Would You Believe in Low Fare Business Class?

Would You Believe in Low Fare Business Class?

I commented in my earlier blog post, Why Pay Retail When You Can Save Up To 70%, that compelling copy and irresistible offers can make buyers ignore the aesthetics of a website. Mal Emery, a renowned Australian marketing guru, said that offers are most the most important elements in a selling proposition. It can override ugly design, terrible copy and even a lousy salesman. I was recently invited to review a business class airline website, and adopted his principle as a guide. This is a summary of what I saw and felt.

Silverjet<

Silverjet is a low-fare, British, business class airline listed on the London Stock Exchange. Low fare-premium flights in itself is already an attractive proposition. The one-class configuration, which means there is no first class or economy class seatings, makes Silverjet all the more unique. Silverjet aims to”become the global market leader in exclusively business class luxury long-haul air travel.” These words conjure an image of Silverjet as “exclusive”, “premium”, “classy”, “world class”. Unfortunately, they also overshadow the other unique selling proposition the company wishes to put forward – “low-fare” business class airline. When I first landed at Silverjet’s Homepage, I was greeted with big blocks and slates of gray in dual tones. Instead of feeling classy, premium, world class and exclusive, I was reminded of London’s infamous gloomy sky. I’m pretty certain that the gray in cyberspace is to be silver in real life. Silverjet’s colour has got to be silver, no less. And, incidentally, London and New York are the two cities the airline jet to.

What further perplexed me was the headline, “Free seat once a week, every week”. It is a different message to Silverjet’s USP of “being exclusively business class ‘luxury’ long-haul air travel”. Sure, Siliverjet positions itself as a low-fare business class airline, but it should still be a notch more premium than certain competitors or the budget airlines. As a business class traveler, I would like to fly premium at a good price. A penny saved is a penny earned. However, at no time would I want to be seen as a cheapskate scrambling for rock-bottom prices or freebies. I wouldn’t ignore the perks behind the word “Free” but I sure would appreciate an alternative word to “Free”. Some suggestions would be “perks”, “bonus”, “extra”, “complimentary”.

When I travel in a business class airline, I’m not just particular about the reclining seats, food and wine, entertainment selection or on-board services. The entire experience starts when I check for information online. Also, it does not end when I touch down at the destination airport. A friendly airline that truly pampers it’s corporate clients would know how to take care of all the nitty-gritty details such that we can concentrate on business matters. What I liked about Silverjet’s website is the “Flight & Airport Info” section. General information like airport map, flight status flight schedule, flight connection transport services, etc, were readily available. What was noteworthy was the “Roadwork Delay Expected” category at London Luton Airport. It would save me lots of hassle and time just by avoiding certain roads. Kudos to Silverjet.

With the intention of providing a private-jet-experience, Silverjet offers a butler service by taking care of any incidental sightseeing excursions or tours. There are short write ups on London and New York with recommendations on where to visit. All these are endearing to busy business travelers but I sure hope they would hire a better photographer or source higher quality images at “Our Destination”.

I want to believe Silverjet is offering me a private jet experience with exclusivity and comfort on par with a global business class airline. However, the aesthetics of the website didn’t whet my appetite. The testimonials are reassuring, the offerings (information and price) are attractive, but would the experience with a more established and expensive competitor be more pleasant? Right now, I would prefer to adopt a wait and see attitude. I’m sure in time, there will be more press releases, news coverages and testimonials being featured at Silverjet’s website and other dailies and periodical to override my resistance and concerns.

And yes, eventually, I would like to fly on the world’s first carbon neutral airline.

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[tags]business class airline, business travel[/tags]

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