Novel Social Media Marketing by Air Canada

Air Canada, while not my favourite airline company, does have some novel marketing ideas to get passengers based in Canada to board its flights. That is quite fair since Air Canada does not have one of the best cabin in the skies, especially since its fares are usually quite expensive compared to the competition from United States. Thus last summer Air Canada actually came up with the idea of passengers paying for unlimited flights over a few months and from its last promotion of earning ‘Stars’ for Aeroplan miles, it has teamed up with Aeroplan once again with earning ‘Wings’.

Vancouver International Airport Badge

The objective of the promotion is to encourage people to fly Air Canada as much as possible, with the ultimate aim of gaining a spot on the top 25 rank of having the most ‘Wings’ to receive a share of 10,000,000 bonus Aeroplan miles. One earns ‘Wings’ by flying Air Canada or the Air Canada Express flights and not on any other Star Alliance partners or codeshare flights. Along the way one will get 1,000 bonus Aeroplan miles with every 2,000 ‘Wings’ earned and an additional 5,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles for every 10,000 ‘Wings’ earned.

Victoria International Airport Badge

What makes this marketing idea novel is the way passengers can earn ‘badges’ for flying on certain routes. There are basically 2 types of badges, one being the ‘Destination Badges’ and another being ‘Premium Badges’. Normally a take-off and touch-down earns at least 100 ‘Wings’, but 30 airports are highlighted as special destinations to earn 500 ‘Wings’ instead. What is interesting is that both Vancouver (YVR) and Victoria (YYJ) are highlighted as airports to earn ‘Destination Badges’. And several US ‘Destination Badges’ earns 1,000 ‘Wings’ while selected international destinations earns 2,000 ‘Wings’.

Canadian Olympic Badge

The highlight though is the ‘Premium Badges’ such as the ‘Canadian Olympic Badge’ which is earned by departing or arriving in YVR and YYJ, which both saw Olympic action during the 2010 Winter Games. Another one is the ‘TCA Badge’ which one gets by flying between YVR and SEA, the first route by Air Canada’s predecessor Trans-Canada Airlines in 1937. This means additional earning miles opportunities for short routes between YVR-SEA and YVR-YYJ which most commuters might otherwise take the ferry or just simply drive across the border.

TCA Badge

Such promotions actually remind me of how I was actually attracted to use ‘Foursquare’ as I earned bonus points by ‘checking-in’ on my hotel stays with Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and obtained ‘badges’ by completing certain check-in milestones. Such promotions add interactivity with users of social media and makes travelling between mundane destinations for the frequent traveller less tedious and more interesting. The extra miles can be considered cream on top of the dessert!

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