Estonian Air begins Social media Loyalty Program

Estonian Air has launched a new social loyalty programme for its customers and fans, aiming to reward customers for not only flying the airline but also for being strong advocates online. This way Estonian Air creates history in loyalty marketing, being the first airline in the world launching social loyalty programme.

Estonian Air is the first airline in the world to launch a social media loyalty programme fully-powered by social media and using the underlying Facebook platform. Estonian Air customers and fans can be rewarded for a variety of advocacy actions, like sharing their reviews of the airline on Facebook and tweeting a deal about the airline.

 This is the first time in the world where customers will be rewarded for advocacy without even having to fly the airline.

This is a bold and ground breaking move, as a heavy social media user who likes discussing airlines, I always wonder at times whether am creating any value for myself in discussing an airline and its various offers; here's an airline that understands the value of positive social media vibe in improving an airline's brand image and rewards users for enhancing its brand image. People still use social media, especially Twitter to get information about an airline and determine whether they will buy a ticket based on that information. While many of my choices in air travel this year have been determined by necessity rather than social media, constant vibe about some airlines' quality services make me wish when I could fly with those airlines. An airline's brand image is enhanced when users find positive vibe in their timeline every time they log in to Twitter. It's something that's eventually embedded in the psyche of the traveler. I wonder whether on the contrary, this promotion might lead to numerous fake reviews by social media users just to earn a few points!

Airlines are trying to find ways to make air travel more attractive and rewarding for even those who aren’t frequent flyers. The future of airline loyalty is now a pressing question given to the growth of social technologies. In this field Estonian Air is working together with SimpliFlying, the world leaders in helping airlines engage customer profitably.

“Today 88% of frequent flyers use Facebook and they are twice as active as ordinary Facebook users. Over 70% of them would like to be part of a social loyalty programme too. Estonian Air’s pioneering effort in this field will intensify a pool of advocates for engaging with the airline online. The lessons learned from this can potentially change the course of airline loyalty programmes globally,” says Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying.

“In addition to rewarding and sharing recognition to our fans and customers, we also see it is an innovative way to bring Estonian Air and Estonia to the world map. Estonia is a small market and in order to provide good connections at reasonable price for Estonians, the airline needs to also attract connecting traffic from outside Estonia. Social Media is one of the most effective ways to market and promote brands across the borders,” said Tero Taskila, the CEO of Estonian Air.

Foursquare recently announced a growth of 3,400%, signed up its 6 millionth user, and that nearly 381.6 million people checked in worldwide – all in 2010. A study conducted by social networking site myYearbook reported that 81% of respondents said they received advice from friends and followers relating to a product purchase through a social site and 74% of those who received such advice found it to be influential in their own decisions. These are the trends Estonian Air aims to capitalize upon.

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