This research work titled “Effective Marketing Strategies for Airlines Operating in Enugu Metropolis (A Case Study of Executive Airline Services) was carried out with some of the following objectives: To find out if the customers are satisfied with the quality and availability of EAS. To identify and evaluate the marketing strategies used by EAS. To determine whether Airline users are satisfied with the fare charged by Executive Airline Services. To recommend the appropriate measures aimed at improving the marketing strategies used by Executive Airline Services. Based on the above objectives, the researcher prepared two sets of well-structured questionnaires, one for the management and relevant staff and other for the customers of Executive Airline Services (EAS) within Enugu Metropolis. Extensive literature review was carried out and the sample size of 369 customers determined using Top man’s formular, since the population of management and relevant staff is, the researcher did a census survey. The four hypothesis formulated were tested using chi-square and data collected were analyzed using tables, percentages and frequencies. Some of the findings are: That the customers within Enugu Metropolis are satisfied with the quality of EAS, Airline Services. That the marketing strategies adopted by EAS Airline have positive impact on the profit of the organization. However, their charges are considered by their customers to be high and their promotional strategies are not effective for creating customer awareness of their services. Based on the findings, the researcher suggests among others that; the Airline should make their fares to be in line with those of Airline and equally intensify their efforts in their promotional strategies. They should always remember that the customer is the king, and the only survival strategy in a competitive marketing environment is the use of effective and efficient strategies, which are both responsive and responsible.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Marketing strategy can be said to be the marketing logic by which the business unit experts, to achieve its marketing objectives, which consists of decision making, marketing expenditures, marketing mix and marketing allocation in relation to expected environmental and competitive conditions, Kotler (2000:170). However, the airline operations have to blend effectively with the above variables in the most efficient and result-oriented manner. This is to enable them get the best out of their strategic efforts, which results to an improved performance. It will also enable them to beat their competitors from every angle.
The importance of airlines in transport industry need not to be over emphasized. It helps to create time and place utilities. Airlines is reputated for its high speed and comfort, it is therefore mostly used for transporting high value, perishable and emergency freight. In order to serve the customers transport need very well, there is need for airline industry, executive airline services to embrace the effective marketing strategies.
Olakunori (2000) noted that the aviation industry is very interesting though air transportation is regarded as the most modern means of transport is regarded as the most modern means of transport today. Executive airline services as the name implies, simply means “Executive Airlines Services. The common assumption of airline users were that the airline was for the executives, but in actual sense, it was not meant for the executive alone. An average citizen can fly executive airline services to different places comfortably. The Executive Airline Services do not start with the name ‘Executive Airline Services, but rather they started as a character airline in 1996, from there, they went into Cargo operation. Although they were into partnership business, they operated for some years before it was changed to Executive Airline Services about three (3) years ago and from there, they have been into passenger/commercial operation.
Executive Airline Service though relatively new in the transport industry have made an appreciable contribution to the industry. But of recent there have been increase in airlines like Sosoliso, Albarka Airlines etc, these has brought about competition in the industry. In view of their competition, that have been affecting its profit and customers patronage, one is bound to ask how executive airline service can improve its services in order to survive in over competitive marketing environment. Designing effective marketing strategies is the answer. Thus, in this study, the researcher takes a look at effective marketing strategies for the airline operating in Enugu Metropolis with particular interest on Executive Airline Services.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The market for airline services is highly competitive, this is due to the presence of both national and international airline that has made in road into the industry. Among these, is Executive Airline Services (EAS). It occupies a significant position within the industry with its airline operation that covers the following routes – Lagos, Port Harcourt, Jos, Abuja, Kano and Enugu. The company has been performing very creditably as an evident from its services. Besides, Executive Airline Services is fast becoming a household name among airline users. The questions that come to mind therefore are, what are the success factors that have determined the efficient performance of Executive Airline Services Operation? How effective are the company’s marketing strategies? And that is customer’s perception of the company’s services in relation to other airlines? In order to provide answer to the above questions, the researcher critically investigated the marketing strategy adopted by Executive Airline Services.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study among other things include:
(a) To determine the level of airlines users satisfaction of Executive Airline Services.
