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Author Topic: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer  (Read 791 times)

Offline Sanabas

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This one isn't actually all that well thought out. Just occured to me while talking about the difficulty or lack of it with building an airline currently.

I think one of the biggest things that either kills new airlines, or cripples their growth to the point that they end up significantly behind, is the general marketing budget. It's not at all obvious to a new player that its a bad thing, that its why their airline isn't working. But it's not unusual to pick up a mentoring request, and see that the new airline has gone with a world marketing campaign, eating up 25% or more of their early revenue, making the difference between 300k/week profit and 500k/week losses. Some airlines survive it, and then prosper, just with a slower expansion than they could have had. Many airlines BK.

Making the consequences of marketing clearer could help. That those big campaigns are pointless in the first few months, because it won't increase CI any faster, it will only have it stop at a higher plateau. It's one of those counter-intuitive things with the game that can make an enormous difference.

Could also be fixed by tweaking the system slightly, though I'm less of a fan of saving people from themselves through restrictions, much prefer teaching them to play better. But something like no matter what campaign you actually have, your general marketing will be capped at 10% of the previous week's revenue for the first 6 months or year, that'd still let all the well-run airlines grow their CI at their normal pace, it would prevent new startups from quickly killing themselves.

brique

  • Former member
Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2014, 05:28:39 AM »
I agree, marketing is an issue : one of the things that caught me badly in my first games was the way it increases itself as you expand : so from your initial decision @ 'okay, 25k per week looks fine for campaign A', a few planes arrive, as they do in the early days, and that 25k jumps up to cash-bleeding proportions without any warning.

I think one of the distractions/confusions is the styling of campaigns : city, regional, worldwide and TV, radio, etc: which are all meaningless anyway as its the amount spent that matters, not anything else.

Rather than having a cap, per se : I'd be more in favour of being able to set a '% of turnover'-style budget : early days, as mentioned, roughly 10% does the job of kicking off CI growth well enough : as the airline settles into its growth phase then the player can choose to accelerate CI growth, or, if happy with a lower level, more suitable for local/regional outfits, throttle it back a % or two.

This way, marketing spend would follow airline growth and allow for more subtle choices, currently its dump a whole campaign or start a new one, either of which is a bit  of a blunt weapon with long-term consequences that are difficult to judge when the actual weekly cost can change radically overnight with the scheduling of a few planes.

dasherhalo

  • Former member
Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2014, 05:35:35 AM »
Not sure if artificial limits are the way - feels a little too like "training wheels" to me. Even for a beginner, it sounds too automated. Yet another nail in Darwin's coffin!

However, another line somewhere on the Dashboard, showing last weeks percentage of marketing-to-turnover, so that players have that info handy seems like a good idea. It makes the info available easily, and feels less like hand-holding. What the player chooses to do with that info is totally up to them. If they don't understand it, they can search the rules and forums.

Sure - it's not hard to calculate it manually, but hey, we pay our staff heaps - surely it's not too much to expect a brief report every week ;)


brique

  • Former member
Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2014, 06:17:50 AM »
Its not hand-holding, more a case of what business writes an open cheque to its advertising agency and says : 'just get me to x amount  of coverage' : not many, I'd say. On marketing in AWS, the decision on how much to spend is coming from the wrong end as the game itself increases your 'budget' regardless of your current financial position, and the base decision gets made (what campaigns to run) when you can have little to no idea of where that 'budget' will be when your fleet doubles from 5 to 10, then again to 20, and so on. Once established, the marketing budget is less of a problem to deal with as your financial 'cushion' fattens a bit : but early game, it can be a killer as any fix (add or drop a campaign) still carries that 'open cheque'. Its a blunt weapon as, early game, you are limited in the number of campaigns you can run, so adding the wrong one can waste money and push you into the financial mire, dropping the wrong one can nose-dive your CI.

As above : a simple sliding scale '% of turnover' choice would allow for much finer tuning of your marketing budget : the consequences of your choice would be clearer : falling CI, not enough : rising CI, way to go : it would allow for 'blitz' campaigns to take advantage of spare cash : a quick CI boost, then drop back a bit : or for cash-saving in those awkward weeks that can crop up as planes arrive and slots eat up the dollars when scheduling.

