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A Comparative Study of Customer’s Perception and Marketing Strategies of “SAHARA AIRLINES”
With other market players in the industry”
BLS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT
(AFFILIATED TO G.G.S INDRAPRASTHA UNIVERSITY )
Delhi-Rohtak Road,NH-10,JAKHODA, BAHADURGHAR-124507(HR). Ph.—01276-241922,241822
I consider it my grate privilege to have worked under the expert guidance of my professor Mr. Her enlightened guidance, valuable suggestion & constant encouragement saved me from many pitfalls through the course of my study. I am particularly grateful to my guiding hand for her pains taking efforts in editing the text of the study.
© INTRODUCTION • A glimpse of the Indian (Domestic) Aviation Industry • The Resource of Domestic Airlines © OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY © PROFILE OF THE SAHARA AIRLINES • Corporate Profile • Sahara Airlines-Introduction • Achievements – Slow and Steady Wins • Marketing Strategies © COMPETITORS AND THEIR COMPARISON • Three Domestic Airlines • Marketing Strategy- An Overview and Comparison © CUSTOMER PERCEPTIONS • Factors influencing perception of traveler • Service encounters • Evidence of Service • Image or Price © CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS © BIBLIOGRAPHY
INTRODUCTION A glimpse of the Indian (Domestic) Aviation Industry
Though the Open Sky Policy was announced 11 years back, for all practical purposes, the Indian aviation industry actually took off with the entry of as many as 6 companies in the first half of 1991 when the state run Indian Airlines was facing industrial strife. After reporting a Rs.11 crore profit in 1988-89, Indian Airlines, suddenly saw it’s market share drop and it’s supremacy challenged. Pilots let the airline in hordes to more lucrative jobs with the private operators, which resulted in under utilisation of it’s Boeing fleet. Passengers, too, suddenly realised that there were airlines willing to offer that little extra bit that means so much, and Indian Airlines suddenly saw it’s market share drop to 53 per cent from it’s earlier unassailable position. The growing disenchantment with the services (or lack of it) of IA and the frequent agitation by it’s employers prompted the “decision-markets” to usher in private air-taxi operators (ATOs). Nineteen others got no objection certificates (NOC). By 1993, there were 12 operators in the market, by their market share in domestic traffic was negligible. Come 1996, there were seven players who were operating with a scheduled airline’s while 22 others were fling as non-scheduled or ATO.
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The scheduled airlines included East West Airlines, Modi-luft, Damania, Jet Airways, NEPC and Archana. Companies such as West leased several 100 plus seated aircraft and developed a large network in a short span. Jet Airways grew slowly and not only outlived competition, but established itself as the largest private sector player. While the market share of private operators soared to 41% from 1993 to 1996 (eating into IA’s share), the initial euphoria died out in 1994 when the Air Corporation Act of 1953 was repealed and it became obligatory for ATOs with three or more aircraft to become scheduled airlines and operate according to certain guidelines. It became mandatory for scheduled airlines to fly at least 10% of their capacity to the far-flung uneconomical areas such as northeast, Jammu and Kashmir and 50% to non-trunk stations. With this, came the realisation that a whole lot of overheads associated with the flying were involved and higher utilization of the leased aircraft and better route planning was essential to survive. Obviously, when there was a mismatch between the returns and the outgo, some of them shut shops. But, even before the guidelines were issued in 1994, Damania, which had created brand equity of its own as an elegant, passenger- friendly airline, buckled under pressure and was purchased by NEPC in 1993. UB Air and Raj Air followed it. By the first quarter of 1997, three more airlines
Sahara Airlines.suspended their operations due to non-availability of aircraft. Jet Airways. and NEPC in March 1997. Modiluft in November 1996. Archana and UP Airways are the only survivors. Currently.East West in May 1996. 10 .
Aircraft Strength of Major Players Airline IA Jets 54 Jet-Type AIRBus 300 10 AIRBus 320 26 Boeing 737-200 18 East-West Damania 7 4 Boeing 737-200 7 Boeing 737-200 2 Boeing 737-282 2 Jet 6 Modiluft Sahara 4 1 Boeing 737-300 4 Boeing 737-300 2 Boeing 737-400 4 Boeing 737-200 1 4 1 6 3 10 4 Non-Jets 54 Total 11 .
who understood the rules of the game.intensive industry. domestic airlines are on the upswing again. and prepared it to battle for its turt with the likes of Jet Airways and Sahara Airways as and when they fly. have survived and are prepared to make a comeback to this glamorous but highly capital. Today. Indian Airlines. despite its failure to phase out older aircraft. the Indian sky is left for Jet Airways. some faltered. is regaining lost ground. but while they were there.The Resource of Domestic Airlines They came. Sahara Airlines and Indian Airlines to expand and grow… 12 . while Sahara Airlines is preparing for a face life that should really gear up the domestic market. And as aviation experts projected. only the players. most fell by the side. After a fairly long bout of uncertainty. they managed to shake Indian Airlines from it’s monopolistic complacency. Jet Airways is on a fleet expansion spree.
