Grupo SATA, an airline founded in 1941 to end the isolation of the Azores, had over the decades grown to become a full-fledged international carrier. However, SATA’s North American market consisted largely of Portuguese and Azorean expatriates, resulting in both a low share of vacation travelers and demand patterns which negatively affected equipment utilization. FTI was engaged to build a complete Brand Strategy and Marketing Communications plan for SATA and to optimally position the Azores as a vacation destination and attract additional vacationers from North America.
Research Rigor and Audience Segmentation: FTI’s research team conducted a survey of U.S. – and Canada-based travelers, utilizing 2400 respondents, from which we derived a full segmentation of North American international vacationers. Of these, three key segments constituting over 30 percent of the market were identified as top targets for SATA based on vacationers’ personal characteristics, needs, and vacation objectives. The survey further identified the destinations currently frequented by these vacationers, their awareness and perception of the Azores vs. current destinations, their approach to vacation planning, and the resonance of different messages.
Evaluating the Opportunity: The survey data was combined with site-visit based information on the Azores tourism infrastructure including hotels, attractions, and intra- and inter-island transportation to evaluate the Azores’ ability to serve the targeted segments, and with external travel demand information to further size and vet the opportunity.
Developing a Well-Rounded Strategy: Armed with segment size, needs, objectives and approaches to travel planning; awareness and perceptions of the Azores; and information on the Azores’ relative ability to serve these segments, FTI developed an optimized positioning for the Azores, a communications and marketing plan, key messages and recommendations for the development of infrastructure and service elements of the Azores.