Etihad Airways has formed a partnership with Facebook enabling it to tailor its services and marketing to specific travellers.
A global expat campaign on the social media site, targeting Indian nationals and their families to travel on Etihad to Abu Dhabi for Diwali, resulted in 700 bookings in 10 days.
It is an interesting tie-up given the global nature of both 11-year-old brands. The value of the partnership was not disclosed.
Terry Kane, head of Travel, Auto, Telco and Financial Services, Facebook, MENA, said Etihad’s team is focused and “have a vision for driving market share and commercial returns through their direct distribution channels.” But he added it wasn’t “closing any doors” on potential partnerships with other airlines.
Andrew Ward, Etihad Airways’ VP of Marketing, said the agreement isn’t just a commercial deal but provides added value.
“We don’t get that from another media owner,” he said. “They may give us additional value but it’s this collaboration which we’re interested in as we know we can get a far greater exponential delivery on our campaigns.”
“We can access more of Facebook’s resources – we’ll go over to the west coast of the States within a month, to have a session there, and almost infuse ourselves with the ‘Facebook spirit’.”
Etihad’s social media department has grown from zero to 22 in 18 months. “It’s a great marketing tool, and tool for customer service, our cabin crew are on Facebook, and we’re going to continue investing in it,” added Ward.
Future campaigns are likely to target business travellers. “When they’re in the mind of business while on Facebook, there’s the ability to target business travellers with information relevant to their lives,” said Kane.