15 crore 2. Most of these loss-making routes are operated for socio-economic reasons. High cost of Aviation Turbine Fuel: 13 . which led not only to a shortage of Commanders but also to the inability to train new Commanders. 200 crore g of 9 months by an order of the Government A320s: following an air crash at Bangalore in February 1990. of which over 70% of the routes were lossmaking. Indian Airlines lost 166 pilots and 94 engineers between 1992 and 1994. Indian Airlines Rs. and further losses. which led to further losses 5. Merger of Vayudoo t: Exodus of pilots & engineers : After the merger of Vayudoot with Indian Airlines. The airline lost Check Pilots. 207 crore Annual Recurring burden Rs. Accumulated losses Rs. Indian Airlines was forced to maintain a network throughout the country.FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE Reasons for losses 1. Unfair The open sky policy initially resulted in Rs. while absorbing 1000 of its employees. For international operations. 3. While the private on: airlines were free to concentrate all their operations on the profit making trunk routes. This resulted in gross under-utilization of aircraft. 4. Instructors and Examiners. 34 crore was charged a rate that was 42% higher than for Air India and other foreign operators. 150 crore competiti unfair competition. When private air operators entered the Not quantifiable domestic air market. Indian Airlines had to bear Vayudoot’s accumulated losses and also the recurring burden. Groundin The entire fleet of A320s was grounded for Rs.
14 . however. The study reveals that the healthy competition between airline have brought about the new trends in the quality of service. which was earlier neglected due to monopolistic environment of single airline run by the government. The massive price cuts and holiday packages has been their main thrust areas. The Sahara Airlines has been focussing on the customer and evolved their strategy by detailed study of analysis of psychological and demographic factor. The focus was mainly on the strategies in response to the customer’s requirements. The Indian Airlines. The Jet Airways has been characterised as the most preferred airline due to their emphasis on the quality of service. Accordingly a customer response questionnaire to know the perception of customers regarding the services was evolved as the primary sources of information while the airlines literature/pamphlets constituted the secondary source of information. The sample size was 100 that included mostly businessmen in the age group of 30-55. The customer care has been the focus of their strategies. has been relying on their vast infrastructure facilities and large fleet of aircraft and aggressive advertising campaigns. The information on these aspects was collected through primary and secondary means including discussion with the airline staff at various levels. Therefore a detailed knowledge of customer’s requirements was necessary.The study was undertaken to gain an insight into the competitive strategies of the three major domestic airlines in the country.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY • • • To get an insight into the marketing strategies of Sahara Airlines To do a marketing strategy analysis of Sahara Airlines. To understand the customer’s preferences or perceptions of services provided by Sahara Airlines. 15 .
Ownership The organization has a unique concept of ownership i. collective ownership. which began with a very modest investment in Gorakhpur in 1978. that there is no union in the Sahara Group.e. today. It has a workforce of 6. The company has never had any union related problems due to the fact. The company’s shareholders.00. with over 1280 offices all over India. Partners and Directors are from the workers rank and all of their have taken an oath through a Notary Affidavit in the court of law that neither they nor any of their family members shall have any claim on the assets or profits of the company.000 truly committed individuals.6000 crores. The Sahara India group.THE SAHARA INDIA GROUP A CORPORATE PROFILE Sahara airlines are a part of the 4000 crore Sahara India Group. has a business level of Rs. 16 . which means continuous collective growth for joint sharing and caring that gives an input to their philosophy of collective materialism. Establishment Sahara has one of the largest infrastructures in the private sector in India.
. 17 .Profit Sharing: The policy of profit sharing is also very unique. SAHARA INDIA Organizational Activities Parabanking Aviation Housing Export Mass Communication TV Network Aquaculture Sahara India Group has business interests in the following sectors: 1.e. Serving one out of every hundred Indians i. The company gives 25% towards social development. 35% towards company’s net owned funds. more than 1 crore depositors. Sector. and 40% towards the welfare of Karmyogi workers. Parabanking: Sahara Parabanking is India’s largest savings organisation in the Pvt.
Religion and Media problems with an ambitious aim to create a national Platform for debate on National issues. Nearly 30 flights take off. 18 . Mass Communication: (a) Social Research and Development Wing: An in-depth participative study and survey of National issues like Election-Politics. Sahara activities are in progress on around 5. 4. (c) Print Production: One of the largest and fully integrated. It’s fleet includes Boeing 737-200 Aircraft and the Advanced Aviation Technology Boeing 737-400.2. Pre-press one-press and post press print production facilities in India. (b) Rashtriya Sahara: India’s largest circulated Hindi daily launched in the post independence period. English and Urdu Magazines have a combined readership of over 32 lakhs. (d) Audio-visual Production House in Bombay is the biggest and the best Audio-visual facility in India. Education. Sahara India Housing is a highly ambitious venture and promises to grow into a powerful unit of the Sahara India Pariwar. Infrastructure and Housing: One of the largest Infrastructure and House Company in India. 000 crore.6. The company has. 3. Sector. The Rashtriya Sahara. in the Pvt. one of the largest in India.000 acre of company owned land and projects worth approximately Rs. was launched on 3rd December 1993. ever since recorded an impressive performance. everyday. Population. with 14 morning editions. Aviation: Sahara Airlines.