I'd suggest such a method would add to the game, even for 'pros' ,as the possibilities for managing marketing more efficiently open up, or just choose to set a % and leave it run with an occasional look over and tweak, as suits.

Offline Sanabas

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Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2014, 06:43:48 AM »
Its a blunt weapon as, early game, you are limited in the number of campaigns you can run, so adding the wrong one can waste money and push you into the financial mire, dropping the wrong one can nose-dive your CI.

Not just that, but it's reasonably common to see the initial small-looking campaign suddenly jump to airline-bleeding proportions, with you having no way to cancel it, because you no longer have the cash to actually pay the cancellation fee.

That'd also be a potentially simple fix while leaving the current marketing setup intact: Remove the cancellation fee when redoing campaigns, or waive it for the first x months of an airline's life, or waive it if an airline is below x cash.

% of turnover/revenue is just a rule of thumb. 10% of revenue for airline A won't automatically reach the same plateau as 10% of revenue for airline B. A longhaul airline, with higher revenue and less destinations will get a lot more benefit than a regional airline with 100+ destinations but most of the routes only being 50 pax. My big airlines regularly sit at 90 CI with under 10% of revenue, even as low as 5%, going to marketing. My turboprop airline in NAC couldn't get the CI above 30 even when spending 15% of revenue on marketing.

Just went and found old numbers: http://www.airwaysim.com/forum/index.php/topic,42466.msg231951.html#msg231951
233 destinations with a biggish, LH airline with 200+ million/week revenue: 3% of revenue = 6.3 million = 90 CI
125 destinations with a regional turboprop airline with ~20 million/week revenue: 10%+ (and eventually 15%) = 2.4 million = 30 CI

They were in reasonably similar gameyears, not sure what the actual campaigns were.

brique

  • Former member
Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014, 09:15:51 AM »
Agree, bang-per-buck varies from airline-type to type, and also seems to vary country to country : which makes choosing your initial Day#1 campaigns difficult even for experienced players, for new players, its pot luck. they can see their CI rising but wont always know if they are spending at the right level, or too much and wasting most. We have to remember, all that early RI spending is also distorting the CI figure and overall spend : so, I dont know what chance exists of a new player has of truly understanding what they are doing with marketing decisions.

Offline AndreiX

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Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2014, 11:14:21 AM »
The current marketing campaign "wizard" is actually great! To be honest I do not identify the same problems as you do.
If you go back to the drawing board with this you will actually make the game easier again. The manager of each company is the deciding factor. He sets the budget as available and he is not obliged to set the campaigns for long periods of time just to avoid the dealbraker fees. Never when I started a company (from the beginning or midgame) have set any long term campaigns just because my marketing budget was growing each month. It is easy to take a second and think: I have earned 1 mil in profit last month (don't forget to add the last marketing campaign costs), I need marketing because of competition (or not), so I can spend 200k from my profit. Now look what campaigns did you use last month, how did they work for your company and select new campaigns for the next month.
The problem that I have with marketing is not that it is too hard for beginers, but is that it's too easy for big companyes. Once you start earning a lot of money and you reach 100% in CI, you just maintain... Actually, this should decrease on several ocasions because of incidents, accidents, ticket price increases, maybe hate campaigns from competitors (some countrys permit this), delays, cancellations, and so on. This way it will get harder for bigger companies too... The current decrease policy is not very rich in events and it can be avoided.
Still, in MT, when fuel peaks it is hard for everyone, so it is sitting on an edge... You actually have to interact with your campaigns and not just let them be.

Offline LotusAirways

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Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2014, 11:56:52 AM »
"But it's not unusual to pick up a mentoring request, and see that the new airline has gone with a world marketing campaign, eating up 25% or more of their early revenue"

Hi Sanabas,
I don't see any issue with this. The issue to me is the player/manager, who is managing without looking at the financials. At present the financial page replicates reality with some minor exceptions.

1- The marketing page shows how much the campaign will cost;
2- and the expenses show up on the income page. A simple mental calculation is enough to understand that 1/4 of the revenue is going into marketing campaigns...

