Real blue sky thinking

Revolutionary ecommerce for a visionary private airline 

Background
We were fortunate to have an established relationship with the founders of Blink, as Shaughn was responsible for the creation of the brand identity at a previous agency. A successful brand launch established Blink as the first to market with a credible ‘European Air Taxi’ service – leveraging the disruptive technology of their new, 4-seater ‘Very Light Jets’.

Blink’s launch website was an attractive online brochure. To consolidate their position as industry-leading innovators, phase two of the brand’s digital development required the development and integration of groundbreaking e-commerce functionality into their online presence. To achieve this we worked in close collaboration with Jake Peters, Blink’s Chief Technology Officer and Ben Wynn, founder of Roxxor – an exceptional digital development agency.

Objectives

Online booking had been around for a long time in the scheduled airline industry. It is relatively simple to achieve: a scheduled flight will take place between points A and B on a defined date; at a defined time; whether or not any passengers are on board. Private jets are subject to a myriad of other factors: variable date and time of departure; current location of the aircraft; over 600 different possible departure and arrivals points – each subject to different opening and closing times and weather restrictions; etc.

Most private aircraft ‘online booking’ amounted to little more than a request email being sent to a broker, who then completed the task manually, before sending a return information with a clients flight options. It was a slow and laborious process, totally at odds with the perception of private jets being a time saving option.

The ambition was to break new ground for the private jet industry by allowing real-time online pricing and booking direct from the user’s browser.

Success in the airline industry rests on ‘asset utilisation’ – making sure your aircraft are earning money by flying paying passengers for as much time as possible. Private aircraft often experience massive under utilisation. Up to 70% of flights are ‘Empty Legs’ with no paying passengers on board – the aircraft is simply flying to pick someone up, or flying back to base after dropping them at their destination. So, we also aimed to increase the utilisation by establishing a marketplace for discounted flights on existing ‘Empty Legs’.

Actions

Blink’s website was redesigned from the ground up. Rather than simply broadcasting the stories Blink had to tell, the experience was designed around the needs of the user: fare deals and ticketing options are promoted using a slideshow; Top level buttons provide instant access to four key areas of user activity; online booking takes centre stage; and the availability of discounted Empty Legs is apparent right from the homepage.

All of this was supported by sufficient information about the background, benefits and experience of flying with Blink to help sell the service to new customers.

Our involvement included user interface design, icon development, extensive copywriting and the creation of all promotional assets – all while making sure the online visual experience remained resolutely on-brand.

Results

At launch, market research had identified least twenty competitors all racing to the European market with new aviation offerings based around the new Very Light Jets being built by major aircraft manufacturers. Blink was first to market and is now the sole survivor of the initial entrants.

Within one month, the online pricing and booking service accounted for 20% of all purchases. During the summer, Blink now average about 80 flights a week – and since launch they have flown nearly four million nautical miles.