Aquaculture: A 500 acres project in ganga sagar in West Bengal. security items etc. exclusive electronic items. Domestic Market: The Sahara Group is planning to enter the domestic market with consumer products like clothes. Germany and the Middle East with a wide range of Indian commodities like leather. 19 .S. cosmetics..NEW VENTURES Overseas Market (Export): With an office. toys. Sahara TV Network: The group also plans to start a satellite channel shortly. Sahara plans to open offices and showrooms in the U. warehouse and showroom in London. textile items and Indian Handicrafts.
2 million per annum. The airline is a part of the Sahara India Group. with a seat capacity of 1. in an attempt to change the way Indians fly… 20 .000 employees with over 1280 offices all over India.00. The airline has come a long way since and presently has a fleet strength of (2) 737-400. Sahara Airlines is in the middle of an image enhancing. The total workforce comprises of 6. at Delhi and Mumbai. Sahara airlines operate to 13 destinations in India with 28 flights daily. (4) 737-200 and 4 Twin Engine Eurocopters. brand building and expansion programme. The airline has 2 main hubs.SAHARA AIRLINES AN INTRODUCTION Sahara Airlines Commenced operations on 3rd December 1993. including 91 pilots and 105 flight crew member’s all of whom have received intensive training at British Caledonian. experienced and dedicated staff members. It employs 1700 highly qualified.200. with an asset base of approx. with a single Boeing 737. Currently. whose current business level has touched US $ 1700 million. US $ 2 Billion.
there is one airline which has been slowly and steadily edging its way up-this is SAHARA AIRLINES! Not only has the airline managed to come out of red. 1998). London. Sahara Airlines recorded a 10% growth in load factors for the first half of 97-98 vis-à-vis 96-97.80% : 97. The performance statistics of Sahara Airlines from 1st April ’02 to 31st December ’03 were: Dispatch Reliability On-Time Performance Customer Satisfaction Ratings : 95.ACHIEVEMENTS SLOW & STEADY WINS While the domestic aviation industry in India has been going through tosses and turns and the players have one after another withdrawn out of the game. The Business class recorded a 50% growth in volume and 30% growth in yields.02% : 99. • The airline also received the World Travel Market 1997 (WTM) global Award for its ‘Quality of Service’ at Earls Court. Berlin.60% 21 . but has also won a couple of global awards: • Sahara Airlines Won the prestigious Pacific Area Travel Writer’s Association (PATWA) award for the ‘Best Domestic Airline In Business Travel’ (ITB.
its profits jumped to Rs. Sahara has being rated highly in the B737-300 and 400-500 category. For the current fiscal. Bangalore and Goa to start with coming up soon will be DCS automated load and trim sheet system. clocking 200% schedule reliability. through out the year. Based on Boeings assessment of reliability.4 crore in 1997-98. This is the best performance in the case of commercial operations conducted in the country during the third quarter of 2002. electromagnetic and hardware standards and systems engineering. the private operator registered an aircraft utilization time of 10. The above module includes: 22 . maintainability. From a Modest Rs. The airline enjoys occupancy rates of 70% during peak seasons and offseason occupancies of 62%. Mumbai.Top Boeing Rating for Sahara: Sahara airlines have been rated as the best user of Boeing aircraft in the country. profits are targeted at over Rs. Implementation of IVRS (Interactive Voice Response Syst em) The latest implementation has been the introduction of IVRS which enables Sahara’s valued passengers and clients to gets all kinds of information and service from a single number which is accessible 24 hours a day. DCS Implementation: Departure control system has been implemented in Delhi.5.36 lakh profit in 1995-96.10 crore. According to the US-based aircraft Manufacturer.17 hrs for B737 –400 aircraft. Profits of Sahara Airlines have also registered an increase. Chennai. The Boeing report reflects the strength of Sahara’s engineering and maintenance standards.
23 . etc. • Complaints and Suggestions. • Automated Meal Service Module • Various Information Modules on Frequent Flier Programme/Schemes.• Automated Tele-check in Service.
