American Airlines, Manager E-commerce Product Marketing | Latin America and The Caribbean
Valls' role may sound simple: encourage more Latin Americans to buy their American Airlines tickets online. However, her definition of aa.com is 17 Spanish-language sites, 1 Portuguese site, plus the content and enhancements to make international fliers stay loyal. This means easier calculations of the company's fares and schedules matrix, instant access to their Advantage rewards, plus creative, cost-effective marketing of the entire program's benefits. And she works in a marketplace that still faces major challenges regarding strong distrust of credit usage online, as well as limited Internet bandwidth.
Nonetheless, aa.com showed in an increase in online bookings in 2009 due to a number of engaging online campaigns that cleverly encouraged use of the site. Social media is growing rapidly in the region and programs using facebook have shown strong results. Valls cites a fun Chilean promotional contest that features a flight attendant, named Danila Bordo, with a facebook page that answers customers' questions. (Chile has Latin America?s highest penetration of internet users; more than Brazil.)
Christine Valls believes that there is a dramatic shift occurring now in airline marketing. We are living in time when more people simply purchase tickets online. Future air travel growth is not necessarily about encouraging more people to fly, but rather about creating an online travel management relationship that keeps people coming back. That kind of loyalty is critical to the image and the revenues of an airline.
Not one to evade a challenge, Valls sees opportunities for those multinational companies that are willing to take advantage of today's changing environment. She asserts, "Global, is no longer a geographical condition. Customers from all corners of the world live and transact in all the corners of the world. Consistency in your brand will help you achieve a sense of familiarity with your customer. The key is to get to know your customer and which medium gets his/her undivided attention. Small changes to your campaigns that touch on key value differences or interests also intensify that sense of familiarity."
Christine Valls started with American Airlines as an intern 20 years ago, and she remains passionate about the American Airlines company, its people and its brand. "The E-commerce possibilities in Latin America and the Caribbean are endless. This region has been the sleeping giant that is now waking up. We can take risks and try things that have never been tried before. Our world is colorful and without boundaries. And for a marketing executive, that is the definition of Paradise."Contact: Christine.Valls@aa.com