United Airlines launches vaccine campaign
United Airlines said Monday, May 24, that he was launching a new campaign to get people flying again after the worst year in industry history. By launching the “Your shot to fly”Promotion, CEO of United Scott Kirby said the two-pronged promotion aims to get people vaccinated, while also encouraging them to dream of exotic destinations with the chance to win free travel for a year.
“We are proud to do our part to get people to get vaccinated,” Kirby said in a press release. “Thanks to the vaccine, more and more destinations are opening up to travel – and we know our customers are eager to fly.”
By most accounts, 2020 has been apocalyptically bad for the airline industry, which has hemorrhaged more than $ 35 billion in losses as COVID-19 ground flights and killed consumer enthusiasm. for long distance travel. While airlines have always predicted 2021 to be a better year, recent earnings reports indicate great uncertainty over the shape of the recovery or when consumers will want to fly in friendly skies again.
Airlines are working hard to help consumers rediscover their wings, as recently evidenced by the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) option that first appeared on airline checkout pages as the The industry is trying to keep up with the bandwagon of the latest consumer payment trend.
And as of this week, United raised the bar on encouraging consumers to fly, announcing their new raffles This will give travelers the chance to win a year of free flights to anywhere in the world, provided participants have received their COVID-19 vaccines. The “Your Shot to Fly” contest will specifically allow members of the MileagePlus loyalty program to upload their vaccination record to a mobile app or website until June 22. A week later, on July 1, the airline will announce five winners who will be awarded a full year of free travel for themselves and for a companion in any class of service, wherever United flies. In addition, the airline will offer participants 30 pairs of tickets for a return flight for two, in any class of service, to any location.
United is the only airline allowing consumers to upload COVID-19 vaccination and test records directly to a digital platform, saving them time at the airport. And while it makes the biggest and most aggressive of incentives to entice consumers to fly again, United are far from alone in exploiting incentives and rewards. The Mediterranean nation of Malta, due to reopen to tourism on July 1, is funding vouchers for hotels and diving tours in hopes of bringing travelers back, according to reports.
New York, on the other hand, uses the vaccines as an incentive, offering injections to visitors who want one. The offer comes with a a multitude of offers the city has rolled out for the vaccinated, including free weekly MetroCards, Citi Bike passes, and comped tickets to iconic attractions, from the Bronx Zoo to Lincoln Center.
According to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, vaccine distribution plans will likely involve pop-up sites offering free doses of Johnson & Johnson to tourists at some of the city’s most popular attractions, including the Empire State. Building, Times Square and Brooklyn Bridge Park. , High Line and Central Park, among others (pending approval).
“This is a positive message for tourists,” de Blasio said during a press briefing. “Come here for sure, it’s a great place and we’ll take care of you. We will make sure you get vaccinated while you are here with us.
And not all upgrades are vaccine-related. As JetBlue’s recent deal with the NBA shows, some are simply aimed at making flights more enjoyable for passengers. Communication company Viasat has entered into a multi-year agreement with the National Basketball Association that will offer live NBA games to JetBlue passengers on the airline’s international flights. (The service will not be available on domestic U.S. flights or on routes within China or Canada.) The terms of the agreement will allow passengers to access the NBA League Pass, the premium live game subscription service. of the league, which will offer live access and on-demand NBA games and content at no additional cost. The service will be available in time for the 2021 NBA playoffs, according to reports.
Will any of these big prize winning incentives and opportunities push more people around the world? Hard to say, but visiting family and friends, traveling and venturing out to events are all high on the list of activities consumers told PYMNTS they were eager to resume after the pandemic period. . Some 60 percent said their main interest was seeing family and friends again, while a majority report said they wanted to travel within the country and participate in leisure activities outside of their home.
The pent-up demand is there. Now, as the summer heats up, the challenge for gamers on the journey is finding the right set of incentives to tap into.
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