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The focus of the paper lays on the application of service marketing theory/concept of flower of service at Jetstar Asia airways. The paper will also identify the key features and processes that the airline company has implemented to ensure better services to its customers.
Keywords: service marketing, flower of service, Jetstar Asia Airline, passengers.
SDS Analysis -Jetstar Asia Airline Company
The paper provides a report on background information about Jetstar Asia Airways. It also makes an attempt to evaluate the service marketing theory, its application and the key features of the service delivery system that is used by the company.
Background Information about Jetstar Asia Airways
Jetstar Asia Airways was launched in 2004 by the partnership of the Australian airline, Qantas, with a 49% shares and Singaporean businessmen and the government of Singapore owning the remaining shares (Park, 2006). The company is a low-cost budget airline operating from Singapore in destinations within 5-hour flight radii. Jetstar Asia Airways operate in the countries of Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Taiwan, China, and Japan among other Asian countries. As a subsidiary of the Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia Airways has code sharing with Jetstar Airways in Australia and other Jetstar Airways in the Asian region (Qantas Financial Report, 2011).
In three years of operating, Jetstar Asia announced that they had recorded their first-profit outlook ahead of their plans. The companys merger with Valuair in 2005 necessitated an increase in passenger load by 20 percent fast-tracking the move towards profitability. In 2008, the company reported a 4 percent rise in passenger load factor and 75 percent increase in passenger carriage. Jetstar Asia company philosophy was formed by its former chief executive officer, Chong Phit Lian. He had attributed the quick turnaround to prudent cost and resource management as well as improvement in load factors and passenger revenues. Like many other airline companies in the world, Jetstar Asia Airways was affected by the 2008 global financial crisis and continues to be affected by escalating fuel costs and threats of terrorism. Nevertheless, the company continues to invest in innovative services including online booking systems and service delivery systems. It is done in what the management describes as efforts to streamline operations, optimize the use of resources and increase loads and ticket sales. (Park, 2006)
Services Marketing Theory/Concept of "The Flower of Service"
As a way of attracting and retaining customers, a company must identify its core business as well as the supporting or supplementary services. The Service Marketing theory, also known as Concept of flower of service, helps a company to display its supplementary services that relate to a major product or service. It also advocates facilitation and enhancement of supplementary services. (Lovelock, 2011)
For Jetstar Asia Airways, the core service is air transport of people from one airport to the other. However, the company has invested in a service delivery system to offer supplementary services to its customers. The company has facilitated the accession of information on booking. The information is got from the companys website, travel agent, and magazines. (Lovelock, 2011) Customers are also allowed to place orders through the system once they are airborne, with assistance given to children by the aircrew assistants. Booking of flights in done through a web-based application, allowing the customers to choose the flight they want to fly. The payment is facilitated through credit card payment or cash payment to the travel agent.
The flower of service concept seeks to make the experience of the customer not only memorable but also interesting. (Lovelock, 2011) One area that can put off a customer is the payment system. Most air passengers come from different countries and finding a common currency to pay can be problematic. The company has eased payment by cash where a passenger can only pay their foods using the Singaporean dollar. It ensures that passengers know this from the onset so that they can carry Singaporean dollars with them when they are travelling with Jetstar Asia Airways.
In terms of information, Jetstar Asia Airways has a facilitative information system that ensures that passengers possess the necessary data about their flight. The technical part of the information system is handled by technicians and other IT experts. The passengers can only get processed information about their flight. For example, the time and date of the flight are indicated on the ticketing system. When they come to the airport, passengers are assisted by the airline assistant to place their luggage in the right conveyor belt. When they enter the plane, they are welcomed with a smile and also shown where to put their hand luggage and fasten their seat belts. The pilot is responsible for communicating information about weather and immigration requirements in the airport of landing. Throughout the journey, the system displays information about the flight. The display of information is made simple for the passengers to understand.
