Thursday, 16 December 2010
When we speak about social media in the air travel sector and the new channels airlines are opening to engage with their clients we usually think about Twitter, Facebook...but what's been really hot in the internet scene this last year?...coupons! think Groupon and its legion of copycats. Basically, these sites offer a product or service every day at a very discounted rate, the catch is that this deal-of-the-day only applies if a certain number of people sign up for the offering. The concept has proven to be so wildly successful, that 2-year-old Groupon is rumored to have had a $6B acquisition offer from Google!
To see what happens when you apply the coupon concept to air travel we have to go to one of Europe's smallest and most peripheral markets for air travel: Estonia. And it was a resounding success!
Estonian Air, a SAS subsidiary and flag-carrier of the tiny, but internet-savvy, Baltic nation had to stop selling discounted tickets through Cherry.ee when sales started going through the roof, they were planning to sell 2,500 tickets and by the time the promotion stopped more than 6,500 had already been sold. It might not sound like a huge number to some, but if you take into account that Estonian Air has a small fleet made of just 2 Boeing 737-300, 3 Boeing 737-500 and 2 Saab-340 turboprops, you can see how this promotion successfully sold a considerable share of its available capacity...I am sure many other airlines throughout Europe and the rest of the World are looking attentively to the North-Eastern shores of the Baltic!