Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Implementing Enterprise 2.0-Travel Does it Best!

The travel sector can be seen as one of the earliest adopters of Enterprise 2.0, which is not surprising considering more money is spent on travel than anything else online. As travellers become increasingly infatuated with sharing their travel stories via blogs, posting and reading reviews, and finding opinions of fellow like-minded travellers, it is important for travel companies to actively participate in these communities. Looking beyond participation, companies need to have a direct channel to their consumers in order to provide end to end coverage from research right through to purchase. This strategy works to build highly valuable, intimate relationships with consumers who are more likely to provide repeat business.

Flight Centre Ltd. realized early on the potential of implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools. Their initial focus was back of house, dealing with the issue of productivity and efficiency. In 2004 they consolidated their information technology systems to a uniform platform following its announcement of a single international corporate brand. In doing so this allowed for:

         •Increased productivityeasier collaboration-deal with clients across regions
Faster innovation-better selling practices/booking procedures
Reduced email overloadenhances personal effectiveness
Improved team performanceaccelerated interaction

The successful roll-out of an easy to use collaborative system also worked to enhance other facets of the company including staff engagement and knowledge. The online portal tool provides access for all staff members to areas such as:
  • People expertise 
  • Expertise in processes- previous troubleshoots, training updates
  • Documents and resources–Make hidden data shared to drive collective intelligence
  • Enhanced search–Quickly provide relevant resources for the individual
It also worked to humanize middle and upper management with weekly forums held with consultants regarding new ideas and better booking methods for example, coinciding with the company philosophies. This has clearly had a positive effect on the brand's reputation, with Flight Centre consistently rating as one of the best places to work in Australia.

 Finally, it's worth noting how Flight Centre's sister brand Student Flights has positioned itself through the use of Enterprise 2.0 tools. The brand has been given a fun and approachable persona with the staff described as 'travel gurus'. Through the use of blogs written by travel consultants and even avid fans of the brand, they have given potential clients a research point to start from. Furthermore, this is combined with social media tools such as Facebook, which provide a direct channel to potential clients, and an easy platform to discuss flights, deals, problems etc. Combined with their website, this provides a clear path to planning and purchase for their users. 

By producing interesting, original content through staff engagement, Student Flights has been able to grow their reputation through online word of mouth and bypass tradtional PR strategies. This has created strong ongoing relationships with a large loyal user base (over 54,000 people). Including friends of friends that is an incredible FREE advertising reach that wouldn't be possible without the implementation of Enterprise 2.0. 

Thanks for reading!


  1. Grats on another good article Justin. Friends and followers of the blogger would most probably take the bloggers word and try the stuff he suggests. Therefore, having people write about something on their blogs about your service/product definitely helps gets the word out.

    1. Thanks Zeng. I thought it was a really well planned strategy. By taking care of every stage of the buying cycle, they are able to capitalize on more of the potential leads that visit their site than if it was just a skeleton site with a booking form. Moreover, getting users to contribute to the site costs them nothing and builds them great original content that people are keen to share.

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  3. Yea it is amazing how deploying Enterprise2.0 will bring huge success to company both in keeping customer retention and enhancing reputation.
    And a win-win situation can be realized while company gains free marketing exposure through their loyal customers and the users benefit from generating and engaging in the community. :-)

  4. Hey Justin,

    great example! But I'm very interested how you got all the detail knowledge of this case... do you work for the company? I had a look at the article you linked to but it just talks about the plans and not how it turned out. But it really looks like a great initiative that embraced a lot of the web 2.0 paradigms!

    Cheers, Alex!

    1. I was wondering if someone was going to pick up on that! You're right Alex, i did work for Student Flights for a few years before starting Uni. It was quite astounding the level of integration with web 2.0 tools the online portal had. As the main flight booking system at the time was a MS Dos style program called Galileo [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_CRS] a lot of new consultants had trouble getting to know the ins and outs of the system. To counter this, there was a wiki style tool that had codes and different methods to fix bookings and other troubleshoots that had come up before. Handy when your mistake might cost the company a few thousand dollars! This was the last system left to update and they did so early last year. http://www.travelweekly.com.au/travel-today/news/flight-centre-to-debut-new-agent-system Another handy tool was remote access, which was great because if you were organized enough, you could book people's holidays from your phone. But surprisingly they didn't encourage this as it didn't keep with the company's work/life balance philosophy.

  5. All the travel related companies really depend on social medias. I think most people will do research on the internet before their travel because the flight or their travel plan won't come cheap so they want to have the best choice for them. Social medias will really help those travel related company to establish their brands. IN the past many information that users can get from the travel related companies are not accurate and most trips didn't satisfied them. The power of social medias help eliminate bad companies and only good one will survive.


    Prapat W.

    1. Thanks for reading Prapat. I think that is a really valuable point, only those who provide a good service are going to thrive going forward as consumers are more connected and can easily share their experience, good or bad. I really like how Student Flights has taken this into account and aimed at building a clear path for consumers that encapsulates all the steps of the buying cycle, from research all the way through to purchase. Effectively minimizing the need for the consumer to look anywhere else. Of course this isn't going to be the case with every visitor to the site as many will still look elsewhere to compare prices, but it will definitely have a positive impact on their conversion rate.

  6. Hi there, I think I just found an interesting blog. Thanks for that post it was both informative and interesting. I was wondering why you chose to speak about web 2.0 with travel related companies but not something else. Surely there must be something that drew you attention about the airlines.

    Would love you to drop by and have a quick look at my blog and some opinions about my posts when you can at calditz.wordpress.com


    1. The 2 main reasons behind my choice would be my previous experience working in the industry and that the travel sector was an early adopter of Web 2.0 tools, so there is plenty of examples using a variety of different tools to consider. Using these tools as a travel agent gave me extra appreciation to the value they add to a company and to my time. Increased productivity, accelerated interaction with clients and the ability to collaborate with other agents to improve selling strategies were all a direct result of effective implementation of web 2.0 tools. Thanks for reading! I'll jump over and give you a comment shortly!