Analysis in order to get a competitive advantage

Analysis typically starts with product dimension as the service product is the heart of a company’smarketing strategy. Even if all other dimensions of the marketing mix were designed and executed inan excellent manner, a company could not be successful with a poorly developed core product(Lovelock et al., 2008). The core service that customers purchase when they book a flight is simplygetting from point A to B. The airline product further consists of aspects like safety, reliability in13terms of punctual departure and arrival, services provided prior to the flight which are mostlyexperienced at the airport, in-flight services including food and beverages, In-Flight Entertainmentand Communication (IFEC), convenience regarding the seat itself and the available seat pitch,handling baggage, type of aircraft and equipment and the interaction with staff which will beanalyzed in detail in Section 3.2.5 . Kossmann (2006) also includes the brand which makes sense asthe reputation of an airline definitely depends on their brand image. Even though the product ismany-faceted (Shaw, 2011) Wensveen (2007) argues that there is hardly space for productdifferentiation. He points out that especially on short-haul flights airlines mostly providestandardized products. Assuming that airline A and airline B provide the same service, for instance alight-meal service on a specific route, passengers are likely not to deduct a difference between thetwo products. As a consequence they may choose the carrier which offers most flights at aconvenient time. Shaw (2011) mentions that in order to get a competitive advantage due todifferentiation airlines have to be innovative. He illustrates this fact by providing evidence of twoairlines which are among the most successful companies at the moment: Emirates and SingaporeAirlines. Both companies are well known for their innovative services, especially for those offered onboard of their Airbus 380 aircraft. It might be argued that double beds provided by Singapore Airlinesor spa showers made available by Emirates have nothing to do with the core services of an airlineand are rather unnecessary. These services are not likely to be adapted by other carriers and thecompanies managed to obtain public awareness and to show their willingness to innovate theirproducts. In this case, the new product features might not be a competitive advantage in terms ofthe fact that customers prefer the two companies only because they actually find it as important tosleep in double beds and take a shower during their flight. However, customers might connect theseattributes with the brand and see those companies as more innovative and attractive in comparisonto competitors.