Southwest Airlines Revvs Up Its Web Site By Offering Car Rental Reservations
As passenger revenues generated through its web site climb to 30 percent, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) introduces its latest online Customer convenience. Long-time Southwest Airlines partners, Alamo Rent A Car(R), Budget, and The Hertz Corporation are the first car rental agencies to log on by offering online reservations through www.southwest.com.
"We continue to seek ways for southwest.com to be more valuable to our Customers," said Kevin Krone, Southwest's senior director of marketing automation. "We have a lot of Customers who need a rental car at their destination, so it makes sense to enable them to reserve that car at the time they are making their Southwest Airlines reservation. We think our online Customers will appreciate the added convenience."
As an incentive to those who may need a rental car on their next Southwest Airlines trip, for a limited time, each car rental company will double the frequent flyer credit awarded in Southwest's Rapid Rewards program for rentals made through southwest.com. (This special double credit offer gives the Customer one full credit versus a half credit per qualified rental when the purchase is made through southwest.com. See southwest.com for full details on rules, regulations, and offer dates.) With this added convenience and bonus credit offer, receiving a free ticket just got easier since it takes just 16 credits to get a free ticket on Southwest Airlines.
The Alamo, Budget, and Hertz incentives are in addition to Southwest's own double credit promotion. Rapid Rewards members who book a ticket through southwest.com and fly by June 30, 2001, receive double credit in Southwest's frequent flyer program. In essence, Rapid Rewards members who book their travel through southwest.com receive a free roundtrip ticket for every four roundtrips purchased. (So, for a limited time, an online Customer can book three roundtrips on Southwest Airlines and rent four cars from Alamo, Budget, or Hertz and receive a free roundtrip ticket on Southwest Airlines. Not bad, huh?)
"Our partners are very aware of southwest.com's strength and the loyalty of our Customers," Krone said. "We applaud Alamo, Budget, and Hertz for taking this first step and look forward to offering many more opportunities for our Customers to benefit from doing business with Southwest Airlines and our preferred partners."
A few months ago, Southwest Airlines launched a program that assists company travel managers in recording and tracking purchases made through southwest.com. "SWABIZ" uses the same reservations system as southwest.com, allowing business travelers to also book southwest.com's "Click 'n Save" fares and double their Rapid Rewards credit for every roundtrip purchased. They now do that with the blessing of their travel department, which is able to connect those online purchases with various back-office accounting systems.
"We have a lot of momentum and expect this next phase of our online presence to continue fueling the growth of southwest.com," Krone said.
Business Week named Southwest in its "Web Smart 50," a list of companies that are doing the most to harness the Big Bang of the Internet and blast away at the Old World Order. The "Web Smart 50" appeared in the e-biz edition of the September 18, 2000, issue.
Southwest Airlines topped the list of reputable U.S. airlines in a recent study published in The Wall Street Journal. According to the study conducted by Harris Interactive Inc. and the Reputation Institute, a New York research group, respondents liked Southwest's dependable service, its low fares, and its friendly employees -- the top three drivers of reputation for an airline.