Thai Airways International newly appointed Executive Vice President for Commercial Pruet Boobphakam made its first official media appearance last Friday. With an important announcement: Thai Airways will finaly use internet to sell its fares, a decision taken as part of a new strategy to raise $2.96 billion in revenues this year through simple but effective marketing action.
Let’s be fair: Thai Airways (TG) has had a website for many years. And people could book fare on line. However it consumed a lot of time and energy. “The site is extremely inconvenient with at least four to five clicks before accessing a fare. The range of fares was very limited with no flexibility according to travelling dates. Our customers could generally find cheaper fares in their travel agencies or even at our sales’ counters. I want the customers to be able to find immediately the fare they are looking for. In fact we will take AirAsia as a model for the simplicity of their booking engine” explains Boobphakam.
Asked why Thai Airways is finally moving into e-fares in 2009 when most of its competitors did it five years ago, Boobphakam says only that now it’s history. The new EVP Commercial confirmed to have instructed marketing teams around the world to be prepared for a complete flexibility in fixing air fares. “A working group has been put in place early September to monitor fares in every market we service. I expect the website with our new fare structure to be fully operational for the winter season, by the end of October. I have also instructed our country managers to take responsibility for immediate commercial decisions. They can at any time ask our new Air fare management team to react overnight with competitive prices,” he says. Boobphakam targets internet booking to bring 20% of all revenues instead of 3% to 4% for the time being.
M. Boobphakam will also look at ending double standard for promotional fares on domestic routes. Regularly posters in Thai languages advertise at TG counters in airports about a special available fare… however targeting only locals. “ For me all passengers are equal and deserve the same treatment”, promises Boobphakam.
Meanwhile, TG wants to strengthen its branding and be again a first choice for customers flying into Southeast Asia and beyond. Bangkok hub will be beefed up this winter with Oslo and Los Angeles flights becoming daily. Bangkok-Johannesburg will be reopened for the summer season in March 2010 with a code share being studied for flights to Brazil from Johannesburg.