The engineering departments is fully equipped with test equipment. that the airline did it’s home work well. the loss amounts tend to pile up and pre-mature expansion can cause severe problems. spiral tools etc. 24 . The airline has a large force of skilled and experienced Engineers and Technicians.INGREDIENTS OF SUCCESS (A) Policy of Slow and steady Growth The airline industry grows with experience. required for routine maintenance and heavy maintenance like ‘C’ checks and engine changes advanced ground support systems ensure that proper Technological Standards are Maintained. The next phase of automation includes computerization of Revenue Management Flight Plan Operations.50 crores on aircraft maintenance and computerised inventory to ensure high dispatch reliability and on-time performance. It watched the government policy and the market pulse and was slow in expansion. 2 million US $ in a phased manner in Information Technology and use it as a strategic advantage. It is capital intensive. Engineering and Crew Roistering. (B) High On Technology and engineering The airline invests over Rs. The Frontline Systems are totally automated. The airline intends to invest approx. The engineering base is supported by welladdressed systems from Malaysian Airline System. The reason why Sahara Airlines could sustain was. Sahara airlines have a major engineering base at New Delhi. The airline intends to enhance the Engineering facilities at Mumbai in tune with the expansion programme.
customer awareness. battery charging shop. (C) High on Corporate Culture The Employees of Sahara Airlines share similar values and concerns and follows the airline tradition of customer can and service. Wheels and Brake assembly shop. 121 flight crew. The Employees constitute a cohesive group and work together as a team with the same culture. In-flight Crew and Catering Departments and Provides complete training solutions. Commercial Operations. that gives. (D) High on People and Training Sahara Airlines has over 1600 highly qualified. 25 . 61 Engineers. experienced and dedicated staff including 91 pilots. and at the same time ensuring continuous collective growth for collective sharing and caring. The airline has a dedicated Aviation Training Academy. The emphasis is also on soft skills such as attitude and style apart from technical product knowledge. 82 Technicians and 865 ground staff. Avionics shop and Seat Repair shop. This academy is totally equipped with all facilities and covers all In-house training requirements of engineering. Professionals conduct specially designed courses and workshops on product orientation. an impetus to the airlines philosophy of collective materialism. The airline has successfully completed a ‘D’ check and 7’C' checks. attitudes and motivation. supervisory skills and other service enhancement skills. Sahara airlines are the only domestic airline to have its own Hangar for Aircraft maintenance.The airline has its own NDT shops.
culture and courtesy. 26 . the need for enhancing customer value is now felt by the corporate sector more than ever before. A firm’s competitive advantage rests singularly on 2 factors: (i) The manner in which it is able to create customer value to make its offering unique vis-à-vis its competitors and. CUSTOMER VALUE AND CUSTOMER CARE Sahara Airlines is all about customer care. Value expectation reflects a customers concern for the time. As competition increase and maximizing shareholders wealth attains paramount importance. (ii) How it delivers such value at the least possible cost. but a memorable one right from the time of check Sahara’s value additions such as Valet Service. money and effort spent by him to procure the airline’s service and the resulting tangible and intangible benefits he gets out of the same.MARKETING STRATEGIES HIGH ON QUALITY. Value to an airlines customers. Tele Check personalized reading kit and meal preferences ensure highest standard in customer care and customer satisfaction. it is a firm belief to uphold the highest standards of traditional Indian hospitality. A service offered in all its flights to all it passengers. is a basket of benefits which he gets while consuming the service offered by the airline. At Sahara. Sahara’s highly trained personnel ensure that a clients trip is not only comfortable.
Study of post purchase behaviour (including any dissatisfactory) Customer Value Expectations Study of how customers use the Study of the process of Acquisition of Service and underlying cost/Differentiation 27 . it becomes important to track the benefits customers are looking for. the 4 important areas to examine are shown in the figure below: Study of Psychographic and Demographic Factors to understand WH 4 customers need specific benefits.Tracking Customer Value Expectations: If satisfying a customer value expectation is the hallmark of any company’s strategy (as is the case with Sahara Airlines). In order to understand this.
Innovation in key since value creating service features as well as the delivery process will always be under the threat of imitation by competitors. in advance. what their target consumers truly want-based on their accumulated experience as well as through formal market research and create. Understanding the rationale behind customer requirements can be obtained by studying the demographic and Psychographic factors pertaining to the target customer group. Hence. To achieve this. Sustaining the advantages of uniqueness and cost is possible only if the internal value activities and underlying business processes are designed and managed innovtivley. Creating and Delivering the Value: Cost competitiveness of a company’s value creation and delivery process. and its uniqueness and sustainability.Identifying Customers Value Expectations An examination of the above four aspects reveals the areas where the organization should concentrate upon to create the benefit or value customer are looking for. provide the company with a long term competitive advantage that cannot be watched by both existing and potential opponents. communicate and deliver these values in a manner that is for better than that of their competitors. This clearly indicates what specific product features and ‘add-ons’ are to be offered to ensure value acquisition by the customers. staying ahead will always be a major challenge. 28 . Successful organizations are able to assess correctly and often. value creating activities within the firm should be organized and managed in a manner that help in creating the customer value in a unique and cost-competitive way.
