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09/23/2010 Airlines of Facebook: Beyond Promotions


Airlines have soared into Facebook with great energy. JetBlue recently ran its “All You Can Jet” promotion in a Facebook tab, while SouthWest promotes its “Bags Fly Free” campaign.

Two others have taken this to greater heights. Lufthansa just launched a virtual site within Facebook including a booking tool. In doing so, they’re playing catch up with Delta, which created its own Ticket Window app, allowing you to book at trip without ever leaving Facebook.

Kudos to both companies: they integrated their most popular Web tools and functionality into social media, where people can use these easily. But there is a big difference in their approaches.

For Lufthansa, the booking tool, like all of the its features, links you over to the Lufthansa site. Now, it does link you to specific pages, so you don’t waste time finding things. But in doing so, it acts more like a huge, online display ad more than anything else.

Lufthansa1

Delta’s approach is the opposite. It keeps you on Facebook through the entire booking process. This is smart for a couple of reasons:

  • It reduces the risk. By keeping it on Facebook, Delta asks for much less of a browsing commitment from its friends. You know you can quickly and easily get back to your real friends’ stream in click.
  • It encourages imagination. People talk about trips and vacation all the time on Facebook. By including the app right in the social site, Delta lets people take a simple step from fantasizing about a trip to actually checking on real travel dates and costs. It’s easy to go from thinking to doing.
  • Flight tools are about planning. It’s rare that you book a trip the first time you check it online. Usually people check out multiple trips. By including the flight-booking tool within Facebook, Delta has given people an easy first planning experience and first is sometimes strongest.

Delta.Ticket

I find it a little mind-boggling that more airlines aren’t doing this, but I checked most of the major ones and came up empty. 

Delta wins this dogfight, this time. They show a great example of how to integrate online business tools right into the social experience.

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