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Jet Airways takes off on mobile – flying from SMS alerts to 3.1M Facebook fans

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Photo credit:

Olivier Mouhot 

After early success with SMS and mobile channels, Jet Airways is using social media to engage with customers. And they are loving it, says Belson Coutinho.

Last October, India’s Jet Airways unveiled its #SpintoFly social media competition. The contest invited fans to play and pause a running GIF. If it stopped at a destination they liked, they were invited to take a screenshot, share it and explain why they should win a free trip there.

The competition was open to travelers from anywhere in the world – the first time an Indian airline had run such a global contest.

This is not surprising. Indeed, Jet has placed social media at the heart of its consumer marketing since 2010, when it launched on Facebook and Twitter.

Eight years later that commitment has deepened. And the reason is mobile. According to Belson Coutinho, Jet Airways senior vice president of marketing, e-commerce and innovation, the small screen has changed the way brands like Jet engage with consumers.

“Social media plays a significant role in the way we consume and build content,” he says. “Consumers relate to good storytelling from a video content point of view, and there’s no better channel for this than mobile. So we have Instagram stories and short form snackable video content that’s exclusively designed for phones.”

Coutinho adds that this is why most videos are made with a vertical orientation, run for just 10 seconds and even contain subtitles so that people can watch with the sound off.

Jet’s enthusiasm for social media content has earned it a huge audience of ‘fans’. At time of writing it had 130,000 on Instagram, 250,000 on Twitter and 3.1 million on Facebook.

“Almost everything we offer from product to experience to customer service, social media takes care of completely,” says Coutinho.

Jet Air’s social media activities fit inside a wider commitment to digital that has helped accelerate the brand’s rapid growth in a booming market for Indian air travel.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s domestic air traffic went from 9.87 million in 2011 to 117 million passengers in 2017 with 100 flights taking off every hour. Jet Airways has a 17.8 percent market share. It currently operates flights to 64 destinations in India and overseas.

Of course, Jet doesn’t merely use mobile as a channel for customer care and marketing. The platform also has a crucial commercial function. Jet initially used SMS to provide alerts and check-in. In 2015 it launched its first app to support these same function.

Now, it processes a growing number of direct bookings through the channel too. According to Coutinho, Jet is now working hard to refine this process.

He says: “A large focus for us in on RoI conversion-led activity: how do you get people who shop on mobile to convert and book with you? A lot of consumers use mobile as a shopping channel – to find deals and offers. So our objective is now to optimize the experience to make sure they complete the transaction while inside the mobile ecosystem.

Of course, the USP of mobile is the way it can personalize the experience for individual users. And this, says Coutinho, is the overarching reason for the commitment to mobile.

“With mobile, you can connect consumer one-on-one,” he says. “You can track consumption and behavior patterns and segment far easier and faster than you can on a desktop. So our ultimate aim is to create a mobile ecosystem that’s a one-stop-shop for our consumers.”