exclusive valet service is provided at Sahara airline airport counters. The idea of valet service came with reference to the lack of adequate infrastructure at Indian airports. Sahara’s business class. enjoying an average premium of Rs. Manager is exclusively in-charge of the cell. (iv) Customized in Flight Cuisine: Sahara believes in the aged old tradition of welcoming its guests with a spread of delicious 29 . The customer response is reflected in the market.000 responses has seen Sahara’s ratings rise from 6 to over 9 out of 10 in the last 6 months. 300-400 over Indian Airline and Jet Airways. The airline believes in delivering the best to all its customers. Over 25 haunting lines have been installed for this purpose. (ii) The airline has a unique concept of ‘Promise Fulfillment Cell’ to solve all customer problems instantly at the airports and a dedicated Sr. for all classes at all airport s in the country. This is a free valet service. with the brand name ‘Sahara Royale’ is the most expensive in the domestic airline industry. For this a monthly in-house customer feed –back survey based on 15. Sahara maintains that the higher price it commands is because of the add one that it provides to consumers.Continuous customer response system plays a vital role. It is this belief that is reflected in its services which are mentioned below:(i) Sahara Valet Service: To ensure smooth baggage handling. (iii) Tele-check–In for All passengers: Another extension of customer facilitation is the introduction of advance tele-check–in facility for all passengers.
gourmet cuisine. Mexican. Sahara Special passengers are also provided with a personalized Reading Kit who includes at least 3 major dailies. Special care is taken in looking into personal dietary preferences. The passengers have a choice of Thai. Which are anticipated and provided including special Meals like Jain Meals. Magazines and an option of selecting the latest Best Sellers. (v) In Flight Library: The airline has an international library on bard. even at great heights. Italian. Chinese and Continental health food is being incorporated in the special meal plan. Sahara Royale has a unique concept of customized meal offer. Sahara makes every effort to make the passengers feel at home. (vi) Increased leg space to ensure greater legroom on both Sahara Royale and Sahara Special classes. Diabetic Meals and Child Meals. provide total seating comfort on board. 30 . (vii) The airline provides an on-board Executive on every flight to ensure the clients comfort. which includes a choice of international dailies.
Sahara. On the other hand.300-400 over Indian Airlines and Jet Airways. airlines believe in building brands. they fail to add texture or color to it. or self-expressive consumers need. While commodities facilitate a consumer’s existence in as extremely rational and clinical way. Consumers need brands so that they can enrich their lives. The attempt to brand the two classes is a very deliberate one. because of the imagery associated with them. As mentioned earlier. with the brand name ‘Sahara Royale’ is the most expensive the domestic airline industry. emotional. enjoying an average premium of Rs. actually have the power to enhance or limit a consumers perceived or self – image. For Sahara. The airline brands are contemporary and focussed. brands. This ensures the sale of their product service and helps them survive and eventually succeed. The airline staff carefully refrains from using global terms such as business and economy class.BRANDING Branding allows marketers to discriminate themselves from others in the marketplace. 31 . Conventional theory states that the primary objective of any brand is to satisfy functional. Sahara’s’ Business class. travelers are a part of the ‘Sahara Royale’ or ‘Sahara Special’ class.
The aim of Sahara Care Club is to facilitate the sales drive and to assist the airline to extract more business from travel agents and corporate houses and ultimately contribute to the increase in the demand curve of Sahara airlines. Instead of sending its travel agents consumer products as gifts for good sales. companies have little options other than to offer better and innovative products/services to consumers. up with Sahara Care Club. the club offers its members educational courses. This priors that the airlines innovations are not just limited to customers. The Sahara Care Club uses a ‘push’ strategy to influence the channel of sale by rewarding the key persons who are directly responsible for persuading the flyers to use Sahara Airlines. Sahara decided to come. To reward its travel agents.Sahara’s Latest Brand Launch – Sahara Care Club When the competitive intensity of the market place changes from a benign. With this concept. The latest entrant to join Sahara’s brands is “Sahara Care Club’ Exclusively for travel agencies who sell its tickets. 32 . With an entry fee of Rs. volatile phase. however. innocent level to a tumultuous. Sahara decided to break away from the prevailing market norm. in order to achieve growth and profitability in intensively competitive markets. Sahara plans to bring home the fact that even travel agencies and their staff are a part of its personnel.250. Ironically. personal accident and medical policies and deposit schemes. the first casualty will be the success of new brand launches. Sahara care club is designed to reward and encourage the counter staff of travel agents and the travel coordinators of corporate houses to promote the airline.
one of the four P’s of marketing has assumed added significance in contemporary market conditions. USA and Middle East. What is also true is that any marketer worth his salt realises this. But. What follows is an attempt to assess the present scenario and to improvise on the existing media vehicles to provide differentiated and consequently more effective advertising options. today. Hence. An advertising campaign was also launched in the Indian. advertising is no different from selling a product.e. consuming. etc. is no more an “also”. ADVERTISING Promotion. As a part of the brand building exercise Sahara Airlines launched an international advertising campaign last year. The buying. i. plans. Advertising. now becomes much easier for the sales staff. Mean that there should be constant adaptations and innovation on promotional channels also. there is an increasing competition for the consumer’s attention. with almost every product or service category inundated with brands. bus has become a “most”. when and how to advertise. worth $ 2 million to target the NRI market in the UK. What. In such a situation. This in turn implies that ones advertising has to be different as well as cost effective. while coping with the conflicting requirement of high recall and quality of advertisement on the one hand and cost effectiveness on the other has necessitated a higher workload on the grey cells of marketers for a long time. care club has made the agents more receptive and therefore support form them in times of crisis is likely to be more. print media focussing on the 33 . etc to the Travel Agents. the programme needs a more effective communication in the form of elaborate literature etc.Communication of schemes.
