As part of its plan to capture a larger share of FIT traffic from Singapore, Taipei-based TransAsia Airways launched a booking engine on its Facebook page in May.
The airline’s Singapore-based GSA, Maple Aviation, worked closely with Abacus to design the booking engine. Paypal was engaged to develop a secure and fully integrated payment system.
To date, TransAsia Airways is the only airline operating out of Singapore that has a Facebook booking engine, according to Maple Aviation’s business development manger, Tan Meng Aun. He said: “Facebook plays a crucial role in our total marketing strategy as we believe that it enhances our ability to connect with our key target markets. The current generation of 20- to 30- year old travellers do not like to make phone calls. Instead, they prefer to post queries online.”
Since the launch of the Book My Flight tab on TransAsia Airways Singapore’s Facebook page in May, the travel firm has seen over 200 return flights sold through Facebook in the first three months, a figure that Tan claims to be on par with that received via the airline’s website.
Data drawn from Facebook highlights that 20 per cent of visitors who purchased tickets from TransAsia Airways through its Facebook site are aged 18-24 and 30 per cent are aged above 35. The remaining 50 per cent are aged 25-34, comprising mostly students, couples, young working adults and young families who are looking to venture out on their own.
Despite the obvious advantages, using Facebook to generate sales has its drawbacks. Tan said: “The tricky part is that Facebook changes its terms and policies all the time. For instance, it recently put in additional user controls to limit the broadcasting of postings online. As a result, the reach of marketers has diminished significantly. Facebook has also started charging companies for promotional content.”
Despite the large focus on Facebook, Maple Aviation is not abandoning traditional media. “We (still) rely on travel experts to help promote TransAsia to their customers,” Tan said.