Iberia goes social with its new website
Yet another article about Iberia!
But, believe me, there is a good reason for this: as you might already be aware of, the Spanish flag carrier is unveiling its new branding on 15th October, so I had a look at Iberia's online channels to see how they were doing on this front...
There is little doubt that Iberia needs to redefine itself to remain competitive and overcome the negative effects of economic recession at home...and in this regard, if their website is an appetizer of the changes that are coming, I got quite a positive impression.
Iberia's recently revamped website has quite a fresh image, a tipography and design that is pleasing to the eye, but, most important of all, it adds a few features that aim to make it way more engaging and social.
One example of this "engagement" strategy, is the inspirational way in which travelers are now able to search for flights: in addition to traditional search, there is an "emotional" search feature that suggests trips based on a number of choices you can make at the site, like the type of landscape you aim to see, the type of clothing you feel like wearing or the type of food you feel like eating. While I am not sure about the amount of travelers that will really base their travel choices on the suggestions of this feature, it is quite entertaining and it gives Iberia the type of "cool" edge that you would expect at sites like Etsy (that has also its own colour/emotions product search function).
Another path Iberia is exploring is that of social media integration. This goes well beyond the simple "share" button on the booking page, as Iberia is adding also its own social seating functionality, along the lines of what has been implemented by airlines such as KLM and Malaysia Airlines, where travelers can request to be seated next to people with whom they (theoretically) share some affinities.
Iberia is aiming, in fact, to integrate the travelers' social graph with their Iberia Plus's (Iberia's frequent flier programme) accounts through the "Fly & Friends" initiative. The idea is that, by linking your Linkedin or Facebook to your Iberia Plus accounts, you would be able to see on a map who of you friends are at a given destination, or who of them have recently been, so that you can ask for travel tips.
I tried it myself and found the Facebook application to be still a bit clunky, but I am sure they are going to keep refining it, specially as the number of users of social flight features keeps growing, according to sources at Iberia, up to this date over 16,000 of Iberia's frequent flier programme members have opted in, in the long term adding a social component to your flight booking experience might become the norm rather than the exception!