Strategic Marketing Plan – Emirates Airlines

Executive Summary

Emirates Airlines is a United Arab Emirates (UAE) based airline company, offering the service of domestic and international flights. This proposal examines the critical offering of Emirates, the demand for its services, and the value the organization provides to its customers. The main idea of this strategic marketing plan is to increase sales for domestic and international travel, develop a better economy-class value proposition, introduce new destinations, and explore the possibility of expanding to other segments within the transportation industry. This strategic marketing plan outlines critical elements that will help Emirates Airlines thrive and develop as a well-established domestic and international air travel brand.

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Introduction

Emirates Airlines is an air travel business, owned by the government of the UAE. It began its operations in 1985 and is currently the largest and most successful airline company in the country. Emirates can leverage its existing air travel services by increasing air ticket sales. Additionally, it can develop a better offer for economy-class travelers. To achieve diversification, the airline can examine the possibility of expanding its operations towards other elements of the transportation industry, such as the railway. This proposal presents a strategic marketing plan for Emirates using an assessment of its existing services, demand, and Anxoff Matrix and offers an option for strategic development.

Marketing Proposal

Firstly, some background information about Emirate Airlines and its current and past strategic marketing objectives should be presented, as well as services offered by this organization. The brand was established in 1985, and since then, it has been working in the airline industry with a fleet of 270 and 159 travel destinations (“About Us,” n.d.). The leading service offered by the company is airline travel, with the focus on developing innovational first-class air travel options. From 2018 till 2019, this airline provided its services to 59 million people globally (“About Us,” n.d.). Since Emirates is state-owned, its primary mission is to connect international travelers through the airline hub in Dubai.

Objectives

The main aim of this strategic marketing plan is to increase the value of services that Emirates offers and, by doing so, increase the profits of this business. Kotler and Keller (2018) highlight some of the critical objectives of marketing, which is creating value for the consumer. Moreover, this marketing plan aims to help Emirates further expand as a brand with loyal customers and increase its value by increasing demand and leveraging intangible assets.

Currently, Emirates uses the Emirates Skywards loyalty program to retain and rewards its customers (“About Us,” n.d.). The main elements that make the airline’s brand recognizable are its logo, corporate colors, and the uniform of the brand representatives, more specifically, crew members. These are elements of the internal environment that aid in the marketing efforts of Emirates.

This strategic marketing plan is developed for the primary offering of Emirates – the service of airline transportation for domestic and international travel. The company began its operations in 1985 in Dubai, and its main hub since its establishment has been the Dubai International Airport (“About Us,” n.d.). The current demand state of Emirate services is irregular, which is standard for the airline industry. Emirates is known for its approach to providing air travel services – the company often offers innovative solutions, which is not common in the airline industry. The consumer market is the focus of Emirates, meaning that the company sells its services to the general public and people traveling for business purposes.

Elements of Strategic Marketing

The needs of consumers that choose air travel and Emirates Airlines, in particular, are fast and efficient travel. Notably, this may include elements such as comfort and superior service for first-class clients and efficiency with low prices for business and economy travelers. It is hypothesized, based on evidence from the research by Oancea (2016), Bose (2018), and Logothetis, and Miyoshi (2018), that customers want to use air travel more frequently, which requires a competitive pricing strategy from Emirates and high connectivity from airlines they use.

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The demand for services is seasonal, while the target market is travelers from Europe, Asia, and the Arabic Gulf. The positioning of Emirates is a first-class service and comfortable air travel it provides. In general, Emirates offers value in the form of first-class, business, and economy travel services.

Analysis of Emirates’ Environment

The broad environment incorporates the UAE market and its demographic, political, and legal elements, as well as the international market. In general, the Emirates services are tailored towards a broad scope of travelers, including people traveling on business, and individuals interested in holiday-related trips. Concerning the legal environment, since Emirates is state-owned, it does not experience any constraints. Based on this claim, one can argue that Emirates operates in an environment that enables growth and development. However, it is also highly competitive. Additionally, the external environment in which Emirates Airways operate can be described as follows:

“UAE is one of the most dynamic aviation markets in the world, with three world-class airports, including the busiest airport of the world; millions of passengers traveling through these airports and many highly competitive local and international airlines operating from here” (Bose, 2018, p. 22).

In terms of the task environment, Emirates supports its service provider with several additional features such as an educational facility for pilots and crew members, which allows it to train the workforce according to company standards. Since in services-driven industries, the personnel is the key element of delivering value to consumers, this approach allows addressing key needs of Emirates.

