Organization Name: Westjet
Industry: Commercial Airline
Name of contact if available: N/A
Web references: Westjet
Description of how social media is used for business performance
Have you ever just settled nicely into your seat on the aircraft, ready for a relaxing five hour flight to Vancouver, when the adorable child in the seat behind you decided to use the back of your seat as a soccer ball or better yet he/she decided to test their lung capacity by screaming? Well Westjet was one of the first airlines to offer a solution for the traveler.
With the high cost of fuel these days are you really sure that you are getting the best price on airline tickets? Are you concerned about the environmental impact of all the burned jet fuel? Well Westjet’s innovative ideas are working to pass along cost savings to their customers and at the same time helping to save the environment.
Not long after Westjet began operations in 1996, I took on an assignment that required travel back and forth across Canada on a weekly basis. I booked most of the flights through Westjet. At that time mass media was the only way to market and it was rumored that founder, Clive Beddeo, randomly chose flights on which to travel to evaluate the crew and interact with the customers. And sure enough on one flight there he was. During the flight he moved around speaking to passengers about their experiences, from booking to take off to landing at their destination.
In today’s social media age, this type of interaction is nicely handled by Westjet’s social media strategy. In 2013 Westjet was a finalist in the Simpliflying Awards category Best Airline in Social Media. In their pitch Westjet states that their social media strategy has three themes; brand engagement, customer service and revenue.
Through 230,000 followers on Twitter, 450,000 fans on Facebook, 11,000 followers on Instagram, over 5 million views on Youtube and the corporate blog, Westjet is able to interact with their customers. Tracking codes sent out on social media channels enable Westjet to measure results.
Social media campaigns, such as Blue Tag through twitter to offer discount pricing when booking online and crowd sourcing content to change negative perceptions about turboprop aircraft, have been successful for Westjet.
Westjet also uses social media platforms to announce new business processes, such as when the check in process changed at Vancouver airport. The video clearly explained the process and prepared the traveller for the faster boarding process.
There is one burnt out bulb in this brilliant use of social media. For this blog entry I attempted to contact Westjet through their webiste, their blog and an email to their Advisor, Emerging Media. Unfortunately there has been no response in almost a week. My concern is simple, that the momentum has lagged and they are not paying enough attention to the social media space.
But to end this posting on a positive note on this hot humid July day, let’s celebrate Christmas as only Westjet can.
This YouTube video was nomintaed for a 2013 Shorty Award. This video attracted international attention to become one of the most viewed and shared ad of 2013 inthe world. It’s sucess has been credited for the 86% increase in Westjet sales compared to the same time period of the previous year.
Lessons for others:
Analyze your target market and focus on them.
- listen to the customer
- make it fun and entertaining
- reward their engagement in your social media
Submitted by: Sandra Kodis, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo
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