Estonian Air crowdsourcing ideas to engage travelers as Tero Taskila takes over as new CEO

There are a few airline CEOs who never fail to inspire me – Azran Osman-Rani of AirAsia X (the ability to question all assumptions), Andres Fabre of Aviacsa (the grit to emerge from the worst crises) and Tero Taskila – who did a great job with airBaltic, and has just taken over as the CEO of neighboring Estonian Air.

Interestingly, the press release announcing Tero’s appointment also mentioned “My Estonian Air“, a project meant to solicit ideas from the travelers on how to improve the airline and what they’d like to see. While based on similar crowdsourcing campaigns we had previously featured, the timing of this was critical – as the new CEO strongly signaled a change in approach towards customers.

Overwhelming response!

In an email interview, Tero told us that My Estonian Air received over 300 responses just the day the website launched. He also added that “we are now starting to get into details with questions. So far, it has been more about company direction, people’s aspirations about style, culture and future size and shape. Now Each week we have different themes such as service and we ask people details about how we can serve them better. In couple of weeks the theme is technology.” The best ideas get free flight tickets.

And as expected, lots of wacky ideas have also been submitted on My Estonian Air – one person commented that leading space travel researchers both in NASA and the Russian counterparts come from Estonia. So one day, maybe it could be Estonian Air Space shuttle that could make the trip to Mars one day!

Fun aside, these efforts need to be channeled towards specific business objectives.

Ideas driving business goals

Tero also told us that the campaign has two major goals – “firstly, to get ideas from people and see what they think and expect from us. Secondly, it gives us a perfect opportunity to explain why certain things are done in certain way and also sell our service. For example, people are saying that Ryanair is cheaper – we have explained to them how we could offer the same price and what are the sacrifices the customers should make in order to have the price and service what Ryanair offers.”

Certainly, such frank sharing of ideas are bound to resonate with travelers much better than a press release about company’s policies. And My Estonian Air is a step in the right direction for the airline that is looking to leap into the next phase with the arrival of a new CEO.

We wish Tero and his team at Estonian Air all the best in their efforts.

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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