Air Serbia looks towards the future with merchandising mindset

Veljko Ristić

General Manager Commercial, Air Serbia

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We are the proud national carrier of Serbia with roots that go back 90 years. Air Serbia provides premium and high-quality service, and in a few short years we have succeeded in building our reputation as the leading full service carrier in Southeast Europe. Our efforts have illuminated a new path to achieve the next phase of our growth with a focus on merchandising.

Traditional commercial approaches are no longer sufficient in making an airline competitive enough to ensure its long term profitability. Passenger numbers are booming, competition has intensified, and LCCshave made the aviation industry even more dynamic and tougher than ever before. But most importantly, with flights more affordable than ever, travelers are paying more attention to factors outside of price that differentiate airlines.

And this is where merchandising comes into place. It is a vital commercial tool for every airline looking to meet the needs of its passengers. What do I mean by this? Well, for us at Air Serbia, merchandising is all about offering our guests specific, tailor-made airline packages.

It’s all about unbundling the traditional airline product proposition, and allowing travelers to create or choose their own journey based on their travel styles and preferences. It’s all about making these packages simple and easy to understand for both the market and the sales network. And in short, merchandising is all about that first marketing lesson we are taught in business school: offering the right service proposal to the right passenger at the right price at the right time in the right sales channel. It’s as simple as that.

In the past year and a half, my teams have intensely focused on conceptualizing this approach. We are excited to have worked with Amadeus along this road of enabling ancillarysales on our entire travel network as well as activating Fare Families. We are also keen to try new projects and initiatives for our mutual benefit, as we believe that a European carrier at this moment cannot deliver a successful merchandisingstrategy without Amadeus’ support and involvement along the way.

And why do passengers like to travel with us? Because we are committed to our key brand and company values. We offer Serbian-inspired cuisine and locally-sourced, fresh ingredients and domestic wines, free entertainment streaming, and inflight internet access. Plus, we fly to primary airports and have an extensive organic and codeshare network that reaches over 100 destinations across the globe. These elements help us offer our guests a comfortable and personal travel experience.

Ever since our beginnings in 1927, we have always been aviation pioneers in our region. We are maintaining our role as the leading carrier in the region, but now we are also pushing the frontier of merchandising and ancillaries. If you want to find out more about our new ancillary portfolio or the redefined fare and product structure, please visit the Air Serbia website.