The Internet has grown in leaps and bounds over the last two decades. There have been a lot of activities over the Internet in the last twenty years promoted by the fast way of introduction of new technologies over the Internet. The Internet is very fast and this has led to the coming of new applications over the Internet. These applications have not been standardized to enable them to communicate with each other. Each vendor comes up with their products without caring how they will communicate with other products from the other producers. This is an area that has not been looked into in the use of the Internet. The Internet has a lot of potential for opportunities that have not been utilized on the Internet. This paper will look into how Saudi Airlines has invested in the use of the Internet in marketing their services and how this has helped them stay ahead of their competition.
Saudi Airlines is a company that was started in 1945 with a small airplane, DC-3 Dakota. It has grown to become the largest airline in the world with up to 150 airlines. This company has come a long way in its quest to modernize its operations and fleet management. There has been a lot of research on the needs and requirements that were to be done for the company to optimize its operations. The modernization plan is inclusive of 50 airbus and 320 aircraft. This is beside the additional Boeing 787 aircraft which have been purchased and leased (Onkvisit, & Shaw, 2004). The modernization has placed this airline company ahead of its competition. There have been projects which include e-ticketing systems and online reservations systems. Today, this company is the pride of Saudi Arabia and is the company of choice for most people.
One of the strengths of Saudi Airlines is the fact that they have information systems in place that are putting them ahead of other airline companies. In the year 2007, IATA gave an order that all airlines should use electronic ticketing systems and only a few countries heeded this call (Roin, 2009). It was only Saudi Airlines that had these e-systems in place and so they were considered as the most efficient airlines then, and even now. Another strength is the fact that there is the purchase of aircraft which are constructed using the latest technologies for the comfort of the travelers. This move was taken to counter the previous complaints by travelers using the old aircraft. This move enables the company to pro over their competition and allows them to deploy information systems over wide geographical areas. Analytical skills and research performed by the members of Saudi Airlines and employees give them strengths.
One of the weaknesses of the company includes the fact that they have a poor marketing strategy and hence winning customer loyalty is hard for them. Even though they have a wide infrastructure, their marketing is still lurking behind the competition and it is here that the competitors take advantage. One key thing in this industry is winning the loyalty of the customers and with the strategies employed by this company, it is hard to beat the competition without employing advanced information systems in place. In addition to this, there is poor knowledge of simulation software by the employees and the move of the employees from Saudi Airlines makes it difficult to retain the knowledge from the employees.
The threats of this company are internal and include the fact that the type of leadership in this company is wanting. Internal threats are seen in the type of management where it is centralized and bureaucratic which makes their decision-making process poor (Geon, 2009). In addition to this, the company’s neglect of the national problems is worrying because most of the problems that arise in this industry come from global space. The global problems offer tremendous threats if they are neglected. Another threat is the rapid changes in technologies and the behavior of the customers. The wrong interpretation of this is a threat.
The airline industry has a lot of opportunities. There is the availability of many services and products which will be an opportunity for the company if it utilizes this correctly (Stensgaard, 2007). There are global changes that can make a good opportunity for the company to tap into them. The use of virtual reality in Saudi Airlines is a good opportunity so that the company can benefit from sharing resources throughout the company. Furthermore, the current trends in technology provide ample opportunities to the various business domains to Saudi Airlines. The use of the current trends is an opportunity that the company can be proud of. It is worth noting that if taken for granted, opportunities can be a source of threats to the company.
One of the Internet strategies that this company is putting in place is their selling of tickets on their website which the clients can have access to. Although this strategy is not yet at par with companies like Cathay Pacific Airways, it is one of the fastest products of the company and is gaining popularity fast. There have been online promotions where the company has been giving away more than 100 free flights between Saudi Arabia and the UK as part of its first marketing initiative. There is the use of Galileo GDS which permits the airline to examine the online and offline total travel distribution. With this capability, Saudi Airlines will now be able to sell more tickets effectively by use of Galileo’s wide range of exposure to agent locations. With this, sales will be increased tremendously because travel agents which have Galileo connectivity will be having new opportunities through the new content which is available directly on their desktops (Mahmood, 2000). In addition to this, Saudi Airlines has outsourced contact center services which will provide travel agents with general information like sales, inquiries, and assistance for customer service throughout the day in a very efficient manner.
Saudi Airlines have also partnered with various hotels, car rental agencies, villas, and apartment for their passengers to get efficient accommodation. This was effectively incorporated into their website as one of the many conveniences of clients traveling with Saudi Arabia. Passengers will now not bother with their accommodation like in any other airline.
The management is keen on the online forms sent by their clients regarding their services and although they are may not reply to all the replies from the clients, but they make sure that all the grievances of the clients are attended to.
Saudi Airlines have developed a business Center where it is a strategic e-strategy for their business model. It has improved the IT capabilities, reduced the costs to Saudi Arabian customers. The partners in this project are IMB and SBM because they can meet high-end technology requirements with the Websphere e-business platform and they have the expertise and resources to meet this (Geon, 2009). The WebSphere of BM is open and has the advantage that it is supported by a large number of third-party vendors which is a debatable issue in the decision was making process.
Saudi Airlines has the largest market integration systems in the Middle East. Their unique approach towards integration has given them a chance to move forward in their marketing strategies. The WebSphere technology has enabled them to integrate the new technologies with the existing platforms without the need to isolate hardware or software and also provides full integration with existing systems where backend systems are supported.
Saudi Airlines are the first one of their kind to introduce an enhanced consolidated customer portal, a mobile business using SMS, wireless computing, and WAP have all integrated well to put this airline company ahead of the competition. What is more, with enterprise Web content management properly in place, there is much that the competition has to do to outdo this company.
In conclusion, the strategies that have been laid down by the management of the airline are there to stay. There is still a lot to be desired from this venture where a lot of changes are expected to be rolled out.
The current situation of the market of this airline is evident through the launching of new customer ports in partnership with IBM technology stance which have recognition of the development of software as well as customer patterns to provide integration with the systems used for customer processes. With a record of 6.1% in revenue growth by the use of Internet strategies, it is clear that the strategies for marketing that use the Internet have worked for this company.
Geon, J 2009, Sample research proposal on the case of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Web.
Mahmood, M 2000, Impacts of Information technology investment on organizational marketing performance, JIMS, Vol. 16 Issue 4, pp. 1-16, Web.
Onkvisit, S Shaw, J 2004, International marketing: analysis and strategy, Routledge.
Roin, K 2009, Strategies in Saudi Arabia, Web.
Stensgaard, A 2007, Saudi Arabian Airlines launches ebusiness centre using sophisticated IBM technology, Web.