Edelweiss Crew Pitch: Behind the Scenes

In January 2019, Retail inMotion and Edelweiss joined forces to launch a unique crew engagement idea: The Edelweiss Crew Pitch. Edelweiss crew members were invited to submit product ideas based on their customer service experience.

On the day, a jury consisting of three Retail inMotion employees and one potential supplier, had the task of evaluating the crew pitches. Now that the winning product can be found on board, we sat down with a few of those involved. Paulina Otto, Junior Project Manager, Anthony Carson, Crew Engagement Manager Global and Patrick Heitmeyer, Crew Engagement Manager Europe, gave insights into the event, the behind the scenes processes, the evaluation of the individual crew pitches and what it took to place the winning product on board.

But before we begin, let’s have a look at the behind the scenes video:

 

What a cool and unique project! How did this Crew Pitch idea start?

A.C.: When it comes to knowing about the latest Products and Gadgets and what Customers like, our Cabin Crew are the experts. But what if there was a gap in the market? A product that was still to be developed? Or the next big thing? How good would our Cabin Crew be at taking an idea and turning it into reality. That was the thought that inspired our Edelweiss Crew Pitch.

What was your first reaction when you preselected the crew pitch applications? How did the ideas make the cut?

P.H.: Excitement. It happened to be my first week at Retail inMotion and I thought this was such a cool project. We had received over a dozen applications and a wide range of ideas, including cosmetics, children’s toys, memorabilia and accessories. After a quick fact check, it was clear that all ideas had the potential to be listed on board.

However, a few “conditions” needed to be met in order to make the first cut. First, does the idea add to the product variation onboard? Second, how unique is the product and how well would the customers receive it? Third, for practicality reasons, the items need to fit into a drawer onboard our carts. Last, does it include the crucial “holiday character” of Edelweiss? The ideas that matched these criteria the most were invited to the Edelweiss Crew Pitch event.

We received so many ideas despite it being such a unique project. During the event, it was amazing to see how much work and effort crew members put into their ideas and how well-prepared they were

Tell us something about the day of the event.

P.O.: The day took place at a location that could not be a better fit for this industry, at Runway 34, with a beautifully retired aircraft (IL-14, Red 21) right at the center of it. The crew had an area to prepare, were provided drinks and nibbles and performed interviews before their pitch.

P.H.: The pitches took place in a separate room where our film team from Dublin had “built” a proper set-up to create a TV show character. One by one, the crew members were asked to enter the room and pitch their idea. 15 minutes was the cut-off time. All this helped create a slightly dramatic atmosphere.

P.O.: Exactly, we could see the crew members were quite a bit nervous and all of them performed a great pitch. Once they left the room, I could see how relieved and proud they looked.

P.H.: At the end, the judges sat together to select the winning pitch. We then gathered all crew members and announced the winner. Then we moved on to the casual part, a Swiss Apero, which is drinks and finger food.

P.O.: A great way to end the day!

What did the winning product have that others didn’t?

P.H.: The winning product had the best mix of all criteria we looked for. The crew had done a great job in researching production costs, provided numerous sample products for the judges to inspect, and simply build a solid case for the product. While all products had that mix, it was that product that appeared most “doable” to place on board.

How was the process of turning the idea into a real product on board?

P.O.: After the winning product was chosen, the “real” work started. Together with the crew member, the product’s core features were identified. The goal was to produce a product the crew member could identify with, but which is also attractive and useful for the passenger. After the crew’s idea had been made clear, it was put down on paper and communicated to a few suitable suppliers. We had a few challenges with finding and choosing the right supplier, as we were working with limitations like quantities, weight restrictions, the EU product regulations and a budget.

In the end, we managed to find one supplier and the final product was sent to Zürich. It is now available on board. 

As a crew incentive, the goal is always to keep motivating crews and creating a platform to recognize and reward a job well done

What does it mean for a crew member to win this competition?

P.H.: Motivation and recognition. These were the goals that were previously decided. As a crew incentive, the goal is always to keep motivating crews and creating a platform to recognize and reward a job well done.

What did you like most about this competition?

P.H.: The most valuable aspect of this event was the close interaction with the crew members. From the beginning, we could see that they liked the idea. Hence, we received so many ideas despite it being such a unique project. During the event, it was amazing to see how much work and effort crew members put into their ideas and how well-prepared they were. Every crew member was 100% ready!

P.O.: The result: a crew idea has made it aboard Edelweiss. What a great story for all those involved.