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CheapOair racks up app downloads via mobile sweepstakes

The March to One Million CheapOair contest is aimed at helping the company increase its app downloads. The campaign will likely help CheapOair seal more bookings as well as build up brand awareness.

“CheapOair is always looking for ways to make travel planning and booking fun and engaging,” said Ankur Gupta, senior director of mobile solutions at CheapOair, New York.

 “A mobile promotion that rewards our customers might be especially appreciated during the holiday season,” he said. “We think that this will be an exciting promotion and a way for us to thank our customers for helping us reach a milestone.”

CheapOair helps consumers find cheap airfares, hotel reservations, car rentals and vacation packages. The company offers more than 100 million airfares on 400 airlines and also has 100,000 negotiated hotels and vacation packages.

App rack up
CheapOair claims that its apps have been downloaded more than 850,000 times. The app is available on iPad, Android, iPhone and Windows devices.

Beginning on Dec. 12, CheapOair will dole out gift cards to consumers who download the app. Every 250th and user to download the app will receive a $25 American Express giftcard and every 500th will receive a $50 American Express giftcard.

Once the app reaches one million downloads, one grand prize user will be selected to win an iPad that is loaded with the CheapOair app and two round-trip airline tickets to any U.S. destination.

Winners will be notified via an in-app message.

The campaign runs through Jan. 12.

Running an incentivized campaign such as this one is a smart move for CheapOair because it lets consumers vie for the chance at winning prizes while also helping the company build up its mobile presence.

By announcing the winners via the app, CheapOair could also help boost app retention with the app to give it some longevity with users.

In addition to CheapOair’s mobile apps, the company also has a mobile site.

“Mobile solutions are a critical component for CheapOair, especially as customers increasingly shift from desktop to mobile devices for every aspect of the travel lifecycle, from planning to booking and sharing trip details with friends,” Mr. Gupta said.

“Our focus on mobile has paid off, as customers continue to give our apps top ratings across all platforms,” he said. “We’ve received several mobile app awards this year alone, and we expect the trend of growth and usage for our mobile apps to continue, as will our focus on providing mobile solutions for every traveler across a wide range of devices.”

Mobile travels
Online travel agencies are one of the industries that mobile has hit hardest.

With consumers doing everything from comparison shopping to buying big-ticket travel packages, many online travel agents are seeing strong results with their mobile initiatives.

For instance, for November 2012, the company saw an 160 percent year-over-year increase in mobile traffic, generating a 230 year-over-year increase in mobile bookings.

When it comes to app users, 60 percent are aged between 18 – 34 years old. Fifty-three percent are men.

“Consumers now have an expectation to complete the same tasks on their mobile device as they can on their desktop,” Mr. Gupta said.

“Accordingly, we continue to integrate mobile into every initiative we undertake,” he said. “Whether it’s launching our Traveler the World for Less campaign or promoting our Traveler of the Year contest, our goal is to make our user experience consistent across all channels, with the core focus of making sure that all our customers can research and book hundreds of flights and hotels anytime, anywhere.”

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