to Goa. which included free hotel stay. It is the responsibility of the marketing department to provide all the necessary guidelines of how. This was a Maneuver. Hoarding.airlines’ strengths. very successfully by Sahara Airlines. TAAI. Internet 5. Berlin. Television 4. SATTE. passengers have to be pursued and lured into travelling with a particular carrier. Translites at the airports. and Tourism Exp. Mumbai and Bangalore.). 34 . The various types of advertising media used by Sahara Airlines are:1. when the flight load decreases drastically. The airline launched a successful. 6. This was done. with an attempt to revamp the airlines’ image in the minds of travelers. 7. OTHER PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES (A) Packages The Period from April to September is characterized as a low season for the airline industry. which shook the domestic airline industry. strategy in which it tied up with renowned hotel chains and offered business and holiday packages. Magazines 3. Percept) which then develops attractive advertisements. Newspapers 2. when and where the ads will appear to the advertising agency (in this case. during the last 2 years. Participation in travel trade events (ITB. To maintain the load factor.
lunch. dinner and daylong snack buffets. Cidade de Goa. Taj Holiday Village and Fort Aguada Beach Resort. For this. • Special Gujarati Vegetarian meal. Priced at nominal rates for 3 nights and 4 days. • Welcome hamper of goan wine and cashewnuts in the room. 35 . Holiday Inn. 100 per room. once during the stay. • Casino coupon worth Rs.(a) Sahara Wonder Holiday To Goa The Sahara Holiday plan to Goa was launched primarily to promote the Del-Goi-Del Sector. on request. the package included: • Air fare Del-goi-Del (Economy class ) for a single person • Airport transfer by car/coach • Accommodation in a standard AC Twin room. • Buffet breakfast. Bogmalo Beach Park Plaza Resort. • Half day sightseeing. purpose the curline had tied up with premium hotels like the heritage village club. • All applicable taxes.
as shown below. usually distributed to passengers by Sahara are:1. Updates 2.(b) Sahara Business Plan This was a plan launched primarily for the promotion of Bangalore and Delhi sectors. Various Direct Mailers. In addition to a return ticket on Delhi – Bangalore Delhi sectors.Holidays This plan was similar to the goa plan. 36 . tied up with hotel ‘Le-Meridian (Bangalore) and The Park (New Delhi) to attract more and more corporate travelers and by providing value added services. Schedules 4. at Bangalore. Sahara. Discounts etc. This was also viable for other sectors. (c) Sahara Airlines . dispatch reliability and customer’s satisfaction levels. (B) Direct Mailers Distribution of Direct Mailers at airports on board and at Reservation Counter is another method adopted by Sahara airlines to convey directly to the passengers about the airline performance. Sales kits 3. a customer could avail of 2 nights and 3 days stay at the Taj Residency.
The job of retaining satisfied customers is the marketing battleground of this decade. Retained customers are much more profitable than new one because they purchase more and frequently too. Such a relationship adds value to both. while at the same time requiring low-operating costs. while businesses are pouring vast resources into customer seduction they are neglecting in retaining their customers. 37 . they once again concentrate on choosing downs another sale. and the company that excels here will win the war. they acquire the client’s money. the producer and consumer. A recent study by the All India Management Association showed that among service firms. Hence. can boost profits by 25-85%. Customer retention is the process by which an organization identities and maintains a relationship with prime customer groups.RETENTION MARKETING Most companies go all out to get prospects to sign on the dotted line. They also make referrals that cost the firm nothing. But once. the decision to serve being based on a forecast of the economic lifetime value of the customer to the organization. reducing customers defections by jut 55. often at a price premium.
Frequent Flier program: Having attracted the passenger (business or leisure traveler) to fly with a particular airline in the first instance. which provides upgrades. by American Airlines.. Indian Airlines was among the first to initiate retention marketing programs in India. one of them being the airlines industry.By achieving retention rates that are superior to the competition. Marketers in India are finally accepting one forth – marketing strategies of yesterday are no longer effective. For e. Their frequent fliers schemes enhanced customer’s loyalty and increase tenure by doling out free riles for every trip they take. or free flights based on the number of miles flown. today the FFP is as much a part of the airline industry as the actual airlines. bonuses. This realization has crept into various sectors. 1993). an organization can yield competitive advantage regardless of whether its generic business strategy is built on low cost production marketing strategy. 38 . Although the first frequent flyer program (FFP) was introduced in 1981. They need to develop retention marketing strategies to survive in the radically different market of tomorrow and implementing these programs has become a pre-requisite in the choice-choked buyers market. the next objective is to maintain that passenger’s custom.g. it is estimated that 10% of the US population are members of FFPS (Verehere. One way of doing this is through a loyalty-based scheme.
