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In the run up to New Year Cathay Pacific made an error on their ticketing website when they advertised return first and business class flights worth around $16,000 for just $670. There isn’t any information to say how many tickets were bought, but Cathay Pacific decided to honour the error and released a statement to say “we made a mistake but we look forward to welcoming you on board with your ticket issued. Hope this will make your 2019 special too!” – well done Cathay Pacific, there have been several cases like this in the past where other airlines have made pricing errors and in most cases, those airlines chose to cancel the tickets and issue an apology.
On the back of this, Cathay Pacific now have the opportunity to make a marketing mountain out of the pricing error mole hill (tenuous link to that saying, I know.)
Their choice to honour the low fares is a smart first Customer Experience step (as mentioned, there isn’t any info on how many tickets, so I don’t know the revenue impact upfront) because it goes to show how they’re prepared to handle their mistakes in a positive way, even when it hurts them financially. There are many companies that could learn from this approach, obviously always taken with a pinch of financial sense.
But what Cathay Pacific now have is an opportunity to increase sales of first and business class fares by using the experiences of the customers that took advantage of the pricing error to get a whole load more views of their premium cabin product on social media and in the wider press – “We made an error, but look at the experience our customers had…”.
Most of these customers probably won’t have ever flown in business class, let alone first class, so their reaction to the experience is likely to be a very positive one that will show the airline in a great light and will attract premium class travellers from other airlines that haven’t previously seen or considered Cathay Pacific.
By using the story of their initial positive Customer Experience stance by making good on the low priced fares, they can turn the stories and experiences of the delighted customers into a marketing campaign to show how amazing the Cathay Pacific premium cabin experiences are.
Simple themes could create some great content – “How did travelling in first class make your trip extra special?”, “How did you feel when Cathay Pacific said that they’d honour their low price ticket mistake?”
So, no matter what your mistake, there could always be an opportunity to make good if you put your creative mind to it.