January’s – ‘The Positivity Issue’ – Download Now
We spoke to Terry Daly, Etihad’s Executive Director Guest Experience, Brand Marketing to find out more about how they are ensuring safe travel through the Etihad Wellness programme
‘Etihad Wellness’ is the airline’s expanded and comprehensive health and hygiene programme and customer guide. This builds on the stringent measures already put in place by Etihad to deal with COVID-19. The programme is championed by specially trained Wellness Ambassadors, a first in the industry, who provide essential travel health information and care so guests can fly with greater peace of mind.
How do you set yourself and your team up for a positive day?
I wake up earlier than I need to, so I can take my time in the mornings. I like to start my day sitting out on the balcony with a cup of coffee and catching up on the day’s news – both world news and from friends and family overseas. I get to work around 7:45 ready for the day ahead.
I’m a generally a positive person and spend time walking around the office to connect whenever I can. I would certainly say that positivity is contagious and it’s good to keep that spirit within the team. For our communications team, we start the day with a quick Microsoft Teams call to touch base, update each other on the latest news, and make sure we’re all feeling informed and connected.
This year has been a challenge, what positives have come to light this year either for you personally or Etihad?
I can certainly agree, it’s been a challenging year. I joined Etihad on 1st March. Three weeks later the airline was grounded, the country was in lockdown and we were all working from home. We very quickly took advantage of the technology solutions available to us, and I’m amazed at how well we worked together as a team in planning the restart of the airline. We quickly adapted to working online, and I have no doubt that the use of technology and new style of teamwork is something that will last.
What is at the heart of Etihad’s DNA as a brand?
Emirati hospitality is at the heart of our brand. That’s why every Etihad experience is an embodiment of a warm Abu Dhabi welcome — thoughtful, exceptional, and open to all.
We bring the world to Abu Dhabi by helping guests choose experiences that are meaningful to them and promote greater wellness and sustainability for our global community.
With Emirati hospitality at our core, Etihad makes sure guests always feel embraced and at home with us, no matter where they’re headed.
Tell us about the ‘Etihad Wellness’ programme and who you chose as Wellness Ambassadors
Wellbeing on board has always been important to us, but in these extreme times, we took extra care to listen to our guests and our frequent flyers to hear their concerns about flying in the post-pandemic era.
It became clear that of course, everyone needs to know about all the procedures a company is putting in place, like social distancing, staff training, regular cleaning and sanitisation to name a few. However, it also became clear that there was a need to be able to ask questions and seek reassurance. The design and launch of the Etihad Wellness programme was the result. It’s there to reassure travellers that it is safe to fly with Etihad. For added reassurance and care, we introduced Wellness Ambassadors who are there to provide guidance and wellness advice at every stage of the journey. Our Ambassadors can be contacted through live webchat before travel, at the airport or onboard.
We have a dedicated Wellness Ambassador on every flight, and they are supported by the entire crew. Initially, we asked our Cabin Crew to volunteer to become Wellness Ambassadors, but then we quickly trained every member of the crew to make sure that everyone would deliver the same, exceptional standards. You will however always find a dedicated Wellness Ambassador on every flight.
You’re laser-focused on wellness at every level from culinary hygiene to cabin deep cleaning. Why was implementing this so important to the brand?
Laser-focused is a great way to put it. We talk about wellness every day, and we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to make our guest experience even smarter.
We’ve always prided ourselves on our reputation in the industry, and we quickly understood that getting wellness ‘right’, would be important to our brand. We owe it to our customers to ensure that an Etihad aircraft is as safe as it can be. This is why we’re the only airline in the world currently making sure that 100% of our guests show a negative COVID-19 test before boarding, and retest again on arrival in Abu Dhabi.
We want our guests to think of Etihad and feel confident that they are in safe hands.
What effect have you seen from launching this to date and what do you expect to see throughout 2021?
The response has been overwhelmingly positive, both from the industry who have recognised our efforts and from our guests.
In the regular surveys we do, 93 per cent of our guests have given us a positive rating on our wellness initiatives. This is something that we’re really proud of.
As a brand, how do you approach client retention?
It’s fair to say that our guests are at the heart of the decisions we make and everything we do.
We operate the Etihad Guest loyalty programme as a way of recognising and rewarding our loyal customers. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve focused on making sure these Etihad Guest members are really well looked after.
One of the most attractive parts of an airline’s loyalty programme is the ability to use miles to buy flights or to upgrade an existing booking. That’s not so easy when there is a lockdown, a much smaller schedule, and travel restrictions across the globe.
This issue is ‘The Positivity Issue’ – how do you stay positive as a brand?
There is a saying, ‘never waste a good crisis’, and we’ve heard this mentioned a few times this year at Etihad. The pandemic has been really hard on the industry and it goes without saying that we are deeply saddened by the effect it has had. However, in the spirit of positivity, we have looked for an opportunity.
When most of our fleet was grounded earlier in the year, we used the opportunity to completely refresh our entire fleet, so that when you next step onboard an Etihad aircraft it should look and feel brand new.
Innovation is also in our DNA, and instead of waiting to follow the industry, we stay positive by taking the lead. We’re really confident about the Etihad experience and the Etihad Wellness proposition and feel this is something we can deliver with pride and positivity.
January’s – ‘The Positivity Issue’ – Download Now
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