At 30,000 Feet, Timing is Everything
I recently traveled to Europe for vacation, which obviously required several very long flights. During each flight at about the three-hour mark, those first-class seats that fold down into a bed started looking mighty tempting. The crazy thing is (at least on our British Airways flight), the airline would not let you pay to upgrade to first class on the flight, even if there were empty seats.
The thing is, it's easy to make a logical decision to save some money when I'm sitting comfortably at home budgeting for the trip. However, my priorities begin to shift the longer I'm on the plane. Since I'm tall, I pretty much have to weave my legs in and around the seat in front of me in order to be comfortable. A couple hours into the flight, my hindquarters have lost all feeling and I'm now continually altering which cheek I'm favoring in an effort to control the blood flow. To make matters worse, the seat only has two positions. The "upright" position feels like it was designed by some sort of over-zealous chiropractor trying to correct my posture. And the so-called "reclining" position? Well, let's just say that the seat reclines in the same way that a wooden kitchen chair "reclines" when the wood is a little wet. At this point, the perceived value of those first-class seats is quite a bit higher than it was from my couch at home. It seems to me that the airline is leaving money on the table by not offering the first-class upgrade to people when its value is most obvious.
As a marketer, it's important to remember that people make purchasing decisions based on their perceptions and mood, which often change. Sometimes the timing of your offer might be the most important part of the sale.
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