The business case for air travel by people with disabilities
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The Business Case for Air Travel by People with Disabilities. Association for Airline Passenger Rights Conference December 10, 2013. Session Objectives. Take the guesswork out of how the airlines can target an untapped market and impact its bottom-line.

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The Business Case for Air Travel by People with Disabilities

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The Business Case for Air Travelby People with Disabilities

Association for Airline Passenger Rights Conference

December 10, 2013

Session Objectives

  • Take the guesswork out of how the airlines can target an untapped market and impact its bottom-line.

  • Attract and Retain Customers by Building Brand Loyalty through Over-the-Top Customer Service.

  • Move beyond ‘Risk Adversement Strategies’ and toward ‘Market Share Strategies’.

The Marketplace at a Glance

  • The global disability community exceeds the size of China and is worth $8 trillion.

  • In the United States has buying power of $461 billion and a consolidated purchasing power of more than $1 trillion.

  • 1 in 4 persons over age 50, and 1 in 2 persons over age 65 has a disability.

  • Four out of 10 people with disabilities conduct business and personal activities online, spending an average of 20 hours per week logged on to the Internet. That's more time on average than non-disabled Web surfers spend online.

  • According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics a total of 631,929,821 passengers boarded domestic flights in the U.S. in 2010. This averages to 1.73M passengers flying per day.

    Sources: Global Consumer Survey and the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.

What does this all mean?

People with disabilities are a very real market force:

  • The average price for a ticket in 2012 was $284.00*

  • Approximately 340,000 flying each day have a disability or need some sort of assistance

  • That translates to approximately $96M per day in revenue

    Why aren’t companies doing more to engage travelers with disabilities?

    Source: Airlines for America

Moving Beyond Compliance – Diversity and Inclusion

  • EEO/Affirmative Action laws of the 60s forerunners of were the were underpinnings for diversity and inclusion.

  • Trainings focused behavior, laws, and do’s and don’ts.

  • Little connection between changed behavior and impacting business.

  • Diversity and Inclusion became more prevalent in the late 80s and 90s.

  • Shift occurred because the demographics indicated that the composition of the workforce would consist of more minorities and women.

Moving Beyond Compliance – Diversity and Inclusion

  • As a means of competitive survival, companies had to shift their approach to create a work environment that allowed everyone to reach their fullest potential.

  • Multicultural marketing and speaking directly to consumers has become a necessity.

  • The shift in diversity, inclusion and multicultural marketing occurred when businesses linked their performance to changing behavior, their culture, practices, and strategy. Resulting in a diverse workforce and increased sales.

Where Should I Begin?

Build a Compelling Business Case

  • Monitor and track requests for accessibility services and products for the segment.

  • Use web metrics to measure consumer interest.

  • Secure C-suite support

    • Seek and ongoing commitment, with resources, rather than a “pilot project”

Your Marketing Message

  • Make sure you have done your research to ensure that your message resonates with consumers.

  • Promote what your company’s commitment to the market.

  • Since word of mouth is important in building credibility, begin campaign to build the know, like, trust with influencers.

Your Marketing Message

  • Your choice of advertising and promotional images is a very important part of your marketing message.

  • Consumers want to see themselves reflected in the organizations and businesses they support.

  • Consumers with disabilities can quickly distinguish a community member from a non-disabled model or actor.

  • Angela Rockwood- model for Nordstrom. Star of the “Push Girls” on the Sundance Channel.

Target Your Efforts

Event Marketing

  • Abilities Expo

  • One of several events that focus on consumers with disabilities. Others include:

  • Deaf Nation

  • National Federation for the Blind- Annual Convention

  • The Paralympics

Print Media

  • Magazines and other print media provide marketers with an opportunity to position products and services before well informed consumers.

  • Provides newcomers with a better understanding of the issues, views, and concerns of the segment.

Web-based Marketing

  • AT&T Accessibility Resources:

  • Centralizes AT&T offers for consumers with disabilities.

  • Appeals to consumers as valued segment.

  • Establishes the commitment of the brand.

