US$12M advertising 'investment' brings big returns for CAL
Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has spent just over US$12,000,000 on marketing initiatives in under four years as it continues to focus on improving its passenger and ancillary services.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert defended the big spend in Parliament on Friday, noting that the investment has seen results in the form of profitable returns.
He revealed that CAL spent US$12,076,834 on promotions, advertisements, marketing and sponsorship in the period September 2015 to March 2019, which saw a return on investment of US$14.2 million.
Imbert said this figure represented approximately TT$100 million in increased revenue as a direct result of the advertising campaign.
He offered a breakdown of the expenditure on the various initiatives undertaken since Government assumed office.
In 2016, CAL spent US$2,720,732 for improvements to the airline's loyalty programmes, which were merged to simplify the customer experience. A decision to insource the loyalty call centre resulted in cost-savings of US$1,056,18 over the period.
CAL's new website was launched that year, improving the retail experience. A customer lifestyle survey was subsequently conducted and resulted in a better understanding of the airline's customer segments, their purchasing behaviour and a more targeted positioning of advertisements.
Imbert said the development created a more seamless experience for customers, allowing direct interaction with CAL sales representatives.
In 2017, CAL spent US$2,344,611 which covered the conversion of the RBC/CAL co-branded MasterCard to the RBC/Caribbean Airlines Visa Platinum Credit Card and contracting a new advertising agency for the company.
CAL's10-year anniversary customers were recognised and rewarded for their loyalty. An increase in enrolment in the Caribbean Miles membership programme by 22 percent, when compared to 2016. was also noted.
In 2018, CAL spent US$4,411,374 to launch its Hello Caribbean campaign which showcased CAL's destinations and country attractions.
Several new products were launched under this campaign including new routes to Havana, St Vincent and New York; the Caribbean Explorer package which offers customers the option to visit five islands on one fare; an online platform for Club Caribbean and Caribbean Miles so miles can be easily redeemed by customers; a cargo website which offers customers up-to-the-minute online tracking on shipments; and a new onboard experience with Caribbean Plus, Caribbean Cafe and online wireless entertainment throughout the Caribbean's new application.
Further, Imbert indicated that an improved online and e-ticketing agreement with China's Hainan Airlines would provide greater convenience for customers and cargo service between China and the Caribbean. Festivals and Carnivals such as the Mashramani in Guyana and the Jamaica Carnival were sponsored.
In 2018, CAL earned a significant return on their investment in promotions and advertisements, equating to revenue and earnings before interest and taxes of US$14.2 million.
Imbert said the investment also earned them the following awards: Caribbean's Leading Airline, Caribbean's Leading Airline brand and an ADDY award from Caribbean Advertising Federation.
CAL's loyalty programme continued to grow in 2018, drawing in 45,000 new members.
For the period January to March 2019, CAL spent US$1,468,327 to launch its Caribbean Identity programme. Under this campaign, CAL increased its paid social media advertisements which reached over five million people, and generated a total of 9230 ticket sales at a value of US$3,157,633.