Air France and KLM focus on African and Chinese markets

Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are targeting the African and Chinese communities in the UK in a bid to attract people visiting friends and relatives abroad.

Air France: targets African and Chinese travellers
Air France: targets African and Chinese travellers

The two airlines, which are part of the same group, are each launching campaigns today (19 October), using direct mail, digital and SMS activity and will run for eight weeks. Each campaign uses emotive imagery reminding people to visit their friends and family at home.

The two campaigns, created by agency 3 Fish In A Tree, target people of Chinese and African origin in the UK to highlight Air France KLM group's network across Africa and Asia.

The Air France activity uses the strapline "Reconnect with the things you miss the most", while the KLM Royal Dutch strapline says: "Surprise them with a visit".

Each campaign will door drop direct mail to 500,000 Chinese and African origin households within a two-hour radius of London Heathrow and London City airports, with SMS messages reaching users that call or roam on their mobile phones in Asia and Africa, through O2 More.

Verane Brissaud, marketing and communications manager across the two airlines in the UK and Ireland, told Marketing that the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market is "recession proof".

She said: "We have an extensive network through Asia and Africa. Over the past 10 years the share of the VFR travel market has remained stable and is worth about £10m, whereas the leisure and business travel markets have been hit by the recession quite drastically."

Brissaud said the share of the VFR market makes up 20% of all international travel. She said that consumers are prepared to give up their luxury holidays but that connecting with friends and family is important to people, and "they are not prepared to compromise on this".

This week, Air France KLM dismissed its group chief executive, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, less than four months after his appointment. The group's previous chief executive Alexandre de Juniac is expected to take up the post in the next month.

Last week Marketing spoke to IAG’s Willie Walsh, Google and TUI about the future of the turbulent travel market.

Follow Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith on Twitter @LoullaMae_ES

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