Southwest Airlines demos video versions of flight confirmation e-mails
Southwest Airlines, which carries more passengers on domestic US routes than any other airline, may begin sending customers video versions of flight confirmation e-mails that confirm details on a flight’s departure time, gate number, and arrival time.
The videos may also attempt to upsell the customer on ancillary services, such as hotel stays.
The proof-of-concept demo—see it, below—includes graphics with the passenger’s name, animation of a plane taking off and landing, and a computer-generated voice-over narration.
Still in the discussion phase
Katie McDonald, a communications manager at Southwest, responded to our query about the video with this statement:
We are in the very, very early stages of considering a smart video strategy, and we are not far enough along in that thinking to even comment on what that might look like for Southwest & Rapid Rewards.
We certainly wouldn’t want to create a perception/expectation among our members that it is something they will soon see from us.
An idea the whole industry will watch
As proposed, the video version of flight confirmation e-mails would be powered by SmartVideo, a product from US digital marketing firm SundaySky.
Under the proposal, Southwest would feed customers’ billing information into SundaySky’s SmartVideo technology. Then, using an opt-in direct marketing solution by PossibleNow, it would e-mail or text the link to the video to the passenger.
The video would show a plane’s flight path on a map and identify specifically how many points a customer could earn in Rapid Rewards, Southwest Airlines’ frequent flyer program, if he or she purchased a rental car or another ancillary product immediately. (“Upgrade to Business Select, only for $56, get 2600 Reward Points.”)
Sean O’Neill is Editor-in-Chief of Tnooz.
Before joining us, Sean was the future of travel columnist at BBC Travel, senior editor of BudgetTravel.com, and an associate editor at Kiplinger’s. He now lives in New Jersey, after having worked in London for four years. He's on Twitter and is excited for #Rio2016.