Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
August 28, 2015: Delta Air Lines, saying it would go beyond traditional stadium signage and related marketing efforts to reach college students, has signed a deal with nine universities nationwide "to embed the airline and its employees in campus and alumni events, academics and career recruiting and counseling, all in an effort to become a lifelong travel partner to future customers."
Beginning with the Fall 2015 semester, Delta will use such activations as having its employees provide hands-on assistance as 10,000 freshmen move into their dorms, create a Delta Celebration Grill at select college football tailgate parties. have a presence during Midnight Madness at the start of the 2015-16 college basketball season and partner with local alumni association chapters to participate in football watch parties.
The universities with which Delta is aligning include Duke, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and University of Wisconsin.
These are in addition to universities with which the airline has existing partnerships, including Boston College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina and Syracuse.
Delta said that it gathered a "team of college seniors (to help gain) direct insight into the needs of its next generation of customers.
"College students are a savvy group of consumers," Jeff Robertson, Delta vp-product development, Sky Clubs and marketing communications, said in a statement. "By creating campus and alumni events that incorporate our people, our unmatched focus on customer service, leadership and more, we will give students and alums the opportunity to really get to know our airline."
"College students are a savvy group of consumers . . . Ultimately, we believe this will position Delta as their trusted partner over a lifetime of travel."
In addition to on-campus events and activities, Delta said it would support select students for study abroad or alternative spring break travel, "allowing students to participate in volunteer activities worldwide."
Delta also plans to be on its partner campuses "showcasing the benefits of a career with the airline while also providing valuable career path lessons to students."
The airline said it worked with media partner, LinkedIn, to gain insight on connections between the airline's existing corporate customers and the colleges and universities from which they graduated.
According to Delta, "That information helped the airline prioritize which universities to approach."
Beyond this fall, Delta said it would explore ways to continue to reach beyond athletics with "opportunities to complement academics with events such as C-level executive summits at select schools and more robust on-campus recruiting programs."
"Ultimately, we believe this will position Delta as their trusted partner over a lifetime of travel," said Robertson.
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