I’ve always found people ordering their meat medium-rare or medium-well done to be somewhat like the person who always orders the half-half pizza with different toppings on either side – a bit too indecisive for my liking.

So how does this relate to Clickair? Honestly, not much, except the word rare in the first line of the above paragraph. I recently saw a piece from Victoria Moores saying Clickair (The Iberia controlled LCC merging with independent LCC Vueling) had launched what sounded like a price guarantee. Seeing as I was pushing that very same idea a while ago, it caught my attention.

clickair-lock-your-fare-problemUnfortunately for various reasons my visit to the Clickair website wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. Firstly, the “Lock Your Fare” feature would be better described as chargeable on hold bookings – it is definintely not the price guarantee model I was promoting to airlines. Secondly, at least for home market customers in Spain, there is an option on the payment page to buy online pay offline and there is no charge for this service (it does say introductory free offer). I’d feel pretty stupid if I paid to put my booking on hold when effectively these Clickair La Caixa bookings have a similar effect, albeit with a shorter on-hold period. But if the intention is to ensure you have a flight secured before booking a hotel, then anything more than few hours should be sufficient for most people when they are at the actual point of purchase. Maybe this is one of these examples of my personal views being way off how the general populace actually behave, for as CEO Alex Cruz is quoted as saying:

“It takes about 30 minutes to see [web initiatives like this] working. During the first two days we generated low five-digit numbers just from the fees, and we had a 60% conversion rate. It’s another revenue stream.”

So it could be that part of my criticism above is off the mark, but what about that screen shot. It has been so long since I tried to write HTML, but to me the Clickair logo that should be part of the background template page seems to actually be an independent image on the page; you can see this by the dotted line bordering the image (this dotted line was on the screen, not added by me). Two problems with this are that it obscures part of the pop up explanatory text detailing the “lock your fare” feature, and even worse, it was almost impossible to continue as the image box covered most of the close this text link, meaning everytime I tried to click “close” I accidentally clicked on the logo and activated an unintended link. Very frustrating process, but it didn’t end there. After finally getting rid of the pop up text, I couldn’t even select the shaded check box you can see beside the fare amount. I was using Interent Explorer version 7.0 but I must have tried clicking the mouse 10 times to no effect. I’ve got no idea how I had such a negative experience with this functionality when according to Alex Cruz others are buying, but from what I saw, this development should have spent a little bit more time in the kitchen, as what I was served up was not even half cooked.

Another interesting observation from the Clickair site was an offer to charge me €1 for an SMS of my itinerary and then an SMS to remind me the day before my flight. Does anyone really pay for this? At least KLM promised to send me an SMS if my flight was delayed, as this would actually be of some value to most people. But good on Clickair for trying, and maybe people are clicking that box without even really thinking about it. 

Finally, whilst on the topic of Spanish carriers, I received an email from Spanair telling me they have launched destination content on their website in partnership with Unaira. Just last week I was looking at the stats for another carrier that has launched the same type of product; a major carrier that has probably done a better job than most of integrating this content into various parts of their website -their sales figures were nowhere near what they should have been. This category has huge potential, and I’m working with airlines today on innovative ways of increasing their sales significantly but the message here is don’t be dissapointed when your initial expectations are not met as it can be can be fixed. It really isn’t that difficult to ramp up these sales figures significantly, but the answer is not spending millions on tighter website integration as a first priority. Seeing as the answer is part of my conference presentation on May 12th in Miami, I suppose I should end this post here; I’ll definintely add more on this topic later. Thanks for reading.