The outstanding performance of companies like Makemytrip.com in online commerce means a lot to the booming Internet market in India. For the quarter ended December 2010, the company's sales grew 56.7 per cent at $35.79 million, compared to $22.84 million in the same period of 2009.
The third party ticketing sites are becoming valuable properties where airlines companies need to make their presence felt. When a larger share of online customers are using third party services to purchase their tickets, there are a lot of factors that are going to affect their decision making process.
Online customers are always looking for better deals and a good comparison for their products. For this context, social media plays a vital role. Larger percentages of these customers are in Twitter or Facebook looking for recommendations and suggestions. The new technologies and platforms have given the power of a peer’s suggestion a tremendous boost. But not all airlines companies seem to have understood this trend and are reluctantly ignoring the power of social media. Based on the research done by the people at In-Rev, only a couple of brands have been pretty much active on the social media sphere and they have a long way to go.
The chart above shows the position of different Indian Airline brands in terms of their online social reach to the customers. In this chart, the number of channels means the number of online profiles like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube and Blogs the brands have employed. The social grade is the measure of the level of engagement these brands have with their online customers. This has been calculated considering the online social metrics like community size, visibility of the brand, number of conversation and the type of conversation.
The table above shows the lack of YouTube profiles for other brands besides Jet Airways and Spice Jet. YouTube is the most popular online video sharing site with daily visits exceeding billions. This makes YouTube an extremely valuable channel. But even Jet Airways and Spice Jet seems can improve more by looking at some of the global brands.
In the case of Facebook, Kingfisher is doing a better job than others and their engagement level is also very high with the online audience.
In the case of Twitter, the engagement and quality level of JetAirways is much higher than that of Kingfisher and Spice Jet.
So far, according to the research Jet Airways is leading the social media space, with Spice Jet and Kingfisher competing head to head for the second spot. The maximum social grades in India are around 2.6, whereas global brands like Southwest Airlines are already crossing 4.4. This clearly shows the amount of investment in terms of research and resources that Indian airlines have to invest to get maximum ROI from the social media.