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Lufthansa seals airline bookings via QR codes

Lufthansa is loading its static advertising in newspapers and magazines with mobile bar codes that not only educate consumers about a new feature available for business class travelers but also help the brand lock-in bookings.

The Lufthansa print ads are part of a broader, multichannel campaign that also includes television, Web and social media components. The ads are running in magazines and newspapers including Esquire, Departures, Fortune and National Geographic.

“Lufthansa aims at telling stories from the customer perspective with its new campaign,” said Florian Gmeiner, marketing manager of Lufthansa for the Americas, Cologne, Germany.

“In order to extend the experience of potential customers with our print ads we decided to use QR codes,” he said. “We feel that often times QR codes are not used properly, so we wanted to make sure that users are directed to a mobile-optimized environment – that includes linking to an integrated marketing experience where they experience and learn about the seat shown in the ad.”

Fly on mobile
Lufthansa is using the mobile-enabled ads to promote the company’s new business class seating, which is a seat that folds down flat and lets travellers customize their seat experience.

The QR codes appear on the bottom right-hand corner of the ads.

Lufthansa is running two campaigns that lead users to slightly different mobile and video experiences.

In Esquire magazine, users who scan the QR codes are directed to a mobile site where a video automatically begins. The 30-second video clip shows consumers how the seats recline and features a quick call-to-action that plugs Lufthansa’s Web site at the end.

The page then refreshes to let users either book a flight, learn more about the new seats or replay the videos.

To book a flight, consumers type in information such as their departing and arriving city and the days of their travel. From there, users are redirected over to Lufthansa’s main mobile site to finish the booking.

Not only is kicking users over to another mobile site to finish the booking experience a hassle for consumers, but the flight booking process begins from scratch once users are redirected to the mobile site. The effort would be more effective if it kept users in the same space from booking a flight from start to finish.

The campaign’s mobile site also lets users learn more about the new seats as well as other amenities from the airline.

The site tightly integrates with social media to let consumers share content across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +.

The Lufthansa print ads

Mobile bookings
Lufthansa is smart to leverage its print ads with an option for users to book a flight directly from a static print ad.

Nowadays, consumers often have their mobile device in hand while reading their favorite magazine.

In this case, booking a flight is an action-driven feature that gives users an incentive to scan the page and will likely lead to more mobile bookings.

Last year, Lufthansa rolled out an iPad app to let users book airline tickets from their tablets (see story).

Additionally, Lufthansa recently signed on as a partner of Apple’s Passbook to let consumers store their boarding passes inside the app.

“Mobile is an integral part of what we do at Lufthansa,” Mr. Gmeiner said.

“Depending on the traveller’s status within the travel experience from research, booking, pre-travel, travel to post-travel, we choose to engage with a different communication density and approach,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York