Aviation

How much do you trust Qantas?

Anne Majumdar

Increased levels of scrutiny have driven Qantas to become more transparent than ever in a bid to protect its reputation and preserve the trust of the Australian public.

Speaking at the Event and Exhibition Association Australasia conference last week, group executive brand, marketing and corporate affairs Olivia Wirth identified the growing challenges for the airline amid the rapidly changing media landscape.

“The change that’s occurred in the last three years like nothing else I’ve seen and we expect that rate of change to continue,” she said.

The shift, which includes the emergence of social media and citizen journalism, is having a significant impact on companies across the board.

“It’s leading to more scrutiny on companies, leading to more transparency and more at stake for companies,” Wirth said.

“Trust has become more important than ever.”

Maintaining that trust is no easy task, however. With aviation a “complicated sector with many moving parts”, there are many things that can go wrong – some within the airline’s control, but many outside it. These can be events like SARS, volcanic eruptions, issues with security and challenges in the Middle East which can impact flight paths.

Being true to brand is an important way to weather the storm, according to Wirth, along with the implementation of a well-researched crisis management system. The airline considers the impact of every move on reputation and brand. Ensuring the airline is swift to join the conversation via social media platforms is also an important way of influencing the outcome, she continued.

But Qantas’ high profile can complicate things even further. Its “iconic” status and 95 years of history mean that the majority of Australians has an opinion, and often one that they are willing to share.

In addition, images taken of and aboard their aircraft make great “clickbait”, something which can work in the airline’s favour as in the case of the Qantas, Emirates A380 flyover at Sydney Harbour in 2013 to mark the start of their strategic alliance.

But the same clickability can also work against it, with challenging incidents including the “Lakes on a Plane” burst water pipe aboard flight QF94 from Los Angeles to Melbourne in July 2014 which was snapped and shared by passengers aboard the aircraft.

As a result, great emphasis has been placed on reputation and brand management within the company.

“The reputation of a company is very much linked with trust,” Wirth said. Furthermore, the airline’s valuable relationships with the vast numbers of passengers it carries each year makes that even more true.

“We’re not an airline, we’re actually a service brand. We’re not a transport company – that’s not how we see ourselves. From a cultural perspective we very much associate ourselves with those in hospitality industry.”

And beyond its passengers are a whole range of other stakeholders, which range from shareholders to media, to staff – all relationships which also thrive on trust.

Wirth stressed the airline will never issue “no comment” on an issue – that would go against the approach they have put in place.

However, she admitted that the airline had needed time to adjust to the new status quo.

“It’s taken us a while to get used to the level of transparency that social media has brought to the company,” she said.

The airline used to have a policy that restricted staff use of social media, something which it has now eradicated.

“It is simply no longer feasible to ring fence around your employees and say don’t communicate,” she said. “We needed to realise there are more people than can have an impact on our business than previously did, and that’s because of social media.”



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Cruise

Tourists stranded as Europe’s rivers continue to drop

Water levels across Europe’s rivers continue to plague cruise operators with reports of marooned boats on the Doubs River.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Midweek Interview

Midweek catch-up with Italian hotelier Gai Quartucci

This week, we sat down with Gai Quartucci, global sales and marketing director for part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world group.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Malaysia Airlines launches free trip incentive for agents

This incentive is like a buy one, get one free, except instead of buying something, you’ve got to sell airfares… which is likely your job anyway so win-win.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Ennismore to bring four new lifestyle hotels to NZ

Accor’s quirky stepchild is spreading its wings across the Pacific with four new signings in New Zealand.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Missed the Visit USA Expos? Fear not, we’ve got your biggest questions covered.

by sponsored by Visit USA Australia

No more FOMO! These hot tips will get you in top-tip shape to visit the USA.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Jetstar launches Sunny Coast sale with fares cheaper than a tank of petrol

With prices this low, Jetstar will have to steal Bunnings’ famous tagline. Hopefully they’ll start hosting sausage sizzles as well.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel Review: La Sultana is an oasis among the chaos of Marrakech

by Nancy Hromin

A peaceful hideaway right in the centre of the Medina’s hustle and bustle, La Sultana is an oasis among the chaos of Marrakech – a chaos we absolutely loved.

Share

CommentComments

News

Aussie travel start-up Ok Away partners with Air Doctor

While it is a cool name, Ok Away also sounds like a good way to end a sentence with someone you wish would leave you alone.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“It’s a shocking insult”: Qantas slammed for asking execs to work as baggage handlers

The bags on your next flight may be handled by Alan Joyce, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your confidence in his ability to fling around 30 kg bags.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Travellers warned over bomb threats against Moldova’s international airport

The government’s travel alert website is advising Aussies to reconsider their need to travel to Moldova, which, given the bomb threats, is probably sound advice.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Intrepid launches citizen science programs in Antarctica

Believe it or not, there is more than one program about understanding phytoplankton (which are a lot more important than you would think)!

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

IHG celebrates 60 years with big surprises + Tim Tam cake

The brand is celebrating its Diamond anniversary with a series of events and surprises for guests, but honestly, they had us at “Tim Tam”.

Share

CommentComments