Social Media

  • We get many questions about how to leverage social media to reach the market. While social media are valuable and powerful tools, there are things to consider:

  • Consumers with disabilities have been in this space for a long time!

  • Powerful tool for reaching out to and hearing from consumers.

  • Success is defined a little differently – greater focus on building a relationship rather than simply building a followership, likes, views, etc.

  • Engage, engage, engage!

Social Media

  • Autism Speaks at a Glance:

  • 1.1 million likes

  • Active engagement

  • Responsive to consumers and partners

  • Choose your channels wisely!

  • Efforts should meet consumers where they are and where content can be accessed.

What SMG has learned about the Market

  • Technology isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

  • Most people with disabilities receive information from peers, conferences and events.

  • WOM is the most credible form of marketing to this segment.

  • Consumers want customer service staff with understanding to address their specific needs.

  • Consumers favorably view companies that target them.

  • Consumers want companies to target them in a meaningful way by employing people, strengthening customer service, placing product information in an easy-to-find format.

  • Families with kids who have disabilities want companies to provide seamless experiences for their family.

What SMG has learned about Successful Companies

  • It takes just one person.

  • Intention is critical.

  • Dedicate staff resources to manage integrated disability strategy.

  • Develop beta testing groups, advisory panels or conduct market research for product development.

  • Walk and talk alignment.

  • View the market as a business and not a charity.

  • Create metrics with measureable results.

  • To master reaching the market, the company must understand the nuances.

Differentiating Your Products Through Accessibility and Exceptional Customer Service

The Marketplace at a Glance

  • Gender: Globally, women control 91 percent of home purchases, 65 percent of the new cars, 80 percent of health care choices, and 66 percent of computers.

  • Age: Baby Boomers make up $3.2 billion in spending power and are aging into retirement; they continue to be the largest market segment, but their needs are changing.

    • While Baby Boomers needs are changing, they do not consider themselves disabled and do not associate themselves with the disability community.

  • Ability: Of the nearly 70 million families in the United States, more than 20 million have a member with a disability.

    • People with disabilities have over $220B in discretionary income.

  • Consumer Expectations: Consumers prefer to purchase from reputable brands that are environmentally and socially responsible and address them as valued consumers.

    Sources: U.S. Census, Accenture Global Consumer Survey 2010

Beyond Window Dressing

  • A great marketing campaign will only get you so far…

  • Loyalty and willingness to recommend your company to others only comes from an excellent customer experience.

  • If a potential customer has difficulty using your product or cannot reach you to use your service, what’s the point?

Successful Company Case Studies

  • OXO

  • Scandic Hotels

Case Study: OXO

  • OXO Good Grips Products was founded by Sam Farber after watching his wife, Betsy, who has arthritis, struggle with traditional kitchen utensils.

    • The first utensils were introduced in 1990

    • Sam believed that utilizing Universal Design concepts was key in making products that served a larger audience, including those with disabilities.

    • OXO consistently utilizes focus groups and conducts utilization observation studies that include people of various abilities to ensure their products are not only innovative, but can be used by the largest consumer base possible.

    • This is inclusion at it’s best.

Case Study: OXO

  • OXO continues to gain market share, while charging premium pricing for their innovative products.

  • OXO products proved to be recession proof; as other companies were struggling to gain consumers, OXO was growing at a rate of 11%, according to Bloomberg.

  • OXO continues to find new and innovative ways to leverage its philosophy of Universal Design to differentiate itself and continue growth beyond its original market.

    • OXO successfully introduced office supplies in a partnership with Staples.

    • OXO partnered with UCB to develop more user-friendly syringes.

    • OXO recently introduced children’s school supplies.

    • OXO has over 850 products in the market.

OXO’s Philosophy

Case Study: Scandic Hotels

  • Scandic Hotels, based in Sweden, first opened their doors in 1968.

  • Growth occurred at a steady rate, however, the company experienced periods of difficulty, as most hospitality providers have.

  • In 2003, Scandic Hotels established an Accessibility Ambassador, Magnus Berglund, an employee, who had recently become disabled, to examine how Scandic could better serve a greater population of guests.

