A troubling period for the travel industry became worse this week as Monarch Airlines collapsed. Were its problems foretold by our brand tracking data?
It is certainly true that internal problems in some of Monarch’s key destinations – such as Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey – had an impact on its business, as well as the fall in the value pound that left it paying £50m a year more for its fuel and aircraft.
But BrandIndex shows the airline was also struggling with its own offer against the continued rise of budget airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet.
This is particularly true with younger customers. Our Millennial Travellers report, published earlier this year, confirmed that this group is more inclined to take shorter breaks, involving a higher degree of self-planning – a traveller distinct from one that would fly with Monarch in its package-holiday heyday.
Monarch’s Value for Money score among the 18-34s age group over the last three years has remained flat at around +5, but it has been taken over by Ryanair – which has moved from -11 to +14 (prior to its own recent difficulties). easyJet has outstripped both rivals on this front, moving from +25 to +32 over the same time period.
Similarly, among those that have had a short-haul flight in the past 12 months, Ryanair’s Value for Money score has jumped from -14 to +5, while Monarch has remained at +8. easyJet is way ahead on +34.
Of course, those at the higher end of the market are also under pressure to compete on price. Looking at British Airways, its own Value for Money score has declined over the past three years, dropping from +10 to -2. Similarly, Virgin Atlantic’s score has moved from +10 to +3.
From a consumer perspective, the demise of the airline is likely to be more keenly felt by those aged 55 and over, who may have a greater affiliation with the brand. Monarch’s Impression score (whether a respondent has a favourable impression of a brand) prior to its closure among that age group is +9, against +5 with 18-34s.
This article orginally appeared in City A.M.