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 a New Jersey-based reporter for Tnooz. He is also a daily contributor of consumer news to LonelyPlanet.com.
He used to work for BBC Travel, BudgetTravel.com, and Kiplinger's, and used to live in London, New York City, and Washington, DC.