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Opinion Editorials

Airlines have pricing figured out, use their moves to figure yours out

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Pricing in any market can vary widely across the board, but airlines seem to have figured out the world of competitive pricing.

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LESSON FOR FREQUENT FLYERS

It is an understatement to say that I’m a “frequent flyer.” My job requires me to travel across North America almost every week to meet with clients.

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With this constant travel comes (at least, for me) a lot of thinking about the airline industry. Recently I was contemplating the variations in airfare. How often have you sat next to someone on a flight that paid 2-3 times what you paid for a ticket? You are both receiving the exact same service – travel from point A to point B – so what gives?

THE PRICE IS (USUALLY) RIGHT

Robert Crandle, the former CEO of American Airlines once said, “If I have 2,000 customers on a given route and 400 different prices, I am obviously short 1,600 prices.” At first glance this sounds like a quote from a greedy airline executive, but it’s just an example of understanding customer value.

The price of an airline ticket is determined by the value each individual traveler associates with that trip.

In almost every situation, no two people would place the same exact value on any given trip. A business traveler that needs to book a last-minute trip will have a higher perceived value on a flight than a family that booked a vacation three months earlier. The family probably has more flexibility and more price sensitivity to the trip. Hence the reason airlines charge higher prices to last-minute travelers.

Here are four major pricing strategies from the airline industry that you can apply to your organization:

1) Match your prices to what your customers value.

If you are currently selling your product/service at one or a few price levels, consider having a broad range of prices to match the broad range of values from your customers.

If necessary, identify variables beyond price to differentiate your groups.

For example, airlines are typically discounting flights on Wednesdays since they see slowest traffic. Adapt this strategy, and consider offering your customers a lower price if they agree to take delivery during your slowest period.

2) Reward your best customers.

An airline’s frequent flyer program is a tool to identify and reward top customers. Once a frequent traveler has access to the perks associated with a specific airline’s frequent flyer program, they are unlikely to change airlines.

My United Airlines frequent flyer status means I get to board the flight first, get upgraded to first class on a regular basis and that my checked bags fly for free. I also have a dedicated phone number with access to United’s best customer service agents. At the end of the day, I’m still traveling from point A to point B with everyone else, but it feels like a different experience. The airlines know that they must reward their best customers.

To adapt this to your business, ask how you are rewarding your best customers.

3) Create up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

A consumer purchasing an airline ticket online is presented with numerous opportunities to purchase an additional product or service. For instance, you can pay a small fee to purchase a seat with more legroom. For another small fee, you can board the flight early or upgrade to first class.

The airlines have also mastered the cross-sell.

Need a rental car when you land? The airline has a partner that would be happy to take care of that. Need a hotel room? The airline can provide a convenient partner to book your room at a special rate.

For your organization, map out every step of your sales and delivery process to determine if you’re missing any up-sell or cross-sell opportunities.

4) Use strategic partners to offer more.

It’s impractical for most airlines to fly to every destination, but they know their customers need to fly to locations where they may not have a hub. Thus, it’s very common for airlines to “share” routes. You might book your flight to Australia on American Airlines, but the actual carrier that you fly on is Qantas. By packaging these solutions to travelers, airlines can capture more flights and satisfy their customers’ needs.

In your business, analyze your customers’ needs in detail.

What do they really value, and how can you create strategic partnerships to deliver that to them through a broader range of products or services?

So next time you find yourself in an airport, consider what you can learn from the airlines’ pricing strategy that can be applied to your organization. And don’t feel bad if the person next to you paid more money for the same flight. They clearly value the flight more than you.

#AirlinesPricing

Certified Petra Coach Rob Simons draws upon his 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, brand expert and business coach. Rob founded PixelWorks Corporation in 1993 to serve the interactive advertising industry and in 1996 he founded Toolbox Studios, Inc., one of the most respected branded content marketing firms in Texas. Rob sold Toolbox Studios in 2015 to focus exclusively on business coaching, which includes certification as a Gazelles International Four Decisions™ coach. An active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), Rob is currently a “Master” EO Strategy Summit Facilitator and an EO Accelerator Instructor. In 2007, the San Antonio Business Journal named him one of San Antonio’s “40 Under 40.”

Opinion Editorials

Our five faves for Friday – almost Thanksgiving edition

(EDITORIAL) This week, I have so many faves that I can barely keep it at just five – Unicorns, gophers, tears, science nerdery, and rebellions, oh my!

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I heard a rumor that it’s Friday again, so today we share with you five of the neato-est things that we came across this week – some silly, some serious, all awesome.

1. Brands refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day

It started with retailers opening early on Black Friday, then opening at midnight on Thanksgiving Day, and now retailers are expected to force their staff to work instead of enjoy a bajillion-ish year old American tradition.

But some companies are pushing back, publicly refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day, so even though our home doesn’t care about Black Friday, we’ll be giving some business to those taking a stand.

2. I need you to know about my favorite tv show ever

So there’s nothing new about this, but since you’ve never heard from ME on a Friday Faves roundup, I really need you to know something about me – I have a lot of natural curiosities and history (when not told in a dusty way) fascinates the hell out of me.

Unearthed on the Science Channel is friggen amazing and literally EVERY episode has taught me something that I didn’t know before (like the one about Stonehenge included new discoveries that change how we think about how humans used to operate – seriously mindblowing stuff). All of the episodes are available online, yo, so get to nerding!

