The public has become apathetic to the airline industry’s ever increasing gall. Once a bastion of customer service, with attendants catering to your every whim with a smile, air travel has now become the modern day equivalent of a cattle drive. I take that back, the cattle didn’t have to pay for the pleasure of traveling cross country packed shoulder to shoulder with fellow travelers.
It seems that almost daily, new fees are being created to add to the bottom line while reducing the passenger experience. There are now fees for checked baggage, carry on bags, exit row seats, aisle seats, snacks, meals, headsets, blankets and pillows. There’s even a rumored lavatory fee. And can someone please explain the convenience fee you pay for purchasing a ticket online? Where will it end?
As I mentioned at the start, we accept it. We take it. We’ve determined that saving a few dollars is more important than being treated with care. Or if your self-esteem determines that you are worthy of decent service, you pay (bribe) someone to give it to you. It sounds kind of cheap and tawdry doesn’t it? How can you smugly sit there in your exit row aisle seat, pillow under head and blanket on your lap, steamer trunk in cargo and your personal belongings just a few inches away in the overhead compartment, while other inferior travelers are practically asked to flap their arms at take off?
The reason for me visiting this non-newsmaking topic is that I just learned that hotels will soon follow suit. Noooooooo! Adding fees, enforcing fees, and increasing fees for cutting stays short, mini-bar restocking and Internet access just to name a few, could generate $1.7 billion in 2010, according to Center for Hospitality Tourism and Sports Management at NYU. The result? Declining brand loyalty.
I can’t imagine Electrum Marketing operating in this fashion. You want an ad created? Great, that will be $500. However, you have the option of paying a target market fee if you want your ad to be seen by the right audience, an accuracy fee if you would like the information given to be correct, and of course, the deadline fee which ensures we submit the ad to publication in time for it to actually be published. Oh, and for a limited time, we’re running a special, pay all these fees and we’ll throw in punctuation, formatting, and spelling for free – but you have to act fast!
Sure, that could generate additional revenue, but for how long? Customers refer friends to businesses based on perceived value and not price. If you want to increase income and improve your bottom line at the same time, enhance your brand delivery while raising your prices. If your customers feel the product has value, they will gladly pay and refer their colleagues to you. And whatever you do, ignore the temptation to charge a referral fee!