British Airways offers discounts to SMEs

British AirwaysBritish Airways is offering a 25 per cent discount on Business Class tickets from Ghana to London, Europe and North America for small and medium scale enterprises.

The promotion, which ends on Monday, March 14, is to mark Ghana’s 59thIndependence Day.

Mr. Kevin Leung, the Country Commercial Manager of the airline, who announced this at a media briefing, in Accra, said the airline was providing small and medium Ghanaian businesses avenues to spread their wings and explore opportunities to prosper.

He said, “We are well aware that travel expenditure is one of the budget items which businesses will look to pay back when belts need tightening.”

He said in order to give smaller businesses something back on their travel investment, British Airways had developed a programme called On Business.

Unlike large organisations, which could leverage their substantial global buying power to negotiate travel deals with airlines, he said, smaller businesses had  limited scope to stretch their spend, hence they either cut travel costs or accepted them as a cost of doing business.

Mr. Leung said research showed that small and medium-sized businesses’ travel needs differed markedly from big corporates.

He said large companies, which required huge amounts of domestic, regional and international travel annually, had the tendency to plan and budget for it and then negotiate the best deals with airlines.

“By contrast smaller companies crave flexibility. They tend to be nimble, which means thinking short term and looking for the best deal.”

“This is the antithesis of the typical airline offering. Airlines want to encourage early bookings so we can fill flights. We discourage changes, particularly on discounted fares.

He said though the corporates had always been the mainstay of their business, there was growing realisation of the potential of the SME market.

Mr. Leung said a research conducted by the airline indicated that SME customers wanted flexibility.

“Sometimes a discount here and now is more useful than collecting points toward future flights,” he said. “We introduced that option, enabling members to get upfront discounts of up to five per cent”.

Mr. Leung said the airline introduced special offers and bonuses to help to boost points and savings.

British Airways needed to provide alternatives for members when spending points, while other options included points for upgrades and to make changes to the date and time of redemption flights up to one day before travel.

On Business points could be earned and redeemed on British Airways, Iberia, and American Airlines flights.

Mr. Leung said the programme worked in parallel with the Executive Club, British Airways’ loyalty programme for frequent flyers, adding that, on a single flight, both the Company and the individual could accumulate rewards towards redemption flights.

Mr. Leung stressed that there was no cost to joining On Business, adding that the programme delivered real bottom-line benefits.

“Last year our 49 000 members flew over 2.9 million times on 1213 different routes and saved around one hundred and seventy five million Ghana cedis,” he said.

Source: GNA

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