As a marketing tool. SAHARA CLUB CROWN envisages easy redeuption of accumulated points in terms of products and tickets to its fliers. Information collected from FFP’s can be compiled on a database and can be used for direct railshots and for fine-tuning /tailoring services. to recognize and reward those who fly regularly with the airline. FFPs have proved highly successful. Sahara Club Crown is a unique two-divisional frequent flier program. 1993). FFP involvement has become almost as important as punctuality and inflight service in determining choice of airline and flight. FFPs are now tied into other products. to be filled as rewards to frequent flyers. credit cards. They also enable seats on low –load flights which would otherwise remain empty. 39 . Frequent travelers are allotted points based on a certain percentage of revenue received from them. to ensure brand loyalty. car rentals. This will benefits the travelers in the form of special services. tour operators. particularly corporate executives. often nontravel related including telephone companies. In addition. they attract the high-yield passengers who are the profit generating ones. hotel chains and even stocks and share (Verchere. Mainly aimed at the business traveler. they enjoy the status of membership of an exclusive elite club. and to induce incremental sale. And in an effort to be end of the best. Sahara’s Frequent Flyer program called. The objective is to attract were travelers. free tickets and products at no extra cost.
Product.e. The membership is available at 3 levels: Sahara silver Sahara gold. and Sahara platinum PRICING All the three P’s of marketing (i. finance.The airline has tied up with big names like Parker. Pierre Cardin. accounts. Revlon. And the transition happens. sales. and Promotion) get translated into this ‘P’. Sahara Airlines offers: 50 % discounts to students 50% discounts to elder Citizens 50% discounts to members of Armed forces. and legal and factory processes. All the interplay needs to converge to one number. Samasung. Value determination is the most crucial task of pricing strategy. Pricing is also an interface of different functions – marketing. Sony. An organization’s myriad costs (and processes) get converted to price and a customer’s value perception gets reduced to price. Bausch and Loub. Titan etc. Wrangler. As a part of its pricing strategy. Kenstar Home appliances. 40 . Oriflame. Place. VIP. It needs a well-coordinated organizational process to get to good strategy. ‘Price’ is the ultimate “transaction border point” between a corporation and its customer.
Last year. to commemorate.V is saleable for business and economy class full paying adult passengers buying tickets between 3 hrs. 41 .V 10% off on gross normal fares. Before the scheduled departure of the airlines flights. Stand by Fares With effect from 15th August 98 Sahara Airlines introduced the concept of stand by fares. 50 years of India’s independence and the completion of 20 years of the corporate success of Sahara India Parivar. On BomLKO/VNS/PAT on V. A special fare of 20% off on gross normal fares on all sectors except Bom-Lko/VNS/PAT on V. Sahara Airlines announced an “Anniversary offer”.
people physical evidence and process and of late another P relevant to the service industry has been added i. Pace. It may also have many firsts to its credit. It is striving to reach and attain newer heights in passenger care comfort. promotion.5% and dispatch reliability touches 99. organization controls that can be used to satisfy or communicate with the customers. the marketing strategy hinges around the marketing mix.e. While Indian Airlines excels in advertising cum media blitzkrieg and dissemination of information about the strength of the company in a dramatic and innovative manner to establish on emotional credible bond with the customer. which is defined as the elements. Though all the competitive airlines keep these bases Ps in mind while devising the marketing strategy but their stress varies and that is what gives them a distinct touch and enabling them to score over the others. 42 . Jet Airways prides itself on superior service both on the ground and in the air. reliability. It is also very brand conscious and has an emasculate young cabin crew supporting a yellow rose – an international symbol of friendship. Its on time performance has been consistently 97. price. safety and service.8%.COMPETITORS IN THE AIRLINES INDUSTRY MARKETING STRATEGY – AN OVERVIEW AND COMPARISON In service sector. It includes the 7 Ps which are product place. warmth and caring. Customer satisfaction is of prime importance to Sahara Airline.
Travel Award in 1998 for excellence India’s service as best 1997 for its Writers Association for best domestic airline for international marketing programme. Global Award at 2. domestic Airline (given Citibank by Diners standards of service in Indian sky. Grand Pacific Asia 1.3 AIRLINES AT A GLACE INDIAN AIRLINES JET AIRWAYS Birth : 1st August 5th May 1993 1953 Fleet : 57 aircrafts Destinations : 58 27 aircrafts 30 14 aircrafts 13 28 flights daily SAHARA AIRLINE 3rd Dec. Club Members) 2. WTM – World Travel 43 . 1993 Flight : 220 flights Over 155 flights daily daily Market Share : 58% Achievements : 1. Travel Award June in (PATA) Beijing Blue 27% 24% Moon 1. PATWA March Pacific 10th Area Award: 1997.
quality service.the Travel Market in 1998 for Market Global Award in 1997 for its quality of service within the Indian Airline Industry. 44 .
innovation. economies of scale – allow companies to focus their efforts internally and prosper. There are basically four primary factors which influence the perceptions of the services by the customers as can be seen in the diagram. Many of the historic sources of the company’s superiority – technology. all the technical superiority in the world will not bring success. Today. 45 . Therefore it is very important to understand the criteria customers use to evaluate services.CUSTOMER PERCEPTION Competitive changes are essential to all companies that engage in service marketing. internally focus is shifting to external focus on the customer. Companies are acknowledging that unless customer needs and their perceptions about ideal service are taken into account in designing and delivering service.
