Let’s take a moment to think of flying and airplanes. What are the first things that come to your mind? Are those tiring, inhuman, awful food, uncomfortable and so on? I had such negative impression with the airline industry, until I experienced Virgin America. It was a flight from LA to Boston. From the moment I stepped on its signature mood-lit cabin with purple/red lights, I knew it was going to be a distinctive experience.
Virgin America is a California-based airline that is “on a mission to make flying good again, with attractive fares, top-notch service, innovative amenities that are reinventing domestic air travel.” The main target market of Virgin America is what they call the “Creative Class.” These are the people who are young, urban, tech-savvy and socialize on web. Every Virgin America’s aircraft has free Wifi, power outlet at every seat and the RED entertainment system. Beside of new movies, live TV, music and games, the system has some unique features such as allowing passengers to give donations, Seat-to-seat delivery (send drink, meal to another flyer) and chat function (chat with fellow fliers).
-Animated destination logos on official website (Vegas, Hawaii and San Francisco)
While competitors such as Jetblue and Southwest have blazed trails in social media landscape, Virgin America fully embrace it with high enthusiasm. The brand focuses heavily on social media with a fun and spirited presence, especially Twitter. Instead of investing in paid advertising, the brand decides to put their money in customer satisfaction to enhance word-of-mouth marketing. Virgin America uses Twitter as a guest-service and customer engagement tool and tried to encourage 2-way conversation.
Brand’s representatives respond to in-flight tweets, re-accommodate customers who post about missing flights, provides updates on flights schedules and promotions on Twitter. The brand also had a 24-hour ticket sales exclusively on Twitter that got huge participation and harvested enormous sales. This method creates excitement and urge customers to spread word-of-mouth about their #myVXexperience. Whether the experience was positive or negative, the fact that Virgin want to be transparent with their customers and deal with the problems is highly commendable. Consumers are being responded back from the brand and re-accommodate. This increases customer intimacy and loyalty. Non-marketing sources is always more reliable. Virgin has let the services do the marketing for them.