Southwest Airlines is a popular budget airline that serves the Southwest region of the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas it is known for its low-cost, no-frills approach to air travel.
The Southwest Airlines target market is primarily leisure travelers within the western states of the country. The airline has been successful in appealing to this demographic by offering low fares and a relaxed atmosphere onboard its flights.
In recent years with all businesses looking to cut the cost of travel, Southwest Airlines has seen its popularity amongst business travelers grow as well.
In this article, we’ll study the Southwest Airlines target market and understand the types of people who choose to fly this airline and the circumstances under which they do so.
Who is the Southwest Airlines Target Market?
People who choose to travel by air have many different airline options to choose from. Southwest Airlines is one such option, especially for people traveling to, from or within the western United States.
One of the best ways to understand the Southwest Airlines target market is to segment this market based on the type of passengers that use it and then study the needs, wants, motivations and drivers of each of these segments.
The Southwest Airlines target market can be divided into the following customer segments:
- Single Travelers
- Families with small children
- Group Travelers
- Elderly Travelers
- Business Travelers
- Leisure Travelers
Let’s look closely at each of these segments of potential customers of Southwest Airlines.
#1. Single Travelers
Single travelers are people who are traveling alone. They may be doing so for business or leisure reasons, but they do not have any companions with them on the flight.
Single Travelers are typically looking for the quickest and most convenient way to travel. For short-haul travel, they are often willing to forgo the amenities and services that come with flying first or business class in order to save time and money.
Southwest Airlines offers these travelers a no-frills, low-cost option for air travel.
#2. Families with small children
Families with small children are a key target market for airlines. These families are often looking for flights that offer good value for money, as they are often traveling on smaller budgets per head than single travelers.
This makes a low-cost airline like Southwest an attractive option for families going on holiday or visiting family over short distances and also over short timeframes.
#3. Group Travelers
Group travelers are people who are traveling together in a group. They may be doing so for business or leisure, but they usually have at least one other person with them on the flight. Group travelers can be attracted to package deals including flight, hotel and meals, and will often book through travel agencies.
When people travel in a group, decisions about which airline to fly are often made by the person who is organizing the trip or a travel agency or a tour operator.
So, while the members of the travel group are a Southwest Airlines target market, they may not be the ones who choose Southwest as the airline of choice for their trip.
#4. Elderly Travelers
Elderly travelers tend to prefer comfort if they can afford it. Sometimes they require special assistance getting to and from the aircraft and across the airport. Elderly travelers also tend to travel less and so may be willing to spend more on flights that offer a better experience.
Having said that, given a choice most elderly travelers will prefer to fly Southwest Airlines because it offers good value for money. For those living on a fixed income, like a pension, Southwest’s low fares can make air travel possible where it otherwise might not be.
#5. Business Travelers
Business travelers are people who travel for work and make up a growing segment of the Southwest Airlines target market. They often have strict schedules to keep and need to book flights that offer the most convenient departure and arrival times.
However, with a tightening of corporate budgets, many business travelers are now being asked to fly low-cost carriers like Southwest instead of other airlines that may offer a more comfortable or luxurious experience.
Business travelers are often willing to sacrifice some comfort for the sake of saving their company money.
#6. Leisure Travelers
Leisure travelers are people who are traveling for leisure or pleasure and they constitute a major segment of the Southwest Airlines target market.
Leisure travelers look for flights that offer good value for money, as they often travel on a budget. They also tend to have more time on their hands and are not as restricted by schedules as are business travelers.
The exception to this is when leisure travelers are also small families in which case, they may have travel date restrictions related to school holidays.
Leisure travelers are often attracted to destinations that offer a good mix of culture, relaxation, and nightlife. They may also look for flights that offer stopovers in interesting places so they can explore more places during the same trip.
Leisure travelers are a big Southwest Airlines target market because Southwest flies to interesting locations and often has good deals on flights.
The Southwest Airlines target market includes a wide range of people looking for a reliable and comfortable flying experience.
Southwest Airlines offers low prices and a no-frills experience which can be attractive to different groups of travelers.
People who fly on Southwest can be segmented into different categories like single travelers, families, groups, business travelers, and leisure travelers. Out of these, leisure travelers make the bulk of the Southwest Airlines target market.