3. No one has bought me a Pony Cycle yet

One of the only email newsletters I actually open is The Grommet – they feature independent makers’ inventions and wares, and I’m all about supporting the little guy.

But I posted this insanely amazing Pony Cycle on my Facebook timeline this week with a request that someone buy me one. Guess what? No takers. My friends are monsters. I mean it comes in horse, unicorn (dibs), and zebra, why not buy me one or three?

ponycycle

4. Video that made me cry

After the recent earthquake hit Iran, there has been a deep need for food for the victims. Watch this video (my fave part is the pat pat on the back) and try to tell me that hate isn’t something we’re taught… also, I’m not crying, you are…

5. My favorite gif of this week

If you know me, you know I love gifs more than the average person. So when I came across this one, I knew I had to award it my fave of the week…

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Opinion Editorials

Is your job inadvertently harming your health?

(EDITORIAL) We often get so consumed with our work that we unknowingly hurt ourselves in the process. Learn how to keep this from happening.

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With the changes in seasons, we tend to put more of an emphasis on our health. This makes sense as flus and colds have a tendency to run rampant around the holidays.

However, we should be more mindful of keeping track of our health throughout the year. And, given that our jobs are such a large part of our lives, it is important to keep in mind that our jobs can have an affect on our health. Which can often be a bad thing.

For most of us, we are in the same space for eight hours of our day. Sometimes we think that just because it’s ourselves occupying that space, things can’t really get germy. Well, think again.

We have so many things that we touch on a daily basis – our keyboard, mouse, phone, ID badge, etc. These have a tendency to become a house for germs, which can hurt us as time goes on.

Combat this by setting aside some time each week to disinfect all of your most-used items. Also, consider keeping some hand sanitizer at your desk.

Getting up to clean around your office can help take care of another issue – being too sedentary throughout the day. Sometimes we get so consumed with plugging away at our computers that we forget to get up and stretch.

This can be harmful to your weight and your circulation. Keep the blood flowing by getting up and moving a bit every hour or so.

The mindfulness of your health should not stop at the physical, but should also involve keeping an eye on mental health. Your job plays a big part in this as well.

First of all, you start and end your day with a commute. For some, this can be incredibly strenuous – expensive, traffic-filled, etc.

This has been known to lead to depression. Try filling this time with positivity and fulfillment by listening to a quality podcast or an audio book. This will help to give meaning to otherwise wasted time.

The most important thing to monitor with your mental health is making sure to not overwork yourself. It can be difficult to find that perfect work/life balance, but it’s necessary for a happy and healthy life.

Try staying away from work emails and texts after a certain time of the day on weekdays or on the weekends. Think about it this way – you’re not supposed to tend to your personal business during work hours, so why let work interfere with your personal time?

All of this can be helped by checking in with yourself every once in a while, or even by using the buddy system and discussing the topic with a work friend.

Lastly, be sure to check with your company to learn about health and wellness programs that may be offered.

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Opinion Editorials

Do literally anything with your money besides buy an iPhone X

(EDITORIAL) The iPhone X is pretty snazzy, but let me express why your money belongs literally anywhere besides in Apple’s pocket for this phone.

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The iPhone X is off to a rocky start, beginning with the fact that no one seems to know whether it’s supposed to be pronounced “iPhone Ten” or “iPhone Ex” and working up from there.

If you’re here, you probably don’t need me to tell you that a 5.8-inch OLED screen, facial recognition, 4K recording at 60 FPS, and an all-glass design are superfluous as hell — but just in the off-chance that I’m wrong, THE IPHONE X IS SUPERFLUOUS AS HELL.

Take literally 30 seconds to think about all of the mega-cool features that convinced you to buy your last smartphone, then think of the last time you used even half of those features without feeling compelled to do so. If you’re one of those people who uses all of the filters on the camera every day, fine, but I’m willing to bet that you just use your phone for Facebook, texting, and calling your grandma.

You don’t need a 5.8-inch, all-glass, basically-a-tablet-of-a-phone to do those things, but if money doesn’t mean anything to you, be my guest.

It’s also worth noting that there is a certain point at which “really fast” and “really, really fast” feel identical to one another. My personal experience with this phenomenon was with the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8; it doesn’t matter how fast your newest processor is if the last one was fast enough.

Apple has a long history of publicly executing things that people are still using. While it’s hard to be too mad about the headphone jack, they hit a soft spot when they nixed ethernet ports—and, more recently, USB 3.0 ports—and the most recent dissident to fall victim to Apple’s indiscriminate chopping block is the Home button.

Yeah, that thing that make the iPhone usable in the first place? Not there anymore. Worse still, the simple display is now flooded with different shortcut hotspots. For example, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center — no, wait, that’s how you get home. You swipe from the top-right corner of the screen to open the Control Center, while the top-left corner opens the notifications screen that — hey, are you writing this down?

To make matters worse, Apple added a bunch of different contextual shortcuts to the physical buttons on the sides of the iPhone X, further reducing accessibility. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Is the iPhone X necessary? Absolutely not. Is it neato? Sure.

But is it worth your time if you’ve got dollar bills to blow? Again, absolutely not — do literally anything else with that money, up to and including burning it. As long as Apple continues to ignore the issues that plague their devices in favor of broken facial recognition and 3D emoji animation, consider spending your money elsewhere.

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