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28 February 2022
How Virgin Galactic is building a space travel brand
Virgin Galactic, a firm providing consumer access to space travel, is seeking to develop a brand proposition which can tempt individuals to spend $450,000 on tickets and build longer-term relationships.
Last year, Virgin Galactic received US government approval for its commercial launch. It also successfully undertook two crewed space flights which showed off its product and the kind of experience awaiting would-be customers.
“The enormous media and consumer response to these flights reinforced our belief that demand for space travel will outstrip supply for the foreseeable future,” Michael Colglazier, Virgin Galactic’s president/CEO, said on a call with investors.
What happens next
Virgin Galactic officially unveiled its consumer brand in February 2021, and made 1,000 tickets available to the public. Approximately 250 are left to be purchased.
Each seat costs $450,000, with a $150,000 deposit and a non-refundable $25,000 in “membership fees”.
The brand anticipates demand will far outstrip supply for its initial round of tickets, meaning it has a strong list of likely future passengers.
“We will build a highly qualified reservation pipeline of future customers through a priority list, with a $10,000 deposit required to join,” Colglazier said.
Marketing a new experience
Earned and digital media, as well as word of mouth, are expected to “supply the top of the funnel of new prospects,” he continued.
Customer-relationship management and sales processes will help the brand “filter” this clientele.
Blair Rich, Virgin Galactic’s recently-appointed president/chief business officer for commercial and consumer operations, will lead sales, marketing and customer experience.
Tapping the power of membership
The brand’s membership program – including events, trips, activities and experiences across the globe – is applied to all passengers.
Previous events have spanned a trip to Antarctica and journeying to Necker Island, Idaho to view a solar eclipse.
Other select benefits are exclusive access to Spaceport America in New Mexico, the chance to enjoy zero-gravity flights and VIP passes to launches.
“We expect the high affinity that comes from these members to translate into repeat visitation, numerous referrals and extensive lifetime customer value,” Colglazier said.