Name them to Shame them!

June 1, 2009
43 Views

The European Commission just announced that dozens of European airlines needed to change their websites to make sure consumers weren’t misled into making purchases. In addition to these changes, they wanted reduction in ticket prices as well as the simplification of the purchase process, to make it less confusing. Interestingly a review of 70 airlines showed that only 16 bore appropriate standards… those not making the changes would be named publicly by the Commission.

A couple of things that stood out:
1) Fares should be displayed clearly and shouldn’t just be added on at the end of the transaction – rather they should be added at the start of the booking process, this way the consumer is able to anticipate the cost and therefore reducing the odds of surprise and abandoned bookings.

2) Pre-ticked boxes were thought to force consumers to opt-in rather than remind them of the offers that are available; this was deemed as an unfair practice. Many airlines pre-checked the booking insurance tab – as a result, a number of people purchased the insurance even though it was not required.

3) Pre-checked boxes advertising special offers (i.e. email specials) were said to be a strict no-no;


The European Commission just announced that dozens of European airlines needed to change their websites to make sure consumers weren’t misled into making purchases. In addition to these changes, they wanted reduction in ticket prices as well as the simplification of the purchase process, to make it less confusing. Interestingly a review of 70 airlines showed that only 16 bore appropriate standards… those not making the changes would be named publicly by the Commission.

A couple of things that stood out:
1) Fares should be displayed clearly and shouldn’t just be added on at the end of the transaction – rather they should be added at the start of the booking process, this way the consumer is able to anticipate the cost and therefore reducing the odds of surprise and abandoned bookings.

2) Pre-ticked boxes were thought to force consumers to opt-in rather than remind them of the offers that are available; this was deemed as an unfair practice. Many airlines pre-checked the booking insurance tab – as a result, a number of people purchased the insurance even though it was not required.

3) Pre-checked boxes advertising special offers (i.e. email specials) were said to be a strict no-no; their belief was that people should have the opportunity to opt-in and not be duped into getting on to the email program.

As an eMarketer, it’s disconcerting to see the last point; but not impossible to overcome. From an offer stand point it can be easy to get visitors to opt into your email program, a few simple items on a site can entice visitors to join your list. The use of a few creative campaigns can help new recipients see the value of your communications, plus there is the transactional email conversion opportunity. Highlight the value of your program, make it stand out and be succinct with the benefits, it will help regardless of your industry.

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