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We have been advertising GoToMeeting in airport terminals and in airline magazines for many years.  Initially we lead with “Do More Travel Less” messaging.  For good reason, the airlines asked us to modify the message to speak more appropriately to their travel audience.  We adopted the message on a case by case basis, and one example of that was “Down Time is the new Up Time”.

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I am sensitive to the fact that travel industry is facing very challenging times.  However, by eliminating all GoToMeeting messaging, they are basically saying that travelers are so naive they will not possibly know these tools exist, so let’s be really quiet and maybe they wont find out!

American Airlines considered our messaging to be “anti-travel”.  Ok, I have to admit that if I were in their shoes, I’d see it that way as well.  Admittedly, my company’s travel costs have declined as a result of using online meeting tools.  However, we still very much need to travel to see clients, family, friends…in other words, we are still human.  The new tools just allow us to be more selective about when we travel.  American needs to spend time getting at that information.  Which travel are we foregoing versus when is travel necessary?  If I was marketing for the airline, I’d get to that information and message to it.  I believe a climate where technology is promoted and integrated into the travel experience is a much more effective use of resources than viewing them as contributing to the demise of the travel industry.  We offered to change our messaging, and still, they declined.

Our latest airport creative in running at LAX and it speaks to the ability to present from anywhere…even while you’re naked

 
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It’s not anti-travel, it’s anti-ignorance.  What it says is you have the freedom to present, and the location is irrelevant.  I have used online meeting tools to present from an airport and even on the plane.  It’s such a better use of my time when I travel to know that I can conduct business seamlessly.

I expect an airline to embrace technology, so as to improve the travel experience.  In a prior post I wrote about how we are all in the Unified Experience business.  Airlines are no exception.  This would have been a great opportunity to acknowledge that customers have a choice, and when they do need to travel they will encourage the use of the tools that help make the most of their trip.  A perfect example is GoGo Inflight internet access.  It’s wonderful to be able to work in real time from an airplane.

We work with lots of great airlines and airports that have embraced technology and online meetings.  Here are a few:

Alaska
SouthWest
United
Virgin

Los Angeles
San Francisco
Chicago
Miami

As Workshifters and business travelers it is our responsibility to be an effective voice.  I don’t recommend you read this and then bash American in the blogsphere.  See this as an opportunity to reach out in a constructive format and ask them to encourage the use of technology and even to consider promoting it.

American Airlines is still my preferred airline when I travel.  I’m going to stick with them because I believe they will come around. 

How will you help? What are your thoughts?
 

  • http://jetcast.com john williams

    Online meetings have allowed our company to avoid numerous flights (and the inevitable flight delays and wasted productivity). They are perfect for training new customers and we are getting pretty effective at using them to win new customers. Net, net they make us more productive and profitable!