Ansoff Matrix

Table 1 displays an assessment of core elements that are incorporated into this strategic marketing plan for Emirates Airways based on the Ansoff Matrix. The market penetration strategy emphasizes the focus on increasing sales with the services and other offerings that Emirates currently has. The main objective within this domain is to increase the sales of the tickets for existing destinations, both regarding domestic and international travel. Current trends of air travel and passenger preferences suggest that this can be accomplished since the development of airlines in the UAE “has altered traffic flows” (O’Connel & Bueno, 2018, p. 257). Emirates can further leverage this by offering more flights from destinations within the Arabian Gulf, which is the area that experiences the most rapid expansion in regards to air travel.

Next, from the product development perspective, Emirates can develop new products or air travel services for the existing market. Bose (2018) argues that “intense competition has forced all the airlines operating from UAE to continuously become more innovative and best in service delivery” (p. 21). One example is Emirate’s first-class offering with a shower and other amenities and superior service. This proposal offers Emirates to continue developing its existing products, but focusing on the expansion of economy-class services. The main idea is that Emirates can increase the number of passengers that travel via air if it offers more affordable services.

This is supported by evidence from Oancea (2018), who argues that many airlines globally aim to focus on economy class development because of commoditization and the overall development of commercial aviation. Next, to increase loyalty, Emirates should further develop its loyalty program Emirates Skywards, by introducing features for economy-class travelers such as discounts and special offers.

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The market development section addresses the possibility of Emirates entering a new market, apart from the existing ones, with the services it currently provides. In the context of airline travel, this can mean expanding the scope of operations and introducing flights to other countries. In the matrix, it is suggested that Emirates introduces five new destinations to enable its market expansion. The airline can focus on critical international destinations in Europe and Asia.

Finally, the diversification method is the combination of a new market and a new product approach, which is the riskiest strategy out of the four presented in the matrix and can be challenging for Emirates to carry out. One of the issues that companies face is their flawed focus on a single product or service within a segment of an industry where their business operates, instead of a broader outlook. Emirates provides air travel services, meaning that it operates in the transportation industry. Following the stated hypothesis, the company should explore the possibility of introducing other forms of transportation to its clients, more specifically, leverage the developing railway system in the UEA to propose different ways of traveling to its customers.

Products
Existing New
Markets Existing Market penetration
  • Increase air travel ticket sale for the domestic market by 5%
  • Improve the sales of international air travel sales by 2%
  • Increase the sales of first-class air tickets by 10%
Product development
  • Introduce new features to the Emirates Skywards loyalty program
  • Develop the economy-class service
New Market development
  • Introduce flights to 5 new destinations in Asia and Europe
Diversification
  • Develop a strategy for expanding into other travel-related industries
  • Focus on the railway industry as a potential new market

Table 1. Ansoff Matrix for Emirate Airlines (created by the author).

Benchmarks and Metrics

To determine whether the strategic marketing plan offered in this paper is successful, it is necessary to introduce metrics and criteria based on which this success is going to be measured by Emirate Airlines. Table 1 includes some critical metrics for the market penetration strategy, such as an increase in ticket sales by 5% for the domestic market and by 2% for the international market. For other categories of the strategic plan, the primary metric is the development of a plan and an introduction of a new service of flight destination.

Summary and Conclusion

In summary, this strategic marketing plan for Emirate Airlines outlines the key objectives of the airline’s operations and the focus of future marketing efforts. Based on the four dimensions of the Ansoff matrix, it is suggested that Emirates should focus on increasing its sales for domestic and international travelers through discounts and other offers. Additionally, the company should focus on expanding its economy-class services by introducing new products. By adding new destinations, Emirates will be able to achieve market development, and by leveraging the developing railway system in UAE, it will diversify the value it offers.

References

About us. (n.d.). Web.

Bose, I. (2018). The strategic environment of the aviation industry in UAE: A case study on Etihad Airways. IIUM Journal of Case Studies in Management, 9(1), 21-27.

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Kotler, P. & Keller, K. L., (2018). Marketing management (15th ed.). London, United Kingdom: Pearson.

Logothetis, M., & Miyoshi, C. (2018). Network performance and competitive impact of the single hub – A case study on Turkish Airlines and Emirates. Journal of Air Transport Management, 69, 215-223. Web.

O’Connell, J., & Bueno, O. (2018). A study into the hub performance Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways and their competitive position against the major European hubbing airlines. Journal of Air Transport Management, 69, 257-268. Web.

Oancea, O. (2016). Challenges of pricing luxury in commercial aviation – Will first class disappear? Journal of Revenue And Pricing Management, 17(4), 296-300. Web.

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