The company also has a broadcast system in the launch that announces to the passengers when to board the plane. The airline assistants have the responsibility of giving the passengers a warm welcome. These services ensure that the passengers have confidence in the airline and that they feel comfortable before the flight can start. The service marketing theory comes in from booking of the airline to the actual flight. The passenger is supported and assisted through other supplementary services to the core services necessary for those on board. (Yeung, Tsang, & Zandy, 2012)
Most passengers who travel by air require assistance at every point to ensure that they get the best services during their flight. The service marketing theory is focused not only on the facilitative services but also the supporting services that the company puts in place to help its customers. The services might be in the form of consultation, hospitality, exceptionalism, or safe keeping of passengers property and luggage. The supportive services are aimed at attracting more passengers and ensuring that besides getting high quality services, the customers spent less on their travels. The Jetstar Asia Airline service delivery system is reinforced with supportive services to supplement the core function of the company, transporting people from one destination to another. (Ivanovic, 2011)
The companys consultation services are based on a web application system where the passengers can get information on the frequently asked questions either on a one-on-one basis with a company representative or through FAQ page. Jetstar Asia Airline has a collaborative relationship with travel agents, tour guides, and hoteliers. Besides giving passengers the information about the city of their destination, they also provide quality services. During the flight, the flight assistant is supposed to listen to the passengers who are making orders for their food from the menu provided to them and answer passengers questions whenever there are any. (Yeung, Tsang, & Zandy, 2012)
In terms of hospitality, the companys employees treat the passengers with respect and courtesy. The flight assistants are trained to greet their passengers when they come to the lounge to take a flight. They are provided with free services like television, water dispenser, and free Internet. They give assistance to the passengers who encounter any difficulty when moving from one point to the other. (Jiang, 2013) The flight assistants also guide them to various points such as visa checking, passports, and other travel documents that may be required for their journey. It is assumed that the employees already know the legal requirements of the destination country. Therefore, they are required to advise the passengers on what they should have in terms of travel documents. Once the passengers are in the aircraft, security demonstrations are done. The pilot announces the start of the departure and wishes everyone a good flight. These gestures are meant to make the passenger comfortable and confident prior to, during, and even after the flight. The passengers are also served during the flight by attendants who take their orders patiently. The toilets are cleaned after every usage. (Ivanovic, 2011)
The passengers luggage is as important as their lives when they are travelling. Jetstar Asia Airline has put emphasis on the safety of the luggage ensuring that they are checked, labeled and conveyed safely to the aircraft through a secure system. An information technology system supports the check-in operations with staff checking the passports and other documents. The barcode tag is printed and put on the luggage, which is transported to the plane after security checks. Customers with special needs and children are given assistance because their cases are exceptional. They are not required to pay for the extra services. (Jiang, 2013)
Key Features and Process of Jetstar Asia Airways Service Delivery System
The Jetstar Asia Airways Service Delivery System is one of the best and well-developed systems that apply the Services Marketing Theory. The SDS at the company runs from the time the passenger makes inquiry about the flight to the point when he/she arrives at the airport of destination. From the case study, a number of key features and processes are evident in the way the company facilitates its core business of transporting passengers from one point to the other.
Information and Booking Process
The first feature is information provision process. The company has a website, travel agents, and magazines where people can seek information. Staff and pilots also act as sources of information throughout the whole flying experience. Once they make booking, the passengers can obtain all the information about their payment and the time of flight. The companys booking system is integrated within banks payment systems to facilitate payment tracking so that customers can have extra information about their flight.
The Process of Boarding the Plane for a Flight
On the day of the actual flight, the passengers are expected to come to the airport. The process of moving from the lounge to the aircraft is made as comfortable and secure as possible. The verification of travel documents and other requirements is done by smiling company staff. While customers wait for their turn to verify their documents, they can watch TV, have some water from water dispensers, read newspapers, surf the Internet, and use other services. Communication about their flight is made through a public announcement system to let them know when they are required to board the plane. Their luggage are checked, labeled, and transported to the aircraft without the need of their owners following them up. The conveyor belt simply carries the luggage to the aircraft, and this ensures that the customer is only left with hand luggage when walking to the aircraft after a security check.
Inside the Plane Services
Jetstar Asia Airways process of serving customers once they are inside the plane is one of the best. First, the customers are welcomed in the aircraft by a smile and greeting. They are shown where their seats are and where to put their hand luggage. Also, they are shown where the toilets are located so that they can use them if they wish. Security demonstrations are done so that passengers know how to react in case there is any threat. Once passengers take their seats and fasten their safety belts, the pilot communicates with the control tower to get the permission before taking off. Once they are airborne, entertainment services, food and drinks are served by flight assistants. The passengers can pay for foods by cash or through credit card, but this information is communicated to them before they board the aircraft. Cash currency is in Singaporean dollars. It makes sense because the flights are either coming from Singapore or going to Singapore.
Information about the Flight
The passengers are always informed about their flight either through a flight information display system or by the pilot who tells them about weather conditions, time, and other details during the flight. During landing, the passengers are requested by the pilot to close tables and fasten their seat belts and ensure that they are ready for landing. When they are about to land in an airport, the pilot also tells the passengers about the weather conditions, immigration policies in the country where they are landing, and other details that they may want to know. Customers get their hand luggage and wait for notification to alight from the plane. The flight attendants ensure that no passenger leaves their hand luggage in the plane. In the meantime, the travel agents are already informed about their clients on the flight. Therefore, they come to the airport to pick them up. When they are touring the country, then they can be taken to the hotels or their designations.