Again, the issue is the player, not the system.
LA  
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 12:02:19 PM by LotusAirways »

ucfknightryan

  • Former member
Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2014, 01:35:55 PM »
"But it's not unusual to pick up a mentoring request, and see that the new airline has gone with a world marketing campaign, eating up 25% or more of their early revenue"

Hi Sanabas,
I don't see any issue with this. The issue to me is the player/manager, who is managing without looking at the financials. At present the financial page replicates reality with some minor exceptions.

1- The marketing page shows how much the campaign will cost;
2- and the expenses show up on the income page. A simple mental calculation is enough to understand that 1/4 of the revenue is going into marketing campaigns...

Again, the issue is the player, not the system.
LA  

WRT 1 the page shows how much the campaign will cost at the moment, with the current number of destinations you have.  So when you are a new airline and you double your number of routes frequently (because the number of routes is low) that cost can spiral upwards rapidly, without it being immediately obvious to a newbie that it is doing so.

Offline LotusAirways

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Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2014, 02:33:30 PM »
Hi Ryan,
Point taken. I also learned (by looking at the income statement, not by going bankrupt) the hard way. A simple mention on the manual, repeated on the Office - Marketing page will do the job

LA

BD

  • Former member
Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2014, 04:38:48 PM »
Not just that, but it's reasonably common to see the initial small-looking campaign suddenly jump to airline-bleeding proportions, with you having no way to cancel it, because you no longer have the cash to actually pay the cancellation fee.
Happened to me in JA8...and my airline was not so new...once the cash crunch happened not being able to cancel contributed to a death spiral.  :P

I found the campaign structure convoluted, and agree that it obscures the relationship between amount spent, CI growth (or RI), number of routes/aircraft, etc..  For noobs, unless there are published tables that report these, there is no way of knowing unless they/we experience them directly themselves.  The Manual is murky, at best, about this.

That said, if anything, it would be nice to have a grace period, even if it were only for 24-48 RL hours to be able to switch campaigns or to cancel at a reduced penalty fee.  If longer than 24-48 hours, tie it to the number of hours of game time (age of airline/s) that the player has played on AWS might be reasonable to give noobs some flexibility.

I don't favor a cap, but instead would prefer to be able to set the nominal amount directly and three values calculated from that and displayed, along with change from previous week:  1)  Spend per current seat flown amount, 2) Per current CI amount, and 3) Percentage of current operating revenue.  Since these three will be different for each airline type (mix of LH vs SH), they should provide a general sense as to the affordability and effectiveness.  Alternatively, the player sets the percentage of current operating revenue to allow the amount to grow as the airline grows in revenue (vs other factors that cause the spend to grow faster than revenue today in AWS), which might help lower the administrative aspect of this. 

Along with that, better than a grace period, a player should not have to commit to a campaign but be able to dynamically adjust the amount spent on marketing.  If there is a penalty/fee for each adjustment after it is saved, fine.  This may be less IRL simulation, but perhaps better for gameplay, IMHO.

This mechanism (and indicators) with the grace period/dynamic settings will go a long way in helping noobs understand the relationships and in seeing the impact of their decisions while leaving the door open for them to change their minds.  ;D

I would also like to see the same mechanism applied to both geographic areas (what I assume might have been the original intent with the current marketing structure) and to specific routes. But that is beyond the scope of this request.  ;)







Offline ezzeqiel

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Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2014, 11:23:43 PM »
I don't see this as counter-intuitive...

Seems pretty logical to me that you cannot embark on a global marketing campaign with a 2 planes airline...


Maybe a "warning" sign can be added when adding a marketing campaign, stating that marketing costs will raise automatically following plane and destinations growth...

BD

  • Former member
Re: A change to marketing to hopefully stop it being an airline-killer
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2014, 01:16:21 AM »
I don't see this as counter-intuitive...

Seems pretty logical to me that you cannot embark on a global marketing campaign with a 2 planes airline...
Except for when you are brand new to the game and don't know how it all works. 

Just because something has a label "global" does not mean it carries any meaning...it is the dollar cost that is relevant. 

Your example might be extreme for the cost vs two aircraft it represents, but the point of the feature request originates from real experience in mentoring that people don't find it obvious. 

 

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