process, an important aspect is the adaptation of biometric data for the provision of services. However, within the global environment, the process of technology integration is uneven, which can reduce the comfort of its use. Thus, the company needs to pay attention to collaboration with other airline networks.

In terms of human resource management, Emirates Airlines should focus on developing leadership and employee motivation. This recommendation will improve the quality of services through better decision-making. In terms of quality and productivity, the company should pay attention to the development of service-specific quality assessment criteria to obtain more detailed information and identify development opportunities. Finally, with regard to capacity management, the company should focus on researching passenger behavior patterns and avoiding demand forecasting. This recommendation is due to the need for more flexible management in a changing environment. These proposals have the potential to increase customer satisfaction through better experiences.

Reference List

About us. (n.d). Web.

Alafesha, R. and Tanova, C. (2019) ‘Servant leadership style and high-performance work system practices: a pathway to a sustainable Jordanian airline industry’, Sustainability, 11(22), pp. 1-21.

Aujla, M. and Kaur, J. (2017) ‘Co-branding: an ideal marriage or a recipe for disaster!!’, Biz and Bytes, 8(1), pp. 238-343.

Bogdan, A. (2019) ‘Airline’s customer segmentation in the hyper-competition era’, Expert Journal of Marketing, 7(2), pp. 137-143.

Emirates customers fly better (2021). Web.

Farrell, S. (2019) ‘Biometrics in air transport: no flight of fancy, Biometric Technology Today, 2019(1), pp. 5-7.

Ghorabaee, M. K. and Amiri, M. (2017) ‘A new hybrid simulation-based assignment approach for evaluating airlines with multiple service quality criteria’, Journal of Air Transport Management, 63, pp. 45-60.

Huang, F. and Zhou, D. (2020) ‘Integrated airline productivity performance evaluation with CO2 emissions and flight delays, Journal of Air Transport Management, 84, pp. 1-6.

Khi, I. A. (2020) ‘Ready for take-off: how biometrics and blockchain can beat aviation’s quality issues’, Biometric Technology Today, 2020(1), pp. 8-10.

Malhotra, S. and Bhattacharyya, S. (2021) Leveraging co-followership patterns on social media to identify brand alliance opportunities. Web.

Mohammadian, I. and Abareshi, A. (2019) ‘Airline capacity decisions under supply-demand equilibrium of Australia’s domestic aviation market’, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 119, pp. 108-121.

Saed, R. and Upadhya, A. (2020) ‘Role of airline promotion activities in destination branding: Case of Dubai vis-à-vis Emirates Airline’, European Research on Management and Business Economics, 26, pp. 121-126.

Saeed, H. G. (2020) ‘Co-branding in air carriers’, Journal of Researcher for Legal Sciences, 1(2), pp. 3-42.

Shahzad, N. (2018) ‘Impact of employee motivation on customer satisfaction: a study of the airline industry in Pakistan’, Journal of Forensic Psychology, 3(2), pp. 1-5.

Sibdari, S. and Mohammadian, I. (2018) ‘On the impact of jet fuel cost on airlines’ capacity choice: evidence from the U.S. domestic markets’, Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 111, pp. 1-17.

Sweis, R. J. and Elhawa, N. A. (2019) ‘Total quality management practices and their impact on performance: a case study of Royal Jordanian Airlines, International Journal of Business Excellence, 17(2), pp. 245-263.

Turan, C. P. (2020) ‘Success drivers of co-branding: a meta-analysis, International Journal of Consumer Studies, 45, pp. 911-936.

Vinod, B. (2021) ‘An approach to adaptive robust revenue management with continuous demand management in a COVID-19 era’, Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, 20, pp. 10-14.

Wehner, C. and López-Bonilla, J. M. (2018) ‘State of the art of pricing policy in air transportation: network carriers vs. low-cost airlines’, Tourism & Management Studies, 14(3), pp. 32-40.

Zarei, M. and Mashreghi, H. (2019) ‘Joint optimization of pricing and capacity allocation for two competitive airlines under demand uncertainty, Iranian Journal of Operations Research, 10(1), pp. 43-62.

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