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Southwest Airlines

This is a research paper on the Southwest Airlines Company. Southwest Airlines is a broad Southwest Airlines and very difficult to narrow. However, we suggest you start by discussing the marketing strategy change of the airline industry. You can have our writers compose your research paper or write your own project by focusing on some of the following important questions:

The dynamics around marketing and pricing decisions Southwest Airlines faced were an important part of who they are today.

  • What is the nature of the marketing situation facing SWA in February 1973?
  • In the research paper summarize their market, financial situation and pricing strategy.
  • What do consumers look for in selecting an airline? What segmentation exists and to what extent do needs and price sensitivity vary for the different segments?
  • What action should SWA take in response to Braniff's February 1, 1973 move?
  • What alternatives does SWA have? Along with pricing, what are some other alternatives?

Southwest Airlines Business Case Study from Paper Masters

In 1993, Southwest Airlines enjoyed a position in the airline industry that other companies could not help but envy. They were the leading airline in passenger boarding and had more than a 70% average market share for city-pairs served. By showing a profit for each of the last 21 years, the airline had accomplished a feat never duplicated by any other airline. The Company was even able to remain profitable during a period when many other airlines were declaring bankruptcy or stopping operations entirely. All of these success factors worked together to give Southwest Airlines the biggest returns of any publicly traded U.S. stock from the periods 1972-1992.

However, it was not only Wall Street who recognized the Company's success. Competitors, seeing an opportunity to enter a potentially profitable market, began to study Southwest Airlines and decided that duplicating its strategy could mean success for them as well. The year 1994 found Southwest Airlines competing with two major airlines, United and Continental, in addition to smaller ones lie Kiwi and Reno Air. These activities raised the eyebrows of stock analysts who became concerned that the Company could not retain its competitive advantage amid the new competitive environment. The value of Southwest Airline's stock dropped. It also prompted concern inside the Company from those who worried that the competition could indeed find success by imitating Southwest's "people" policies and that the Company itself was not getting the most from its own policies.

Company insiders were also right to be concerned that the Company itself was not getting the most in terms of a competitive advantage from its own people due to the Company's growth and success. Success breeds complacency and it is only natural that the larger a company becomes, the harder it is to invoke feelings of family and teamwork amongst all the employees.

Finally the Company was right to be concerned about what would happen once Herb Kelleher was no longer CEO. Companies tend to take on the personality of their leaders and it has indeed been Kelleher's spirit and ideas that has made Southwest Airlines what is today. Could the company's personality be maintained under the leadership of another?

Faced with these issues, Southwest Airlines could choose several options. They could do nothing, change their strategy to fight off the threat posed by United and Continental, or work to fortify and enhance the strategies, policies, and procedures that had made them successful.

It would be a mistake for Southwest Airlines to do nothing in light of the issues that face them. Market leader after market leader have fallen because they did not see the threats facing them. Southwest has the advantage of being able to identify and react to them before they become to massive to overcome. It would also be a mistake for them to change their strategy. It is this strategy that is in fact being copied by the competition in hopes of achieving the success that Southwest has achieved. Instead, the company should focus on itself, making sure that its own people policies are working and that indeed it is their employees that are giving them their competitive advantage. Both United and Continental have problems in these areas, and have yet to realize that without a major cultural change, they may try, but will not be able to have the minds, hearts, and souls of their workers work towards the success that Southwest has achieved.

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