  • Since 2003, Scandic Hotels has won numerous awards for sustainability, as well as increased bookings.

  • They have expanded their portfolio across Europe and continue to grow.

Case Study: Scandic Hotels

  • What did Scandic Hotels do differently?

    • They worked with various disability groups to build a 110 point accessibility standard that addresses everything from parking to room usage.

    • Every new hotel acquisition must have these points implemented within three months of purchase.

    • They actively communicate their philosophy of ensuring all guests are comfortable in their hotels across all touchpoints.

    • They utilize all forms of media, both traditional and digital to ensure that they reach the broadest possible audience.

      • Bloggers have been a tremendous source of publicity for the hotel chain.

    • Their sales teams actively sell the benefits of their universal design, thus bringing in groups of all sizes and abilities.

Case Study, Scandic Hotels

Common Aspects of These Successful Companies

  • These successful companies:

    • Believe that they are in business to serve their customers first

    • Promote ingenuity and innovation both in their products and internal hiring and retention practices

    • Believe that every idea has merit, and every person has value

    • Continually examine their products and services to ensure that they can be utilized by the largest audience

    • Engage with their end users to build excellent consumer experiences

    • Ensure that all of their consumer touchpoints are accessible to all.

  • They all reap the rewards of increased sales growth and notoriety for their brand.

  • Their philosophy is not a mystery, but the implementation of it requires foresight and dedication.

Building Differentiation Through Product Design

  • Examine product usability

    • Take a genuine look at your product/service from a variety of viewpoints.

    • Ensure services are fully examined and tested by a variety of users, including those with disabilities prior to launch.

    • Encourage feedback on your products and services from the disability community.

    • Actively use disability advisors to examine all of your customer touchpoints to ensure consistency, e.g., call center, e-commerce, service/repair, brick/mortar retail.

    • Engage your employees, including those with disabilities, to help craft the best products and service experience possible.

Building Differentiation Through Product Design and Customer Service

  • Examine Customer Service

    • Ensure all of your employees are trained, not just on compliance, but on best practices for customer service to all

    • Share your policies and practices with a disability advisor who can identify unintended pitfalls that would exclude people with disabilities

    • Be sure that all of your consumer touchpoints, including call center, website, partner travel sites, service, etc. are accessible by all

Transforming the Business to be a Differentiator – Next Steps

  • Establish the vision and mission for inclusion.

  • Work with your product development teams to:

    • Instill a discipline around inclusion

    • Make it part of the process

  • Don’t just train your front line employees on compliance

    • Communicate your vision and mission for inclusion

    • Explain the benefits to them in ways that they can understand and embrace; it’s not just about the “law”

Transforming the Business to be a Differentiator – Next Steps

  • Establish the vision and mission for inclusion.

  • Work with your product development teams to:

    • Instill a discipline around inclusion

    • Make it part of the process

  • Don’t just train your front line employees on compliance

    • Communicate your vision and mission for inclusion

    • Explain the benefits to them in ways that they can understand and embrace; it’s not just about the “law”

Transforming the Business to be a Differentiator – Next Steps

  • Assess every possible touchpoint to ensure accessibility to all:

    • Website

    • Call Center

    • Service/Repair

    • POS

    • Sales Teams

  • Communicate your vision and mission every chance you get.

  • Ensure that your partners know your philosophy and can seamlessly deliver your promise to the community.

  • Establish relationships within the disability community to assist with assessments that drive continued excellence.

Why the disability market?

For You

  • What’s the gap between what you’re doing and where you would like to be?

  • What is the first thing that comes to mind when you consider interacting with a person with a disability?

  • What do you want to come to mind? 

  • What do you think is important regarding people with disabilities as employees, guests and consumers?

    For Your Company

  • What happens when your company considers targeting, serving, employing people with disabilities? 

  • What do you want to happen when your company considers targeting, serving, and employing people with disabilities?  

  • What are your internal stakeholders biggest objections about disability marketing, employment and customer service? 

  • What benefits does your company gain with an integrated disability marketing, customer service and employment strategy?

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