Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Frontier Airlines steps up mcommerce initiatives with optimized site

In addition to mobile, Frontier Airlines also has updated its Web site to feature a slicker user navigation. Frontier Airlines announced the new initiatives via email.

“Travelers by definition are always on the go – there is no better way to help them with their traveling needs than by providing all information they need via an airline’s mobile Web site,” said Cezar Kolodziej, CEO/president of Iris Mobile, Chicago.

“The fact is, with today’s smartphone market penetration, a mobile Web site is simply a must for any airline,” he said.

“Today, travelers expect to be able to check last-minute updates on their reservation and flight status from their mobile phones. It is important for an airline’s Web site to be mobile-optimized – otherwise next time customers might use a competitor’s services instead.”

Mr. Kolodziej is not affiliated with Frontier Airlines. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Frontier Airlines did not respond to press inquiries.

Frontier Airlines offers flights and services to 80 destinations in the United States, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Frontier Airlines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings, which also owns Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America.

Fly on mobile
Consumers can access the site by typing into their mobile browsers.

The mobile site is set up to help consumers with a reservation manage their trip. For instance, flight status and check-in appear on the top of the page.

Users can search for flight statuses by selecting a departing and arriving city and date. Alternatively, consumers can enter a flight number to track down a status.

To book a flight, users choose their travel preferences on a page that is optimized for mobile devices but are redirected to Frontier’s Web site to buy tickets.

By directing users to a Web site from a mobile site, the effort to drive flight reservations falls flat. Nowadays, consumers expect to manage their travel reservations across multiple devices, meaning that it is crucial for marketers to optimize their mobile initiatives.

The mobile site is also set up to incorporate Frontier’s frequent flyer program – EarlyReturns. Via the site, members can log-in to their accounts. Potential members can learn about the benefits of the program and sign up.

Frontier’s social media properties across Facebook, Twitter and foursquare are also promoted on the mobile site as a way for consumers to further connect with the airline.

Web revamp
In addition to the new mobile site, Frontier Airlines has also revamped its Web site.

The Web site homepage has been revamped to focus more on deals and specials, per the company.

Additionally, consumers who have already made a reservation can upgrade their seat online afterwards. The company claims that online seat changes can be made for as low as $5.

Airlines and online travel agencies are increasingly making mobile a big priority to their digital initiatives.

With a plethora of choices available to consumers, the goal is to make the booking process simple and straight-forward for consumers.

Travel and hospitality-related mobile reservations tend to be made spontaneously, meaning that the experience needs to be seamless from start to finish.

Although Frontier Airline’s new mobile site is a step in the right direction, the site would be more effective if every page was optimized for mobile devices.

“Making airlines’ Web sites meet mobile expectations by allowing travelers to book or reschedule a flight, check flight status or check destination weather updates are key features any airline website must support,”

“Most airlines are either already there or will be there soon,” he said.

“However, mobile messaging will be used more to let travelers know about last minute flight updates because it is simply more instant and effective than email. Because Rich Media Messaging removes the limitation of 160 characters for SMS and adds opportunities to send boarding passes, airport maps and special offers in the imaginary format directly to all mobile phones more airlines will migrate to using top of the line messaging services rather than using limited, plain SMS.”

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