Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Airlines – Please Repeat After Me!

Just returned from a week in the Pacific Northwest and a visit with family.

Good air service both ways on Continental. But airlines and I mean all of them, repeat after me:Capture

  • People fly to communities or resorts or the countryside not to airports.

  • Airports serve many destination communities, even when they may be located in a certain city.

  • Many airports like RDU are not located in a city. RDU for example is located in a small town called Morrisville, midway between the owner communities of Durham to the west and Raleigh to the east.

  • Travelers destined for one community, very rarely visit more than one on the same trip (3% for example combine a trip to Durham and Raleigh on the same trip and typically they are being escorted by residents) because the focus of their trip typically isn’t more travel and because of a nearly universal consumer behavior called “distance or cognitive friction) which makes a mile away from home equivalent to 20 back home.

  • In fact the great majority of travelers don’t venture more than 7 miles from their hotel. So failing to accurately note locations can mean a lot of inconvenience and confusion, e.g. a 60 mile round trip in the case of RDU.

  • And please don’t confuse your vendors.. On tickets to RDU, a database company called Sojern (note image above) works with scores of airlines to helpfully print out some information on boarding passes (both to help travelers but I assume to make a buck for the airline from advertisers to offset the zero cost of printing off online boarding passes.

For the vast majority of travelers, who are not destined to Raleigh through RDU, they are given Raleigh area weather (actually the NWS is based at RDU, it just has an office at NCSU in Raleigh).

The Raleigh area which includes Wake County and nearly dozen towns east of RDU is not a term used to reference the Durham Metro area which includes Chapel Hill and about a dozen other communities in the opposite direction.

So to make it simple, reference the Triangle Area or the just the complete airport name. And the recommended dining in the example attached refers to dining in the Raleigh area but two are nationally recognized restaurants alright but they are located in Durham, which of course is not in the Raleigh area.

And the attractions listed in the Raleigh area, three of the five are actually in the Durham metro area, a good clip out of the way for someone actually visiting the Raleigh area (60 miles round trip if there isn’t traffic.

So if you want to serve travelers you owe it to at least “not” confuse them or inconvenience or mislead them…

And if you list restaurants and attractions, just list them by destination community…not by the first name in the airport name.

And for our part? We passengers will try to never confuse airport names or mix and match airline names. And for all those folks who may tell you this is petty – well they are obviously lack empathy or understanding for what it means to travel. So who cares, right? You’re in the travel business.

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