Hiring a Chief Marketing Officer doesn’t seem like the first priority during a pandemic, but Sunwing has always marched to its own beat. Within a few short years, the organization has created a vertically integrated travel giant that includes an airline, hotels, a tour operator, retailer and airport shuttles along with US tour operations, all of which brought in sales of $3 billion a year.
According to Strategy magazine, ex-Indigo marketing specialist, Samantha Taylor, began her new CMO position at Sunwing in April.
As part of her role, she is responsible for finding ways to "communicate and engage with [consumers] in an agile way and to respond to their needs throughout their entire journey, whether that goes from dreaming about an upcoming vacation to post-vacation service."
The mention of post-vacation customer needs might point to Sunwing's desire to repair its relationships with consumers following negative media attention regarding customer service issues.
In the article, Taylor states: "Sunwing is family-owned and operated. It grew incredibly fast to its current scale. Sometimes when you do that you miss some foundational pieces from a customer standpoint."
Missing ‘foundational pieces’ is often why travel companies hire outsiders - hoping for a fresh perspective. Sometimes it takes someone new to evaluate a fairly insular industry used to doing business a certain way. Unfortunately, people who have not grown up in travel are often severely challenged by the roadblocks, whether from antiquated technology or grand-fathered agreements which no longer hold value.
Taylor does refer to Sunwing’s technology on a number of occasions, specifically, in relation to the consumer experience with plans to make changes to the “marketing technology stack” and investing in improvements to the customer app.
As the pandemic continues to decimate the industry, Taylor sees opportunity in her new role to revive the brand based on customer feedback.
“Finally, we are working on a Sunwing brand evolution. Sunwing will be a different company on the other side of this, as will all travel providers."
Correction: Open Jaw corrected Samantha Taylor's start date with Sunwing on 13AUG.
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