Dear, airlines: online marketing works in other waysNews / OnlineBy Viewpoints | February 20, 2017Share This article was originally published on Airlines want to be an intrinsic part of a trip - part of the experience, the saying goes, not just the functional bit that gets you somewhere.But do they leave and breathe that new mantra?NB: This is an analysis by Matt Walker, chief storyteller for LikeWhere.We recently asked a variety of demographics a very simple question:Has your airline ever helped you with a recommendation relating to things you might like in a new city?Some 17% of respondents said "Yes" and three-quarters of these cited an airline’s in-flight magazine as being helpful by way of recommendations in-destination.Meanwhile, 31% of respondents said "No".These respondents had not found any recommendation made by an airline to be helpful with regards to a new destination.This is cause for concern. The recommendations are evidently lacking relevancy.However, the real tragedy is 52% of respondents said that this statement did not apply to them.Whether for one reason or another, this group of respondents do not expect airlines to have anything meaningful to say beyond the jetway. Not a single airline marketing effort registers with this last group of respondents.We all know airlines are making recommendations, simply check an airline’s website, social media, brochures or in-flight magazine. Or, check your spam (ouch).There is an obvious disconnect that marketers are trying to overcome.It is difficult to create content on a daily basis, especially when the content is judged by its impact. It’s like when a client asks you to create a viral video for a product.We know how many variables there are for content or a product to trend and take on a momentum of its own.And, regardless of how many times one has read The Tipping Point, there is no guaranteed method.Nevertheless, there are good guidelines available. Here's a simple piece of advice: don’t try to start a new conversation; join an existing one.What are travellers talking about?Some datapoints to consider, when asking yourself the above question: 42% of all Facebook posts are apparently related travel.87% of Millennials use social media to provide inspiration for their next trip and few (if any) are searching and sharing around airline punctuality, luggage and safety. So, why do airlines still market these as benefits?Delivering a traveller safely from A to B with their luggage in the prescribed time frame is the minimum viability required to enter the air travel market, not a unique selling proposition.An airline can only distinguish itself with regards to punctuality, luggage care, and safety by failing to provide them.In a digital world where every moment is a potential tweet, post, or Instagram, the social currency is the experience, and there are only two kinds of conscious experience: positive and negative.There are many experiences we take for granted, that largely go unnoticed. These only register if minimum expectations are not met. For example, you become conscious of breathing when the air becomes toxic. Luggage only becomes a conscious experience when it doesn’t arrive.Punctuality becomes a conscious experience in a late arrival.Safety becomes a conscious experience when it is breached. Airlines have to work hard to deliver these, but need to talk about what their customers are talking about: the destination.NB: This is an analysis by Matt Walker, chief storyteller for LikeWhere.