The holidays are the craziest time of the year for travel. Now, I have been on my fair share of airplanes and because I often choose what airfare is cheaper over what brand I like best, I never rack up enough frequent flyer miles to warrant a free flight.
Orbitz, an aggregator of flight options lets you compare and find the best deal for airfare and now they are giving away free flights for tweeting! I like tweeting almost as much as traveling!
The social campaign #Orbitz25days uses Twitter and gives anyone who follows @orbitz and retweets the special giveaway message a chance to win a free flight to anywhere in the United States. It started November 28th and runs through December 22nd. Since many people are booking travel and perhaps looking for excuses to go to sunnier spots in the middle of winter, this may be a cost-effective way for Orbitz to generate social media buzz.
But is the campaign having any effect?
I used compete.com to help explain if the social campaign affected traffic to Orbitz.com.
On November 28 as the campaign started there was a four-day lift in traffic to the site. Traffic declined starting Saturday December 3rd but attention and reach recovered the following Monday.
Looking back over the last year we can see that traffic often increases during the week and decreases on the weekend, so the decline shortly after following the start of #Orbitz25days is more likely tied to weekly volatility than to the campaign losing steam. Orbitz may also be using the campaign to offset the kind of lull in site traffic it saw after Thanksgiving last year.
The good news is that, while Orbitz may have to face seasonal trends, traffic is on the rise throughout airline sites.
Overall, Orbitz had the right idea to launch a campaign where they saw low traffic last year. But it is still important to dive deeper into history, monitor going forward and refine tactics. Key questions Orbitz and rivals need to ask to quantify the success of the program:
- To what extent was the lift starting on November 28th related more to a pause in shopping during Thanksgiving week than to the start of #Orbitz25days?
- Was the campaign cost-effective? That is, could Orbitz have spent the same amount elsewhere and gotten a bigger impact?
- Will Orbitz.com traffic remain elevated through December 22nd (at least elevated enough to offset any seasonal declines)?
- Did the campaign create incremental customers for Orbitz, or were tweeters existing customers just looking for a chance to win a free trip?
Specifically going forward
- Optimize future timing/messages, PR and social media to leverage (or offset as appropriate) seasonal trends
- Benchmark Orbitz’ performance against rivals as Orbitz runs future campaigns to isolate campaign effects.
- Identify how social media efforts benefited Orbitz, both in activity levels and in perceptions of the brand
Alyssa is on the Inside Sales team here at Millward Brown Digital, working within the Financial Services and Technology & Entertainment industries delivering digital intelligence that helps clients improve their marketing based on the online behavior of millions of consumers. Find Alyssa on Twitter at @alyssamaine or connect with her on Linkedin.