Long before Thanksgiving, we start seeing and hearing holiday-related advertisements.  Smart sales and marketing professionals start thinking of ideas for effective holiday campaigns for aviation companies.

holiday campaigns for aviation companies

This vintage postcard (circa 1917) shows that the connection between aviation and the holidays is not a new thing!

Some of our clients are somewhat resistant to “jump on the bandwagon,” thinking that holiday promotions are not appropriate to their product or service.  You don’t have to be in the greeting card or candy cane industry to run an effective holiday campaign.  Here are four examples to consider.  With an open mind and a bit of creativity, even the most hard-core, Business to Business aviation company can run an effective holiday campaign. In fact, the more unexpected and unconventional, the more effective it can be, simply because it gets people talking!

Campaign #1 – “Home for the Holidays”

Who can use it – aircraft maintenance companies, detailers, avionics installers, interiors, completions

Why it’s effective – Flight departments often become less busy during December and January. Workers take time off or telecommute during the holidays, rather than jumping on planes to go to meetings do other work that requires physical presence.  You can take advantage of this slowdown by providing services while the airplane is not needed.

Sample Headlines/Offers

  • Is Your Plane Staying Home for the Holidays?
  • Get the parts for your airplane projects, so you’ll be ready when it has a chance to stand still.
  • Get new avionics installed before January 15 and we will include (additional services.)
  • Give your plane’s interior a new look for the holidays . . .

Campaign #2  – Holiday Charter Package

Who can use it – Charter Carriers, Part 121 carriers, etc.

Why it’s effective – Everyone is looking for great experiences with their families or teams over the holidays.  Even if your company specializes in business travel charter, you may be able to acquire some consumer contracts this way. Added bonus – if you do this successfully once, you can market to the same folks the following year as people like to establish holiday traditions.  This is a good one for direct mail – The Postal Service has an Every Door Direct Mail service by which you can target the most affluent zip codes (and sub-zip codes) in your service area.

Sample Headlines/Offers –

  • The Holidays are for Family and Friends! There’s nothing like being there in person.
  • Take your family to (destination) for the holidays!  We’ll arrange everything. (Ground transportation, lodging, etc.)
  • Christmas Lights Tours – Including limousine, roses, and dinner!

Campaign #3 – New Year, New Regulations Campaign

Who can use it – Compliance Consultants, Software providers, etc.

Why it’s effective – Changes in FAA, TSA, EPA, EU, and other laws often go into effect in January.  Since flight departments often feel pressure to make changes in December to be in compliance, this is a great time to offer your  assistance.

Sample Headlines/Offers

  • Chief Pilots – Are you ready for FAR Part 117?  Get your flight duty programs in compliance now  so you can enjoy the holidays with less (crew) fatigue. http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudication/agc200/Part117/
  • Airports in Europe -Will You Be EU Regulation Compliant?   –  Phase 1 will enter into force on 31 January 2014 at the latest and will make it mandatory for airports to screen with special liquid explosive detection equipment at least LAGs  (Liquids, Aerosols and Gels) in STEBs (security tamper evident bags) http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/security/aviation-security-policy/lags_en.htm

Campaign #4 – Get a Jump on 2014

Who can use it – Consultants, legal and tax professionals, anyone that sells a product or service that solves a problem or helps an aviation company make more money.

Why it’s effective – Aviation companies, like everyone else, are going over their sales figures for 2013 and doing strategic planning to make improvements in 2014.

Sample Headlines/Offers

  • Make 2014 your Most Profitable Year Ever By <<Insert Specific Benefit Statement Here.>>

Any of the above campaigns can be successful, provided they are structured in an appropriate way, with the three mandatory elements in place:

  • A great list of recipients
  • An attractive offer tailored for those recipients
  • An effective presentation (We usually recommend a multi-part campaign, such as a mailer, followed by emails, social media mentions, a website landing page, and phone calls.)

One Bad Campaign – Hijacking Your Holiday Cards

Interjecting an opinion here.

While we strongly believe that sales and marketing campaigns are a GOOD thing, (There is nothing wrong with politely and enthusiastically asking people for their business) there is an appropriate time and place for it. We also believe that it’s become an accepted (and fun) tradition to use holiday themes in marketing campaigns.


Holiday cards are not the time and place.

Sending a card of thanks, appreciation, and good wishes during the holiday season is a tradition among civilized people all over the world, for whatever holidays they celebrate.

Sending any kind of marketing message in the process is likely to be perceived as insincere and manipulative.

Holiday cards can be as politically correct or incorrect as you like, (i.e. the ongoing battle of Christmas Cards versus Holiday Cards, which we won’t jump into here. )  As long as your holiday cards are expressing a sincere and thoughtful appreciation for the relationship and warm wishes for your clients and their teams and families, they will be well received. Be as creative, fun or traditional as you like – sincerity and authenticity trumps everything else in this department.

We recently had an aviation professional ask us how to measure ROI (return on investment) on holiday cards, because his company was reluctant to spend the money on them.

Seriously? Yes, seriously!

We recommended that if his company truly refused to send holiday cards to its existing customers without demanding a return on investment, that our friend (the aviation professional) do two things:

  • Spend his own money to send cards to valued contacts who have done business with him this year.
  • Look for another job.

A company that will make no investment in its relationships with customers and comply with accepted social norms is either in profound financial trouble or has truly lost its soul and will probably not be around long.

Agree? Disagree?  Feel free to comment!