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Five Minutes With Adem Ceylan, VP Marketing & Sales, ME, Turkish Airlines

Five Minutes With Adem Ceylan, VP Marketing & Sales, ME, Turkish Airlines

Adem Ceylan says the carrier has earmarked a budget of $180 million this year for commercials and promotions.

What are your key marketing strategies for 2014?

Under our ‘Widen your World’ motto, we focus on three key pillars for long term growth. Firstly, bridging the world through our advantageous geographic hub in Istanbul. Our connections between Europe and Asia and the growing popularity of Turkey as a holiday and business destination are propelling the growth of the airline. Secondly, we aim to surpass our passenger’s expectations when it comes to our offering. Travelling has become more than just a matter of getting from one place to another, it’s about the experience, and through upgrading our fleet, enhancing our on-board offering and lounge facilities, we aim to create memorable experiences which leads to our third key pillar of service and encouraging brand loyalty.

How do you plan to achieve these targets?

In addition to global investments made by Turkish Airlines in upgrading its fleet and services, the carrier caters to its customers’ requirements on a local level by rolling out campaigns targeted at travellers from the across the region. For example, our recent ‘Ramadan in Istanbul’ campaign offered competitive flight offers for visitors to experience Istanbul during the Holy Month. We will once again be running a ‘Winter in Turkey’ campaign to highlight the growing leisure appeal of Turkey’s winter leisure destinations.

Any estimates of your marketing spend in 2013/2014?

On an international level, our budget for commercials and promotions this year was $180 million, but according to the direction of the airline’s management, it’s not all about the money. We reach our international customers through the popularity of working with global sporting legends like Kobe and Messi, who together featured in one of our most popular video commercials. Now, we are reconnecting to our local audience through our latest TV commercials, which feature a group of young kids in a small Anatolian village.

Is Turkish Airlines planning new routes to and from the Middle East this year?

By the end of 2014, we will have added 20 new global destinations to Turkish Airlines network. In the Middle East, we have increased our frequencies from existing destinations, and will continue to work with this strategy to meet the seat demands from the Gulf. As part of Turkish Airlines’ planned expansion, we have also increased frequencies to Sabiha Airport in Istanbul, on the Asian side of the city.

Are you looking at expanding into Dubai World Central?

Currently Turkish Airlines’ cargo division operates one flight out of Dubai World Central and the carrier’s cargo division continues to witness increased business from the UAE. Our strategy for the UAE is to continue building on popularity of flights from Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport. However, flights from DWC are a future possibility.

With Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways expanding throughout the globe, competition is growing for Turkish Airlines. How do you stand out from the rest and lure customers?

With an advantageous geographical hub between East and West, Turkish Airlines is well poised to continue its fast growth momentum, particularly combined with the efforts to increase Turkey’s tourism sector. While the Gulf carriers are also witnessing growth and success, we have different catchment areas, so even though there will always be competition we mostly complement each other.

Istanbul is also competing with cities such as Dubai and Doha to become a global aviation hub. How can the Turkish city beat regional rivals?

Istanbul has fast become a major hub stopover for international flights, connecting the entire world, as well as Europe to Asia. Our hub caters to different catchment areas from other global aviation centres across the Middle East.

What other challenges do you face in the region?

Our main challenge is sustaining the fast growth we have experienced from the MENA region. We want to continue to grow but also to meet and surpass the expectations of our passengers.

Will you be hiring this year?

We are consistently looking for motivated and likeminded creative individuals to join our international team, so yes, we will continue to hire and also promote from within the company.

Define success in five words

Goals, Motivation, Trust, Growth and Reward… but actually success is different for everyone and every business. It’s impossible to define success but I suppose ultimately meeting or surpassing goals or challenges would be a simple definition.

In my spare time I like to…

Spend time with family, explore new places and enjoy the wealth of experiences available on our doorstep in Turkey. Travelling is my passion, and a key part of my job, so in my spare time it is a privilege to be able to explore our home country, a place that has become one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the world.

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