(b) To determine the impact of marketing strategies on profit of Executive Airline Services.
(c) To determine whether airline users are satisfied with fare charged by Executive Airline Services.
(d) To determine the impact of Executive Airline Services promotion strategies on its services.
(e) To determine the factors that influences the choice of airline by passengers.
(f) To recommend appropriate measures aimed at improving the marketing strategies of Executive Airline Services.
1.4 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESES
To effectively conduct this research, the following hypothetical statements were designed to help in research analysis.
The statements are as follows:
H01: Customers are not satisfied with Executive Airline Services quality.
H1: Customers are satisfied with Executive Airline Services quality.
H01: Customers are not satisfied with the fare charged by Executive Airline Services airlines.
H2: Customers are satisfied with the fare charged by Executive Airline Services airlines.
H03: Executive Airline Services do not make their services readily available to its customers.
H3: Executive Airline make their services readily available to its customers.
H04: Executive Airline Services strategies have negative impact on the profit of EAS airlines services in Enugu Metropolis.
H4: Executive Airline Services strategies have positive impact on the profit of EAS airlines services in Enugu Metropolis.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this study cannot be over looked or over emphasized. The research which was carried out is to determine the extend to which the marketing strategies performance in Airline Operating in Enugu Metropolis is quite valuable in the following ways.
i. To help the researcher to know more about marketing strategies for Airline Operating in Enugu Metropolis.
ii. To help the Airline Operating in Enugu Metropolis to realize and understand better the importance and effectiveness of marketing strategies in attracting and maintaining of customers.
iii. It serves as a reference point to the Airline Operators in Enugu Metropolis by giving them insight about the dangers, use of wrong marketing strategies and ideas, which place the marketing strategies Airline Operating in a right channel.
iv. To highlight areas that requires improvement in the marketing strategies of Airline Operating in Enugu Metropolis for better performance.
v. It will enable the airline operators to know how to maintain their customers in order not to leave them for another airline.
vi. It motivates patronage due to the potential treatment like the instant discount.
vii. The airline user enjoys the privilege of being among the easy group of easy fliers.
viii. It helps the reader to know some of the things that may also attract the needs to patronize Executive Airline Services.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work covered all the areas in marketing strategies in Airline Operating in Enugu Metropolis, which includes their promotion, price, product and place. However, the extent of the study “Effective Marketing Strategies for Airline Operating in Enugu Metropolis focuses on EAS Airlines.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Marketing: They all-important set of creative human activities aimed at identifying, anticipating and satisfying human needs and want through exchange as efficiently and as effectively as possible (Adirika 1990:3).
Competition: The struggle to gain advert, profit or success from the customers over the next person, mostly among firms in contemporary business (Ozor 2001:42).
Variable: Anything that is extended the firm, not under the control of the management, such as the government policies, political crises, competitor, etc (Olakunori 2000:224).
Marketing strategies: A game plans for achieving a set of objectives. It is part and parcel of strategic planning process (Subhash 1990:12).
Customer: The people that buy from either a manufacturer or consumers, but may not necessarily be the users of those products (Olakunori 2000:227).
Price: The amount of money, the customers pay for the product or service of the time and place of exchange (Kotler 1996:46).
Promotion: This is one of the components of the marketing mix used by an organization to inform educate and persuade the marketing regarding the company’s offering (Ebue, Adirika, and Nnolim 2001:58).
Distribution: This is concerned with the efforts, which a firm makes, in order to get its products to the target market (Olakunori 1999:93).
Product: Anything that can be offered to market for attention, acquisition or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. It includes physical objectives, services, persons, organization and ideas (Kotler 2000).
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