European budget airline easyJet is poised to become the first airline company to enable users to plan and book flights entirely on Facebook.
easyJet currently offers a “Holiday Planner” Facebook app that helps fans plan trips with their friends through Facebook and email. Users can coordinate destinations and dates, propose a range of budget options and then invite friends along for the trip.
However, users must go to a destination website to complete the transaction — a step easyJet wants to remove altogether by adding booking functionality to their Facebook app.
Facebook has become a popular platform for hosting marketing campaigns and driving traffic to various destination sites, as Toys”R”Us famously did with their Black Friday preview on Facebook. We’re now seeing a shift toward conducting the entire experience within Facebook – a trend that may render destination sites all but irrelevant. It’s certainly a more convenient option for users who will not have to create a login and store credit card information on separate sites.
It’s a shift that could also generate an unprecedented amount of revenue for Facebook. According to the Department of Commerce, online purchases totaled $134.9 billion in 2009. If companies set up e-commerce functionality on their Facebook Pages, the social network could realistically charge companies for a percentage of those sales in addition to attracting more advertising opportunities. Facebook currently charges developers a whopping 30% of their Facebook Credits revenue.
A Facebook spokeswoman said that no brands currently have direct ecommerce functionality on their Facebook Pages. When that functionality becomes available, however, we can expect easyJet to be among the first to offer it.
Would you book a flight through Facebook? What other brands would you like to see open storefronts on Facebook?