A Travel Upgrade I Could Really Go For!
Touching down in an exciting holiday destination is exciting in its own right. Imagine disembarking from your plane and being showered with the royal treatment–hobnobbing with celebrities, tossing back signature cocktails, and devouring top-shelf nosh. And, did I also mention participating in a Youtube video that has enjoyed over 1.6 million views?
Sounds like quite an impressive travel upgrade, doesn’t it? And the best part is, it came as a complete surprise.
This is exactly what a plane-load of unsuspecting Westjet travelers experienced as they landed in Las Vegas from Toronto. Comedian, Carrot Top, invited them to disembark to either the red carpet which led to the humdrum baggage carousel or the blue carpet which promised to be the much more exciting option. As “The Ultimate Las Vegas Upgrade” explains, those that chose blue were taken to a private airplane hangar filled with an assortment of the city’s top talent including Jabbawockeez, Terry Fator, Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil, Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger, and Mixologist Mariena Mercer.
Surely, a lavish event like this involves a great deal of planning, coordinating, and expense. Why, then, would a company such as Westjet embark on such a monumental endeavor?
Enamored Customers = Loyal Customers
Let’s face it. If someone provides you with an awesome evening of food, drink, and outstanding entertainment FOR FREE, you will likely develop positive feelings towards them. Westjet knows this. By rolling out the red–or in this case blue carpet–these lucky travelers were made to feel valued. The next time they are booking a trip, they are far more likely to fly Westjet than any other airline. After all, they not only feel a certain degree of loyalty towards this bestower of good will, but they may even feel a tad bit indebted to them. And, one cannot forget the awesome word-of-mouth that this event has generated either.
Media Attention Garnered
Every company dreams of creating a positive media stir and, thanks to surprise events such as this one, WestJet has become a YouTube sensation. And that’s valuable publicity for the brand.
In 2012, the company surprised the Calgary airport with the WestJet Christmas Flash Mob, which has yielded 1.6 million views, and in 2013 their Christmas Miracle: Real-Time Giving achieved over 42 million views. Through this “Surprise Series,” WestJet has been able to foster a brand image associated with fun and generosity–and these positive attributes have been witnessed by millions.
Working Alliances Formed
WestJet has the prestigious honor of carrying more passengers to Vegas than any other airline. As such, it was able to partner up with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to make this event happen. With the LVCVA providing the entertainment free of charge and lending its tagline “What happens here, stays here,” it was truly a joint effort that will benefit both parties. And, thanks to this close relationship with the LVCVA, WestJet will likely continue to be a valued member of the Vegas travel community.
While fostering brand loyalty, receiving media attention, and developing working relationships are all significant outcomes, the whole point of any marketing endeavor is to see an increase in business and, of course, profits. According to “WestJet Hopes to Hit the Internet Jackpot With New Stunt,” the “Christmas Miracle: Real-Time Giving” campaign resulted in 77 percent more bookings and an increased revenue of 86 percent. Those are some great numbers.
Will WestJet continue its tradition of surprising unsuspecting travelers? Only time will tell. But you can count on many people choosing WestJet “just in case.”
What would you have asked WestJet’s Santa Claus for?