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British Airways aims to increase ticket sales with social sharing app

By
August 16, 2012

British Airways is letting consumers share their flight itineraries and travel plans with friends and family through a new iPhone application.

The app is an extension of the British Airways Perfect Days Facebook app. The app is available for free download from Apple’s App Store.

“Ultimately it is about creating new services for our customers, to enhance their travel experiences,” said Richard Bowden, digital marketing innovation manager at British Airways, Waterside, Britain.

“We know people look for inspiration before and during their trips to different destinations, we wanted to help our community of global travelers by giving them easy-to-view, unique ideas from people who have visited before,” he said.

Mobile travels
The app uses the smartphone’s built-in GPS as a starting point for consumers to share their favorite places.

Consumers can select a city to post guides from their favorite cities. Nine cities in British Airways’ network are available, including Rome, London, Madrid and New York.

Users can then add their favorite individual spots by pinning locations on a Google map of the city. At each location, users can upload photos and reviews.

The app also includes curated lists from each city that consumers can browse through for inspiration on things to do.

Each location can also be shared via SMS to a user’s friends and family. The app sends a text message to users with the exact location that can be viewed either through a mobile phone’s native map app or the British Airways app.

Although the app is not commerce-enabled, a button on the app’s home screen lets consumers book a trip through British Airways mobile site. It is smart to give users the option to book a trip, however the app would be more effective if it kept the experience inside the app via a landing page or commerce feature.

The app syncs with Facebook to let consumers share their travel lists and guides via social media.


The Perfect Days iPhone app

Connected consumers
British Airways has been building up its mobile presence for a while.

In 2010, the airline equipped its Executive Club iPhone app with mobile bar codes to speed up the boarding process (see story).

That same year, British Airways sponsored The London Evening Standard mobile app to let consumers book trips via their devices (see story).

Unlike other airline apps that are focused on driving sales, the Perfect Days iPhone app takes a different route with an emphasis on sharing.

The British Airways app is an example of how marketers can tie together social media with mobile in initiatives with an upfront value. For example, by taking advantage of location, the app serves a specific purpose for users that the Facebook app does not.

“Social media and mobile devices work hand in hand,” Mr. Bowden said.

“If a customer is on vacation they’ll be posting pictures on Facebook and then writing about the trip,” he said. “The mobile device is always with you and this is service enables people to make updates or access ideas on the go, quickly and easily,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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