This past week I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Chicago to visit a few advertising and public relations agencies while also spending a little time exploring the Windy City. During my trip I found myself thinking critically about possible opportunities for brands to become more intertwined with people's travel experiences. Here are just a few ideas that dawned on me:
As I spent time cruising +30,000 feet in the air, I, like many other travelers before me, began skimming through the in-flight magazines. The various issues I have viewed over my travels have never genuinely grabbed my interest, however they were always something to fidget with and divert my attention to in order to speed up each flight experience. After 5 minutes of looking at pretty pictures of landscapes and laughing at weird contraptions in the SkyMall, I found myself putting the magazines back in the seat pocket and returning to thumb-twiddling.
Usually, I'm a better planner and bring my own book to read throughout my flight, however this time I was left with 2 hours of regret and repeated awkward elbow bumps with my neighboring passenger. Luckily much like those bumps, the idea hit me.
Airline companies, like Southwest Airlines, should consider implementing partnerships with book publishing companies like Perseus Book Group. Southwest each month could feature new books of emerging authors being published by Perseus Book Group. Perseus and its authors would receive exposure with some of Southwest's 12 million monthly onboard customers. Southwest's passengers would receive a pleasant, traditional form of entertainment and might possibly discover a new author they enjoy.
Possible Considerations: The increase in readers on flights could lead to a reduction in wifi users and blood-pressures of pilots who are angry that none of us actually use airplane mode.
As I was headed to Illinois, my initial flight went through Dallas, because Will Rogers Airport is funny like that sometimes. My second flight was departing shortly after my first one landed and I was really wanting to buy an overpriced airport burger, however the line for Whataburger was quite lengthy.
On campus I would usually avoid this issue by using my Tapingo app, but after further inspection I was upset to find that the app was not being used by the restaurants and shops in the airport. I didn't get my patty melt, but I got a big juicy idea.
The immediate intuition is to first establish Tapingo's presence in the airports across the U.S. This a no-brainer. However, as my companion Chelsea Dornan pointed out to me, the next consideration might not be so innate. Tapingo's ordering service would be ideal for different travelers to use when heading from one flight to another, but I believe there is an even more interesting service that could be modified creatively: delivery. Instead of walking to a restaurant and picking up an order from the Tapingo app, a passenger could possibly have the meal waiting at their next gate. How the meal would arrive to the gate can and should be further investigated.
With this appetizing partnership, airports would receive more efficient traffic through their food services and would possibly reduce the amount of missed flights. One of the eight most common reasons someone misses a flight is because they didn't have enough time to get to the plane before departure.
Possible Considerations: Moderation of thieves preying on different terminals. Possibly utilize a verification code system at each pick-up destination.
I have found that after a long day of flying and consuming peanuts and ginger ale, the aroma of my mouth is not quite cordial. Maybe I have moderate halitosis or maybe I just might be on to something.
As was pointed out in Daniel Engber's Slate Article, hotels, apart from the Hyatt, simply do not offer free toothpaste to their guests. The eighteen North American hotel executives interviewed for that article listed low demand as their reasoning. However, they also mentioned that since fellow competitors were not providing the amenity and that hotel ratings don't include it in their ranking system, then they personally shouldn't stand apart and offer it either. With this consideration, I guess it is the hotel industry, not myself, that should apologize for my inevitable dirty mouth because...what the hell is that reasoning?
To deliberately stand out from competitors I suggest different hotels, possibly the Hilton, begin partnering with lesser-known toothpaste companies like Rembrandt. The toothpaste company would be able to introduce itself to a market like Hilton's and have their product be introduced to roughly +40 million guests per year.
Hilton would get better customer reviews and possibly start a new trend for hotel rating systems.
Possible Considerations: Start in the U.S. then expand globally. Do additional focus groups on whether guests would appreciate this service.
Other ideas were sure to have entered my mind during my interesting rides on the L through Chicago, but these were the ones that made it through the retention test. The companies mentioned in this article are free to take these golden nuggets, though they probably weren't going to ask for the permission anyways. However, I give these brands this information willingly in hopes that my travel experience is that much more enjoyable and efficient.
Plus my girlfriend didn't appreciate the bad breath.