SERVICE ENCOUNTER EVIDENCE OF SERVICE PERCEPTIONS OF SERVICE VALUE SERVICE QUALITY CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IMAGE PRICE FACTORS INFLUENCING PERCEPTION OF SERVICE 46 .
customers search for evidence of service in every interaction they have with an organisation. The figure depicts the three major categories of evidence as experienced by the customer – people. the most vivid impression of service occurs in the service encounter or the ‘moment of truth’ when the customer interacts with the service firms. in-flight comforts etc. Contact employees Customer him/herself Other customer People Process Physical Evidence Tangible communication Service scope Guarantees Operational flow of activities Steps in process Flexibility Vs Standard 47 . For example among the service encounters.Service encounters From the customer’s point of view. Evidence of service Another major set of factors influencing the customer perceptions of services is referred to as evidence of service. process and physical evidence. Because the services are intangible. checking facility. an airline’s customer experience are booking of ticket.
fun. ingenuity. price is frequently relied on as a surrogate indicator that will influence quality expectation and perceptions. tradition. Technology Vs Human Technology EVIDENCE OF SERVICE Image Beyond impressions from the immediate service encounter and evaluations of service evidence. trustworthiness. customer perceptions can be influenced by the image and image and reputation of the organisation. particularly following consumption of service as to whether the benefits received were worth the cost of the service. Organisation image can be defined as perceptions of the organisation reflected in the associations held in customer’s memory. 48 . Price The price of the service can also greatly influence perceptions of quality. Because services are intangible and often difficult to judge before purchase. The price charged would also figure greatly into customer’s perception of value. length of time in business. reliability. satisfaction and value.number of flights per day. ease of access or they can be less concrete and even emotional such as excitement. The association can be very concrete such as history of operation .
CONCLUSION The healthy competition of domestic airlines has set new trends in the quality of service. In the monopolistic environment of Sahara Airlines the quality and the desire to win over the constraints was totally dismal. 49 . It is a matter of great significance that the airlines staff now care about the passenger comfort and take pains to see that the flight are on time. The high percentage 98% of on time service of Sahara Airlines is the hallmark of their quality of service. With the oncoming of Sahara Airlines there is change in the quality of service and the pride of the job.
3) The facility of valet services as introduced by Sahara Airlines should be adopted by all airlines and it should be extended to all classes. 7) There is a need to improve the quality of in-flight comfort especially for a economy class by way of seat pitch. Customer grievance and prompt redressal should also be rated as top priority as this will not only provide the necessary input and the feedback but also would go a long way in improving the image of the airlines. Wherever there is likely to be long cues more counters should be opened. 50 . leg room. which is a very painful experience for the travelers. quality and choice of food. should be attended to as top priority because the main clientage is businessmen and they are time bound. So Sahara airlines should emphasis on providing more efficient services both on the ground and in the air. 6) Delayed flight. 4) Tele reservation and computerised check-in procedure should mandatory for Sahara airlines. 5) The process of ticketing and cancellation should be made more easy. 2) The check-in time should be minimal.RECOMMENDATIONS 1) With the oncoming of the Private Airlines on the country the customer awareness and aspiration of quality of service has been enhanced considerably. smooth and as flawless as possible.
BIBLIOGRAPHY • • • • • Annual Report of Jet Airways . Sahara Airlines and Indian Airlines Press Release of Jet Airways. Sahara Airlines and Indian Airlines. Publicity material.nic. http://www. Web site.saharaairlines. Brochures.jetairways.in/indian-ailines Issues from Newspapers (Hindustan Times and Times of India) 51 . pamphlets of Jet Airways.com http://www.com http://www. Sahara Airlines and Indian Airlines.
Best a. 2. b. best .QUESTIONNAIRE Name Address Age Occupation Gender Ph. Good Better c. b. Best What can you say about Sahara airlines services for staff ? Good Better How would you rate safety measure taken by Sahara c. What can you say about Sahara airlines services for customers ? a. Good Better 52 c. 1. b. 3. No. airlines? a.
a. b. 9. b. Are you satisfied with the fares applied on flights ? yes b. No Is the tickets of flights easily available ? Yes b. no Is the company charging high taxes from customers? a. 8. dissatisfied a. so so d. Is the staff fully helping the customer ? Yes b. no What is the common problem face by the customers? Unhealthy meals Delay flight b. No 6. a.4. a. a. 7. Lost/damage baggage Customer’s overall rating to the Sahara airlines services. 5. 53 . Yes b. High charges d. Excellent Very good c.
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