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Iberia seems to have found a winning formula to promote last-minute bookings with Spanish Millennials.

Iberia Airlines is encouraging Spanish twenty-somethings to make last-minute bookings with on its new auctions portal for Spain.

Miguel Henales, e-Business Director at Iberia, labels the auction as a success, stating: “Participation has been so high from the beginning, that we have opened new auctions to more destinations. I’m convinced that this is an excellent formula to gain new clients who enjoy an alternative and fun way to book, where they can also find low fares.”

The airline first auctioned twenty return tickets to each of four popular destinations: New York, Miami, Paris, and Rome. The auction portal had 100,000 users, 120,000 sessions and over 300 thousand page views in the first twenty-four hours, with every ticket auctioned during that 24 hour period sold.

Tickets to New York, started with a minimum price of €50, sold for between €445 to €515.

Tickets to Miami also had starting bids at €50 and sold at auction between €350 euros to €440 euros.

Paris tickets had starting bids at €20 and made between €77 and €121 at auction close. Rome’s winning auctions ran between €99 and €136, also starting at €20.

When the initial auction of 80 tickets sold out, the airline subsequently added flights to Boston, Rio de Janeiro, Florence Prague, Venice, and Costa Rica for a 48-hour period, with new destinations like London and Vienna added thereafter. Iberia has said it plans to adopt auctions as an ongoing feature of its flight promotions strategy.

“Our objective is to have an auction portal on which we can gradually offer tickets to various destinations every day,” says Henales. “One of the reasons for starting the auctions has been to attract young people who are more flexible about when they travel, and who are interested in finding good fares with a bit of fun on the side. This way, we hope to attract new users who will fly with us and return as repeat customers.”

This video, in Spanish, helps promote the auction to Iberia’s Spanish customers:

Iberia also capitalized on the engagement opportunities afforded by the auction process, sending email updates to users on active bids, and encouraging winning bidders to share their success on Twitter and Facebook directly by clicking on embedded share buttons.

Iberia Ticket Auction Last-Minute Booking Promotion/Iberia

Iberia Ticket Auction Last-Minute Booking Promotion/Iberia


Because bidding required registration, Iberia was able to gather demographic profiles on participants. These confirm it is on the right track to reach its target market, but also reveal interesting details of the appeal of ticket auctions to other demographic groups.

Registered Users by Age:

7.5% aged 18-24
45% aged 25-34
26% aged 35-44
11.4% aged 45-54
7.1% aged 55-64

Registered Users by Gender: Men 43%, Women 57%

Getting It Right the Second Time Around

The airline had a failed attempt at auctioning tickets two years ago, with a Social Flight (link in Spanish) promotion, when user demand was so high that it temporarily brought down servers and had to be discontinued.

Iberia has since upgraded its IT systems, and refined the auction process, to ensure that it remains stable. The airline has also focused on developing an attractive, user-friendly interface to make bidding easier. Helanes is confident that they’ve got the combination of platform, interface, systems, and auction methodology just right this time.

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Tags: airlines, iberia

Photo credit: Still from Iberia's film promoting its ticket auctions. Iberia

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