Customers Respond to Southwest Airlines' Latest 'Ding'

Share this article:
Southwest Airlines customers are quickly signing up for the new Ding service for their computer desktops, which notifies them about special, limited-time fares.

The Dallas-based company is the first airline to offer this type of free, downloadable application, which sits in the computer user's system tray and delivers daily offers exclusive to Ding users.

After viewing that day's special -- which typically lasts only a few hours -- fliers can click on the offer's hyperlink to Southwest's site to buy a ticket.

Signups for the "Ding -- Live Updates from" service, launched Feb. 28, are exceeding expectations, said Kevin Krone, vice president of interactive marketing for Southwest, though he declined to release current or estimated signup numbers.

Along with the attraction that many of the fares are significantly lower than regular ones, the service aims to increase excitement for deal seekers, offering special fares to certain cities for only a few hours. For example, a Ding message March 4 stated, "Lunch time fare: Must purchase by 7 p.m.," and listed low fares to certain cities, such as $30 one way from Tucson, AZ, to Los Angeles.

"Customers love our lower fares, but sometimes they get word of a sale too late," Krone said. "They want to know right away."

Southwest executives also know that weekly "Click and Save" e-mail offers to customers are not always read immediately, so special fares are missed, he said.

"And, we don't want to over-e-mail you," he said.

Future applications of the technology could include tie-ins to Southwest's Rapid Rewards frequent-flier program as well as delivering special Ding fares to customers' cell phones and other wireless devices. Rapid Rewards members who downloaded Ding the week of March 7 were offered two bonus credits when they installed and agreed to run the program for at least 30 days.

Ding users list their home airport so Southwest can better tailor offers to customers by city, Krone said.

The application could work well on cell phones, when more include Windows-based systems, as well as PDAs and other wireless devices. Customers' flight information is sent to their cell phones when they request the service.

"The wireless market is finally starting to build momentum, so it's attractive for us to invest in it," he said.

Krone expects most Southwest fliers to sign up for Ding over time because "the fares are so attractive, and the only way you can get to those [fares] is through Ding."

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

Featured Listings

More in Digital Marketing

Hallmark Takes Baby Steps to a New Brand

Hallmark Takes Baby Steps to a New Brand

The company relied on digital to get its growing children's apparel brand off of the ground.

One Third of Americans' Social Media Time Is Spent on Facebook

One Third of Americans' Social Media Time Is ...

Pandora, meanwhile, attracts more user time but far fewer digital advertisng dollars, says a study.

News Corp. Chief Brands Google an 'Unaccountable Bureaucracy'

News Corp. Chief Brands Google an 'Unaccountable Bureaucracy'

Robert Thomson warns the EU that an antitrust deal with Google will lead to a decrease in competitive options for marketers and an increase in piracy.

Copyright © 2014 Haymarket Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form without prior authorization.
Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of Haymarket Media's Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.