Is the travel market rebounding? Or is something more complex leading to the growing demand for both private air charter and rental cars. After years of decline or little growth, associations representing private air charter and rental car companies report an improved outlook for the future. Experts are pointing to specific reasons for this growth and this information can help marketers position their ad campaigns.
According to a new Zogby International poll released last month, a significant percentage, 42%, of consumers are tired of the hassle at the airport. In particular, they object to the new full-body scanners that were recently put in place. And consumers find the prospects of pat-down searches even more objectionable. Instead of protesting at airports, as some activists have called for, consumers are voting with their wallets — and using other forms of transportation.
The Air Taxi-Air Charter Association, a trade group for charter jet companies, says that demand for charter jets increased 52% late last year. Joe Leader, president of the association says improving economic conditions account for some of the new business, but TSA security requirements, “has absolutely had an additive effect on air taxi and air charter demand.”
An additional factor in the growing demand for air charter services is the limited capacity at U.S. airlines. The industry is flying at 85.3% of capacity, a level that leaves little room for error. Carriers are hesitant to expand and this hesitation has led to chaos during recent severe weather conditions and resulted in consumers being stranded for days. This situation is opening a market opportunity for private air charter and air taxi companies.
At the same time, more consumers are also renting cars. The American Car Rental Association noted increases in business ranging from 6% to 11% late last year. Operators expect demand to grow in 2011 as the economy expands.
Operators in both industries are likely to begin marketing themselves as sensible and efficient alternatives to traditional airline services.[Source: Increased airline security a boon to charters, rental cars. Zogby.com. 18 Dec. 2010. Web. 10 Jan. 2011]