Sunday, June 1, 2008

Turn your weaknesses into strengths #2

Waiting at the gate in airport terminals while your flight is delayed is more the norm than the exception now. While you're waiting for your flight, you're getting pissed off at the airline for failing to do its job. Meanwhile, the airlines are cutting service, adding to your cost, etc. Seems like a broken business.

So why not turn the weakness of making you wait, into a strength?

What if the airlines offered entertainment at the gate? Movies are easy and not a bad idea. But why not take it a step further? What if they offered lectures, concerts... They know who is flying on their planes. If they collected a bit more info they might know if an author, lecturer, business guru, poet, musician, etc. was waiting for a flight at a particular gate. They could have people who belong to their mileage club fill in their interests (what they would like to be entertained with) and their areas of expertise (how they can entertain others). They could then match people who have entertainment to offer with people who are looking for a specific form of entertainment. Entertainers could be induced to participate by offering them a free flight.

If I showed up at the gate and found my flight was delayed but got to listen to a brief concert or hear a comedian, I wouldn't be as annoyed.

They could take this even further by offering related items for sale. For example, strike a deal with iTunes so that if a concert is played at the gate, related songs could be purchased on the spot via a coded card. Or Amazon could have a similar deal to sell books.

There are probably many ideas that could work. The point is that I'm sitting around feeling mad. Find a way to turn that idle time which degrades your brand equity into value-added time for me which enhances your brand equity.

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