The Community Flights Story

Community Flights Story

                             

How Community Flights Started – The Community Flights Story

The Community Flights story began in 2011.  In 2011, many airports and communities didn’t communicate well with airlines nor effectively market airline flights. Because I had solved many of airport challenges as Executive Director of The Telluride/Montrose Regional Air Organization (TMRAO), I felt this was a good business opportunity.

(Note: TMRAO has since changed its name to Colorado Flights Alliance).

The Economic Situation

There were fewer air passengers to Montrose/Telluride in 2011 because of the national recession. Discretionary spending was also down which meant less money spent on travel. Telluride and Montrose, therefore, saw a reduction in tourism based tax collections. These tax collections were a large percentage of the air organization budget. This environment caused TMRAO to ask for more money from air program supporting community businesses and organizations. Without more funding TMRAO would have to cut airline service.

The Telluride/Montrose Program Funding Needs

The TMRAO board understood air service cuts would cause financial hardship for the communities the air program was serving. TMRAO further believed increasing the budget would allow it to maintain air service levels which would limit the economic hit for local businesses. Additionally, the TMRAO board felt that the return on investing more money on seat capacity would bring a large enough return on investment to justify the investment to sustain air service levels.

Key Air Service Benefits to Community’s

Air service is a key driver for many local tourism economies. This is especially true for communities that are highly reliant on airline service. Telluride and Montrose, Colorado need air service visitors. Telluride is located a long way from a major highway or large population centers in rural Southwestern Colorado.  As a result, this limits drive visitors. Therefore, maintaining air seat capacity is critical to maintaining visitation levels. The result of a decrease in visitors caused by reduced airline service, would be less visitor spending, reduced tax collections and increased unemployment and business bankruptcy’s.

“Visitors that don’t get to the community can’t spend money in the community!”

Community Flights Story

The Community Flights Story

The Community Flights Story – Circa 2011

My understanding of key air program challenges was increased when we reached out for more funding. It became clear that many people don’t fully understand the benefits of air programs to their community. Additionally, I discovered many people don’t connect how total air seat capacity and seat sales contribute to the community economic health. I also concluded, many communities don’t know how to work with the airlines to optimize passenger sales.

Community and Airline Alignment

The fact that airline air service goals often don’t align with community air service goals, was a big revelation. The community talked to airlines about the beauty of the area and how this would attract more passengers if the airline lowered fares. The airlines wanted to hear about how the flight could increase profits. Airlines were most interested in total revenues and less interested in total passengers, unlike the communities. Additionally, there is a culture and language gap between many communities and the airlines. I concluded that communities needed help to bridge the airline and community language gap.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Air Service in Tourism Markets

By 2011 I had seen the local economic impacts of both good tourism years and bad tourism years. I also saw how the bad tourism years affected some of my friends. It became personal. First, I had friends whose employment and compensation were highly dependent on the success or failure of the flights. In good years they got by comfortably. In bad years, they struggled and some had to leave the community after that bad season. I concluded from these observations, that having a strong community air service, was extremely important because of what it meant to my friends.

Community Sensitive Air Service Development

I turned my attention to figuring out how help more than one community produce a successful air program. Many communities needed help in order to improve their community air service development effort. My goal became helping multiple airports to maximize the benefits of their air service for the benefit of their citizens.

Air Service - Important to Communities

         Air Service – Important to Communities

The Creation of Community Flights

At this point, it was 2012. I formally registered Community Flights as a business in Colorado. 

First, however, I wanted to finish the job at TMRAO. The goal was to return the air program to its former air seat capacity levels so I continued working for TMRAO through the funding initiative. When we successfully met our fundraising goals, this allowed us to a bring back the seat capacity lost in the previous two years. Our efforts positioned Montrose and Telluride to have a better air service future. A better air service future also meant a better economic future for these two communities.

Fall of 2012

By late fall in 2012, we had early results indicating winter would produce increased flight occupancy and increased flight revenues. This result would reduce the air program revenue guarantee payment to the airlines. TMRAO was back on both a solid financial and performance foundation.

Time to Expand My Efforts

I resigned from TMRAO because the program achieved this reset and was heading to a successful future. My purpose then became assisting multiple communities with air service through Community Flights. I started working full-time on this effort starting January 1st, 2013.

More about The Community Flights Story in our Case Studies

To better understand Community Flights services and how these services can improve your air programs, we recommend that you go to our Case Studies.

Case Study – Crested Butte Mountain Resort

and

Case study – Telluride/Montrose Colorado.

Helping Communities Realize their Economic Dreams

Helping communities realize their economic dreams

Community Flights Update August 2016-2018

Community Flights assisted Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the Gunnison-Crested Butte communities with their airline service, starting in 2013. We completed our consulting agreement With Crested Butte Mountain Resort in August 2016. Community Flights then began evaluating the community airport aviation landscape, to decide what were the biggest community airport needs. Based on our experience at Gunnison/Crested Butte, we concluded that what was most needed in airport air service programs, was effective communication in support of community flights.

Aligning Community Flights Services

From August 2016 to Present (Currently July 2018), Community Flights has worked on refining and developing the communication services we’ve provided previous clients. Our goal is to offer effective communication and marketing support that helps put passengers in seats. Working for the Durango La Plata County Airport, we’ve developed and refined the Airport Flyer -Flight Value Marketing program.

Airport Flight Value Marketing

Airport Flight Value Marketing involves four separate program components:

1. Community Airport Airfare Club
2. Airport Flyer Air Ticket Shopping Training
3. Airport Airline Price Monitoring
4. Airport Marketing Assistance

Manage Community Airport Airfare Club

Manage Airport Airfare Club

Manage Airport Airfare Club

Community Flights tracks and shares airline deals to and from your community airport. These actions grow your email contact list and increase your subscriber engagement with airport communications. “Flyer Value” focused content optimizes contact list subscriptions and the level of engagement of these subscribers.

Contact me to engage Community Flights – to Manage Community Airport Airfare Club!
Scott Stewart  –  [email protected]  –  970-759-3559

Customer Airline Ticket Value Training

Customer Airline Ticket Value Training

Customer Airline Ticket Value Training

We educate flying consumers by providing air travel shopping guides, airline service articles and videos on a Private Community Flights Facebook Page. Local and Visiting Flyers learn how to better shop for air deals leading to them SAVING both time and money. Your Airport Airfare Club Members have FREE access to this private community, when you buy this feature.

Contact me to engage Community Flights – Airport Customer Airline Ticket Value Training!
Scott Stewart  –  [email protected]  –  970-759-3559

Airport Airline Market Price Monitoring

Market Price Monitoring

Market Price Monitoring

Community Flights finds “Opportunities” for airlines to increase sales by monitoring airport flight market prices. We then suggest price adjustments to the airlines that will benefit both the airline and your flyers. Price monitoring complements the airfare club by influencing the airlines to offer better flight value to your flyers.

Contact me to engage Community Flights – Airport Airline Market Price Monitoring!
Scott Stewart  –  [email protected]  –  970-759-3559

Airport Marketing Assistance

Airport Marketing Assistance

Airport Marketing Assistance

We help with marketing when you ask our help. We edit or write your airport press releases and help with social media monitoring and response. Therefore, our marketing services enhance incumbent community airport marketing. We give a second opinion and broader insight because we help multiple airports with marketing.

Contact me to engage Community Flights – Airport Marketing Assistance!
Scott Stewart  –  [email protected]  –  970-759-3559

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