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Gift certificates as advertisingGift certificates as advertising

Don’t be afraid to give ‘em away

All flight schools should have gift certificates that they can sell to customers who have a special person to whom they want to give the gift of flight. A gift certificate is a great idea for holidays such as Father’s Day, coming up June 18, as well as graduations and birthdays. A computer template can easily customize gift certificates with the name of the recipient and the special occasion. 

Gift certificates also can be a great advertising tool. Not only do you have them to sell to your customers, but as give a ways to promote local events. Many events are going on in your community that are looking for donations, such as marathon running events, fundraising raffles, and contests. Your flight school can donate introductory flight gift certificates that the event organizers will appreciate and recognize them as valuable contributions. Your donation means you will be listed as a sponsor and receive recognition as such. Thus, your donation of gift certificates is a public relations and advertising tool for your flight school that will pay dividends to you.

Additionally, your donated gift certificate is advertised in promotional material for the event. The gift certificate stimulates conversation about flying among the participants, family members, and spectators. When you donate services to community events, you are recognized as a supporter of community activities. This gets your name out into the community and in front of your competition.

Only about 25 percent of the donated gift certificates are redeemed at the flight school. People who come back are really interested in flying and are great candidates for private pilot instruction. This constitutes a self-screening of interest and further enhances the wisdom of your donation. Typically half these folks will enroll in flight training, and with proper nurturing they will complete the private pilot course. After the private pilot certificate, you have a renter pilot and instrument student candidate.

Never be afraid to give away introductory flight gift certificates. The benefits will be returned many fold. Gift certificates are inexpensive advertising, considering you pay only for the actual costs associated with operating the airplane and paying your flight instructor.     

Ed Helmick has been a flight instructor since 1988. He formerly managed a flight school in Spanish Fork, Utah, as well as schools in Scottsdale, Arizona.     

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