Melanie Nambiar
Melanie is Mintel's Southeast Asia Trends Analyst based in the Kuala Lumpur office, focusing on how intriguing innovations and thought-provoking regulations impact consumer behaviour in the region and vice versa.

Thai Airways is putting 3 million miles points up for grabs for its customers in order to encourage them to stay at home. To grab those points all that is needed is an active frequent flyer membership with Thai Airways and the Stay Home Miles Exchange app on the customer’s smartphone. The app has a simple and intuitive interface and, in order to reward miles, uses geolocation technology to determine if the user is staying at home.

Due to COVID-19, the airline industry has been hit hard as most countries have issued travel advisories or outright bans in order to restrict the spread of the virus. Despite its own suffering, Thai Airways is doing its part to prevent the spread, and the campaign is a clever way to stay connected with its consumers, especially at a time when people are only contacting airline brands for refunds.

Moreover, it gives consumers a bit of hope that travel is not too far away. In fact, Mintel research highlights that almost three out of four Thai consumers say they are prepared to boycott companies that behave unethically. Hence it’ll be important not just for airlines, but for brands across industries to build trust in these difficult times.

Mintel Trend ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ discusses how getting a deal has become a fun and social pursuit. Brands that offer location-based mobile discounts as a means to deliver deals exactly when and where consumers need them will find favour.

For example, Popeyes, a US-based fast casual restaurant chain, is giving away Netflix accounts in exchange for consumers tweeting a picture of their at-home fried chicken order to appeal to consumers stuck in their homes. IKEA Dubai is running a promotion that allows consumers to pay with their time, giving them a discount based on how long they spent travelling to the store.

What we think

In this difficult time, how brands position themselves today will echo throughout the coming years and will set the tone for how consumers view and interact with them moving forward. Even as they evolve, companies and brands must firmly stand by their corporate values and demonstrate their moral stances in genuine ways. Brands that are able to honour this are the ones that will be in the best possible position to support a strong recovery in the future.