Catering to members of the Millennial Generation has been a challenge not only for marketing agencies but also for companies operating in niche sectors such as business jet charter providers.
However, this generation, along with Generation Y, will soon represent the market segment with the most buying power, and therefore, the source of the most future leads for private aviation companies.
Before we discuss the topic of getting leads from this important demographic segment, it is important to study the mindset these target audiences have about private aviation.
Born to Fly: Putting Broad-Scale Aviation Trends in Context
Millennials are part of a generation that experienced the downturn of commercial aviation in the post 9/11 era and were excited to live through the boom of discount airfare. It is safe to say that these young adults are part of a generation that was born to fly; nonetheless, they were somewhat denied of this thrill by what happened to the air travel industry after the terrible events of 9/11.
An interesting sociocultural tidbit about Millennials is that they are often wistful for the right reasons; when it comes to nostalgia, they tend to do it right, and this can be explained by the masterful way they manage digital information. In the specific case of air travel, they marvel at stories from members of Generation X who may have skipped a semester or an entire year for the purpose of flying across the Atlantic, staying at European hostels and exploring the Old Continent by rail. Millennials also admire Generation X backpackers who traveled to exotic locations such as Goa and Thailand at the height of the global village concept in the 1990s.
Notably, Millennials are amazed that young Generation X members were able to afford long-haul airfare in the first place; this can be explained because Generation Y got stuck with the global financial crisis and the Great Recession; moreover, TSA lines at American airports did not exist back then and the overall feeling of security was far less anxious. Generation Y air travelers are also known to scour the internet looking for stories and photos of swanky and fabulous sky lounges aboard passenger jets of the 1970s flown by Pan-Am and Eastern Airlines.
Other aspects of yesteryear flying that attract Millennials are stylish flight attendant uniforms, comfort, gourmet meals, and aesthetic cabin design; to this effect, when they learn of carriers such as Turkish Airlines serving mezze with dozens of options, Millennials strongly approve and are delighted that their nostalgia trips are becoming a reality.
The Millennial Airlines That Figured it Out First
At least one airline has paid very close attention to what Millennials would like to experience when they fly: Air France’s very own Joon, a hybrid low-cost and luxurious carrier that not only offers in-flight Wi-Fi with plenty of bandwidth, nifty mobile apps, cabin design that rivals Virgin Air, original content, booking through social media platforms, customized vacations, Instagram influencer tours, and the most earnestly interesting flight crew uniforms.
What is interesting about Joon is how seriously it has approached its branding and marketing campaign. The extremely cool digital video ads feature music by a band that Millennials may not have even heard before, but they know that they will like to learn more about. The imagery presented in Joon’s internet commercial has an irresistible vibe that Millennials can certainly get into, and it addresses important aspects of the aforementioned nostalgia.
The Current Climate for Business Charter Flights
There is no question that other airlines will soon follow Joon’s lead, and this is what private business charter operators need to pay attention to. First of all, the current state of the industry has to be taken into account: the budget airfare seems to be coming to an end, and this is something that Millennial air travelers are likely to understand. Second, Virgin America, a commercial carrier widely considered to have been the first “hipster airline” has stopped flying in the United States.
Not many private jet companies have Air France’s budget to roll out a competitor to Joon, but they should certainly try to implement similar features such as Wi-Fi, mobile technology integration, social media engagement, and aesthetics. More importantly, private jet operators should cultivate their leads through inbound marketing strategies because Millennials are actually waiting for them.
The reality of the private jet sector is that even the wealthiest Millennials are not thinking about purchasing their own aircraft, not even if Mexico’s new socialist President sells it to them. Millennials are ready to learn more about private jet transport, particularly if they can participate in flight sharing programs, book through mobile apps, get customer service via social media platforms, invite friends and associates to join them on flights to get group discounts, and enjoy rewards from jet card membership programs.
Inbound marketing for Millennials focuses on presenting content that speaks to certain interests and that is delivered in certain formats. You already know about digital video and what Millennials feel nostalgic about; however, there is more to learn in the sense that you need to reach the right cohort. Virgin America, for example, focused too much on the narrower “hipster” segment versus the larger Millennial air traveler contingent. Contact Offland today so that you can discuss your private charter needs with our marketing consultants.