Estonian Air drives revenue from Facebook through a reverse auction, by simply posting on the wall

Over the last year, Grabaseat from Air New Zealand (we’re BIG fans) has been creating waves for its reverse auctions. Now, it’s an advanced system that’s well integrated into the airline’s main website. At the same time, it’s getting complex and not something other airlines can replicate easily. But it wasn’t long before another airline in another corner of the world latched upon the idea in the simplest possible way!

A small airline makes a big splash

Estonian Air just held its first ever reverse auction, by merely posting on the wall latest prices for flight tickets for two persons on assigned Estonian Air flights with fixed route and dates. To announce his or her intention to buy the Facebook fan had to post: “I buy” or in Estonian “Ostan” on the wall post. That’s really as simple as it gets!

According to Gunnar Mägi, the Development and Marketing Director of Estonian Air, the social media channels are used as very effective information channels, but also as the sales channel. “Our social media channels are becoming as ideas laboratory, where we try new solutions and sales opportunities. Estonian Air will continue launching unique offers in its social media also in the future,” added Mägi.

And all this, within a month of launching a crowdsourcing campaign to improve the airline. Looks like the new CEO, Tero Taskila’s arrival has infused a new vigor in the airline.

The beauty lies in the simplicity of the reverse auction..

Take a look at some of the screenshots we compiled and you’ll understand that it’s the simplicity of the auction that makes it so attractive.

Competing airlines keenly observing

While the first auction may not have brought in a ton of revenue for Estonian Air, it showed that distress inventory can be cleared through mediums like Facebook and Twitter without setting up complicated back-end system, while at the same time engaging customers – almost 200 comments received in this auction! And this has competing airlines watching too.

Martin Wassborn, Director EuroBonus Analytics and Communication at SAS Scandinavian also recognized the high potential in using reverse auction for Eurobonus point bargains. “Estonian Air was successful today and we are considering matching the challenge.”

Exciting times indeed! What do you think of Estonian’s efforts? Is this something that’s worked for your airline too? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section or over on Twitter (@simpliflying)


Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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Showing 2 comments
  • Ardu

    Idea is good but OV is playing with the devil. Auction in comments badly violates Facebook promotion rules…

    • Shashank Nigam

      I’m guessing this was more of a trial, before the airline develops a more sophisticated system to do this…

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