AirAsia, the world’s best low cost airline for three consecutive years, is investing in more value-for-money experiences and value-added services for Vietnamese guests though it has held a firm stance in this growing market.
First-ever F1-themed roadshow
AirAsia has just completed the first round of an F1-themed roadshow in HCM City at the mid-town shopping mall Vincom on Le Thanh Ton Street and is now ready to excite shoppers at Crescent Mall on Nguyen Van Linh Boulevard in the new township of Phu My Hung in District 7 from June 22 to 24. The first-ever F1 roadshow in Vietnam presents visitors a chance to experience the thrilling moments of Formula One racing with the AirAsia Caterham F1 Simulator in place at the malls.
Visitors to the AirAsia F1 Roadshow will stand a chance to win AirAsia-sponsored flights, hotel rooms and tickets to watch and feel the Singapore Grand Prix 2012 in September, with two pairs of Grandstand tickets up for grabs. As an official partner of the Caterham F1 Racing Team, the carrier has brought the team’s car to Liberty centre Hotel at 179 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1 for display from Monday till Thursday this week.
Jasmine Lee, Commercial director of AirAsia Berhad, told the Daily in HCM City last week when AirAsia kicked off the experiential F1 roadshow that AirAsia wanted to use the roadshow as a springboard to promote the award-wining low-cost carrier to more locals and its spirit as very vibrant and fast-moving, particularly among young generations in Vietnam.
“AirAsia hopes to bring our young, fun and friendly brand further in Vietnam, apart from providing all our guests with five-star services on board at a very low cost. The airline aims to continue to grow the demand for air travel among the Vietnamese and create experiences,” Lee said.
She noted that the F1-themed roadshow was the first event of its kind that AirAsia has so far put on outside its hub Malaysia and Singapore.
In addition to the experience with the AirAsia Caterham F1 Simulator, visitors to the events will also have the opportunity to meet AirAsia’s friendly cabin crew, who are the backbone of AirAsia’s in-flight service on over 100 Airbus A320 aircraft flying across the region. On top of that, visitors to the roadshow at Crescent Mall will also be able to try Premium Seats of AirAsia X’s, which is the low-cost long haul affiliate of AirAsia.
“This move is part of our continuous effort to further extend the AirAsia travel experience to more Vietnamese and expat travellers. We always listen to our guests’ needs for adding more value in every flight and destination,” Lee said. She added that AirAsia and its affiliates would continue their best efforts to provide lowest fares, innovative products and services with the international experiences.
AirAsia has been a strong brand with leisure and business travellers, but Lee said the carrier was targeting more passengers of young and middle-class generations and tSTC who traveled by air for the first time. Therefore, AirAsia needs more marketing activities to create interest of guests and have more regular air travellers through sporting events. It is also of great help with the airline’s consumer-friendly products and services, comprising of low fares, a modern fleet, an extensive network and great flight frequencies, convenient booking and payment channels, choose-your-own features for meals, seats and baggage allowances.
Besides the Formula One racing, AirAsia has sponsored other games consisted of the MotorGP racing, football, basketball and badminton in and out of Asia. Lee said AirAsia was a young brand and sports were healthy and unified most young people compared to other activities. This is why the airline has engaged itself more in sporting events.
The other goal is to help train and create the Asian next generation stars because AirAsia believes in the talents in this region. Of course, the airline has got involved in different sports to make its name familiarise with their fans and welcome them on board its flights from the markets it serviced.
“Our major target markets are any markets, whether Vietnam or anywhere,” Lee said and underscored that AirAsia’s passenger portfolio were wide, from the high-end to mass markets.
Continuous growth in Vietnam
AirAsia commenced its service between Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi in 2006 and has since built air bridges linking other cities of Vietnam with Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia, Bangkok of Thailand and Jakarta of Indonesia, where its airline joint ventures are headquartered. Late last year, the carrier launched weekly flights to Danang – the commercial hub of central Vietnam.
Now, AirAsia offers some 60 weekly flights from the carrier’s key hubs in Asean to and from Hanoi, HCM City and Danang. But, the ‘Now everyone can fly’ carrier will never stop reaching out to more Vietnamese passengers, as Lee said the carrier was eyeing more destinations in Vietnam, including Nha Trang – a renowned tourist spot on the central coast of the country that is home to one of the world’s most beautiful bays.
AirAsia also plans to connect Vietnam and other destinations in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to bring more both leisure and business travellers to Vietnam. Also in the plan, which Lee and Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia, already touched on in interviews with the Daily, is to pursue and form a venture in Vietnam to further cash in on the potential of this fast-expanding market of more than 90 million people.
“Vietnam is big enough for many competitors,” Lee said when comparing Vietnam to other markets in the Asean bloc, including Indonesia, where there already exist multiple players. She emphasized that the more players were in a market, the better services customers enjoyed.
It is the vast air connectivity in the region that differentiates AirAsia from other no-frills carriers already active in Vietnam. “The biggest difference is AirAsia’s network. We have a very big-established network in Southeast Asia, Australia…, a disciplined business model and a very aggressive marketing campaign,” Lee said.
AirAsia has been able to build a lot of internal access for its registered base of around seven million customers who the airline does direct marketing to online, coupled with a very big base of social media and friends. That was a very big advantage of AirAsia from competitors, Lee said.
Like other markets, AirAsia will continue to make full use of its innovations and technology-supported travel services such as web and mobile bookings; no admin fees and social media platforms to promote the brand and attract more Vietnamese guests to the well-established flight connectivity of the carrier and its affiliates in Asean and with Australia’s cities, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and other destinations. The channels Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the carrier’s blog are also important to get customers’ feedbacks and communicate with them.
AirAsia is attempting to encourage all the check-ins online and assist passengers with this to save operation cost so that it can provide passengers with more low fares. Lee put the online check-in percentage at 50 percent at AirAsia when people bought the tickets, and the average online booking at 85 percent in markets, including Vietnam.
Lee said Vietnam promised a good future for AirAsia given a big base of middle-income class, more people opting for holidays abroad, plus the right time for a low-cost model, which the 11-year-old airline has very succeeded.
AirAsia has also established itself as the Truly Asean airline, with its unmatched connectivity in the region and its air routes that bridge the capitals and communities of Southeast Asia to each other and beyond. Since its debut as a low-cost carrier in late 2001, AirAsia has grown from 250 employees, two aircrafts and one destination to an Asean-wide Group with more than 11,500 employees, 106 aircraft and 77 destinations throughout 23 countries and territories. The airline has reported operational profitability from day one of its launch as a budget carrier.