With investments in technology, field sales teams and interaction on social media, HAE Group views itself as a GSA plus, according to director for UK & Ireland John Ward (pictured).
HAE Group experienced very strong growth in 2017, up 18 per cent on 2016 with new contracts in the Middle East, Africa, the UK and US, with the start of 2018 looking very positive.
To remain competitive in the marketplace, companies have to be unique for their customers.
Ward says: “We have worked hard to speed up the interaction for the customer and try and grow the number of sales and sales opportunities for our airlines.”
He says HAE tries to act as the airline and subscribe to their values while putting their brand first.
Ward adds: “Our bookings team also work extended hours to cover different parts of the world to make sure wherever we are representing a carrier an experienced team can look after the airline’s needs.”
Developing services is important; HAE has its own software development team and in an ad hoc market, it has sped up the spot pricing process between customer, airline and GSA.
Ward explains: “This allows us to deal with more enquiries as the market becomes more competitive. It is also more professional than constant emails and creates our own data to share with our airlines or their competitiveness and our market information.”
Airlines can also review the quote information through HAE’s Web Portal. HAE still has a field sales team who have access to the portal via tablet and can quote instantly at the customer’s desk.
Ward says: “They have all the latest offers and can share real time the very latest that our airlines have to offer.”
The use of the media is also important, with Ward saying: “We are also highly active in online marketing, social media and running campaigns on behalf of our carriers’ keeping them in our customer’s consciousness as an option.”
Ward sees a key role for GSAs for those offering additional functionality to the traditional ones.
He says: “We also see GSAs offering additional services such as handling/screening to their clients so that they can use HAE’s airlines more.”
The role of the GSA is to market their carrier to become the option of choice for customers, with Ward summing it up by saying: “The more you can do for the customer the more likely he is to use the GSAs airline is our philosophy.”