Insider’s guide to preparing for meetings

We sat down with Mike St Laurent, ASM’s vice president of consulting, to discuss how delegates can maximise the effectiveness of their airline meetings at World Routes.

We sat down with Mike St Laurent, ASM’s vice president of consulting, to discuss how delegates can maximise the effectiveness of their airline meetings at World Routes. Mike St Laurent joined ASM in February 2014 from Air Canada, where he spent over 30 years as a leading figure within Scheduling, Network Planning and Revenue Management functions.

Do you have any advice for first time presenters?

Keep presentations short and to the point…less is more! Meetings are not just about presenting information, they are about building relationships. It is also very important to research the airline beforehand; understanding their network, fleet, business model, alliance relationships and strategy; this will help to create an impactful presentation.

How can airports and tourism authorities enhance the credibility of their presentations?

Try to include information that the airline doesn’t have, such as purpose of trip breakdown and tourism indicators. Be clear on what the destination is prepared to do to contribute to a route’s success - not just cost mitigation but traffic generation as well.

How important is it for airports and tourism authorities to work collaboratively, when proposing a new route?

It is critically important for destination stakeholders to work together, not just tourism authorities and airports but other relevant stakeholders as well e.g. hoteliers and civi aviation authorities. Consistent feedback from airlines tells us that they want destinations to work as a team rather than individual entities.

What are some of the most common mistakes made during presentations at World Routes?

Presentations are often too long, with organisations trying to include more information than they can realistically present in a 20-minute meeting. There is also a tendency for delegates to spend the entire presentation delivering information, rather than engaging in a two-way discussion and listening to feedback from the airline they are presenting to.

Airports often tend to focus on the airport itself or show unrealistic catchment areas, presenting the catchment of the total population within a given drive time from the airport, ignoring the presence of competitive airports. It is more beneficial for airports and destinations to identify and discuss the potential market for that airline.

Has the information that airlines need to consider a new route changed at all in recent years?

Low-cost carriers have changed the requirements over the years, as some tend to place more focus on airport and destination incentives and less on market data and traffic forecasts.

Do you have any advice for creating a memorable presentation?

Presentations should be concise and visually engaging, containing data of relevance to that airline. Delegates should avoid including large tables of data, which are difficult to digest, instead utilising easy to read charts to demonstrate statistical information. Furthermore, airports and destinations should endeavour to create tailored presentations, highlighting information that is relevant to that particular airline audience.