Up & Away

Gate 7’s Managing Director, Jo Palmer, tells us how aviation technology is changing the game for Destination Marketers and travellers alike.

The world is getting smaller. With each new year, evolving aviation tech is providing the opportunity for new routes—and with it the chance to fly direct to somewhere undiscovered. Whether it’s surfing frozen shores under the Northern Lights in Iceland, line dancing to country music in Nashville, or eating crabs on a bike trip through Sri Lanka, the changing face of aviation is great news for globetrotters. As international airlines continue to add service around the globe, Australian and New Zealand travellers can fly direct to more destinations than ever before.

“One of the biggest contributors to growth in travel to any area in the world is direct access by air. From a traveller’s perspective, it’s like giving them a box of new toys to play with. Within recent history, it has become possible to fly directly from Perth to London, from New York City to Reykjavík, and from Auckland to Chicago, but all of this was made possible by new aircraft technology,” explains Jo.

The 777, 787 and A350 are completely changing the long-haul operating environment. New aviation technology has opened up routes that simply weren’t previously physically possible, or were not profitable with older, less efficient aircraft.

“As a direct result of the new 787s, there are about one hundred new routes that have been opened up around the globe.  Fuel equates to around 30-40% of an airline’s operating costs, so the introduction of these more efficient aircraft is having a significant impact on service opportunities,” Jo says.

The opportunities for tier-two cities are also significant.

Once new international routes are confirmed, cities and states are propelled into action through these new markets. There is also strong incentive for airlines to be flexible and nimble in order to make the most of emerging opportunities. For destinations, it’s about being quick to market and creating traction to ensure new routes show strong yields for airlines.

“This is where we come in and can facilitate their marketing in Australia and New Zealand. Together we engage in a plethora of activity to help position destinations as top-of-mind considerations for travelling consumers.”

Conversely, Jo observes tier-one cities like London or Los Angeles cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Competition is fierce, diverse, and heating up.

For those locations that have historically enjoyed being ports of entry for international arrivals — these new routes open up a new set of challenges. To maintain demand, they need to avoid the trap of becoming “been there done that” for travellers. They need to showcase the diverse sides of their destination and work hard to keep them fresh and new.

“From a destination marketing point of view, new international routes stimulate the competitive landscape. It’s fantastic news for travellers and no doubt drives up their intention to travel. For marketers, it drives innovation and out-of-the-box thinking for destinations and tourism products while forcing us to hone in on the best ways to tell compelling stories that connect with their target travellers.”